Who Will Control This Story?

As I watched one of those FBI shows at the end of a busy day, I saw how it mirrors our current situation as citizens in this troubling time. We have a president who is playing an array of hurtful characters to the hilt while members of the House are trying to bring him to justice, and we are stuck in front of the television set, just where he wants us. When he is not playing a role, he runs to Fox News to see what has “worked” to divert our attention from real issues and to get his next idea for a part. His goal is not to govern but simply to keep the show on the air with a passive audience in front of the set (or the computer, tweeting, believing we are doing something besides inflating the ratings). Immigration problems? Try snakes and alligators in a moat. Consorting with dictators? Slap on sanctions after you have promised aid. Credible opponents? Ask a Soviet leader to get dirt on them. Credible whistleblower? Threaten execution. Reality and fiction are all the same to him; confusion will slow down the opposition. Make a bad decision? Claim you are infallible. The point of the show is to stay in power by being the center of attention and controlling the story.  

So what can you do? Withdraw your attention. Find worthwhile candidates and projects closer to home. Stop obsessing about the actor and the show. Turn it off. Sign petitions and call legislators to get others to turn him off. Get addiction therapy. (This is like an opiod.)

Support impeachment in whatever ways you can. Signs petitions, write letters, march. If we don’t stand for democracy against this would-be dictator now, we could lose it very quickly. Within a year of the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, children were being turned against their parents in the schools. Whatever your friends and family think they are supporting (celibacy, marriage, the right to own an automatic weapon, capitalism), it is less important than government of the people, by the people, for the people.  Democracy cannot prevail if an elected leader can lie to the people several times a day; if he refuses to abide by the same laws; if he can threaten parts of the population at will; or if he can call upon foreign governments to knock out his opponents.

Focus on understanding and explaining democratic solutions to real problems that concern all of us (or at least the bottom 90%). The economy is not working for people who are not “invested in the market.”  Many people are underemployed. The ratio of CEO to worker pay is obscene. Student debt is outrageous. Most people do not have “affordable health care.” The cost of prescription drugs is out of control.  There is a shortage of affordable housing. Homelessness is rising. A third of our population is within a paycheck of disaster. No slogan will erase these problems, but they can be solved. It is up to us to insist that our government acts on our behalf—of, by and for the people!

Estella Lauter