The grand plan to transform Afghanistan into a democracy by force was a U.S. imperial fantasy.
The people of France are currently engaged in a major political battle with their government. But those of us on the outside watching the “Yellow Vests” bring their nation to a standstill are also learning a valuable lesson: how to make politicians bend to your will through relentless activism. Within just a few weeks of widespread and continuous protests, French President Emmanuel Macron has given in to several demands, postponing a planned fuel tax hike and offering both tax cuts and a minimum-wage increase.
Many analysts of our current political landscape are seduced by the idea of a dichotomy of ideals, a polarized electorate neatly cleaved into two sides: conservatives versus liberals, as symbolized by the Republican-Democrat split. For progressives, that is supposed to translate into: “Everything that Donald Trump does is bad, and everything that his opposition does is good.” (For Trump supporters, it is reversed.) This works conveniently for both parties, and especially for Democrats who benefit from the wrath of Trump’s critics and revel in their position of representing the opposition against a deeply unpopular president and party. All that Democrats have to do is not be Trump and they can expect to sail to victory.
It is past time for the U.S. government to be wrested out of the stranglehold of evangelical conservatives. The rights of women and the LGBTQ community especially cannot be held hostage to the retrograde visions of this politically powerful faction.
Immigrants are the “enemy” in Donald Trump’s America. The president has made the arrest, detention and deportation of immigrants the centerpiece of his domestic policies, seeing it as an effective tool to whip up racial resentment among his base and preserve his power. Even though Trump has dramatically ratcheted up the immigration enforcement machine and racist anti-immigrant rhetoric, other U.S. presidents have engaged in the mistreatment and expulsion of immigrants for decades. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, oversaw a record 2 million deportations during his presidency.
The past few weeks have been hellish for Americans. With one assault after another on our Constitution and our rights, it has felt like an endless stream of slaps to the face and punches to the gut.
From the decision by Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai to end net neutrality to the unconscionable late-night vote Friday by Senate Republicans on a tax reform bill that had amendments scribbled in by hand to Donald Trump’s unprecedented undoing of national monument designationsin Utah to the Supreme Court’s Muslim ban-affirming order on Monday, it feels as though the entire nation is under attack all at once.