Before we get too far away from The Year That Gave Us Trump, I’d like to pause for a brief moment and point out some of the good that 2016 gave us (while acknowledging that 2016 is going to look like paradise after we suffer through the next 363 days of 2017).
But, hey — enough bemoaning the future! Look at the incredible things this past year gave us:
1. Of those Americans who voted, 54% DID NOT WANT TRUMP. In addition to the nearly 3 million votes Hillary beat Trump by, another 7 million+ also rejected him by voting Green or Libertarian. That’s a margin of over 10 million voters who didn’t want Trump as their president. That’s huge. You must never forget that the vast majority of the people who are your neighbors and your fellow Americans are OPPOSED to a Trump presidency, they despise what he says and does, and they will not support his efforts to wreck this country.
2. The Republicans in November LOST seats in BOTH the House and Senate. Which means the Democrats GAINED seats. Not many, but the Republican forward movement from the past two elections has been halted. We have 7 more seats in the House and 2 new seats in the Senate (for a total of 48, two short of half!). We must continue this trend in spite of the miserable failure of an institution known as the “Democratic Party.”
3. America is still a liberal country (the majority still supports women’s rights, strong environmental laws, LGBTQ rights, peace, increasing the minimum wage, etc.), and if it weren’t for racist gerrymandering and voter suppression, plus an 18th-century plank in the Constitution that doesn’t allow us to vote DIRECTLY for president — a section written to appease the slave states who wanted their slaves counted to increase their individual states population (so they would then be assigned more seats in Congress and on the Electoral College) but without letting their slaves be free and vote — we’d control Congress and the White House right now.
4. Obama has been doing some pretty incredible things lately. Pardoning and granting clemency to people who shouldn’t have been jailed in the first place (please pardon more). Protecting millions of acres of undeveloped land. Standing up to Netanyahu. Behaving with grace and dignity in a way I doubt we’ll see again any time soon.
5. Locally, much good is happening. New York state is raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. More states are decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. Portland, OR, is taxing companies who pay their CEOs more than 100x the average worker. Bernie Sanders got 70% of the primary vote in the Michigan town where I live. I’m sure many of you can add to this list.
6. The New York Times and the Washington Post (and a few others), in a year when the media helped create Trump and fell down on the job, inched their way back to what they used to do – real reporting. They also published a number of important stories this year that weren’t about the election. Like the one in the Times about how Harvard scientists back in the ’70s and ’80s conspired with the sugar industry to put out false studies that said Americans must switch to a “low-fat” diet — which resulted in fat in foods being replaced by sugar. Result: a country that got really fat and is now 2/3 overweight. Fat in food, it turns out, is good for you – and sugar – added sugar – is the evil one. Somebody should do a documentary on the harm Harvard has done to the world – from Kissinger to this.
7. On a personal note, although as a citizen I am more distraught than you can imagine, I am also happier, much healthier and have more of the fight in me than ever before. I fought for Bernie, fought hard to stop Trump, and when he won at 2:40am on 11/9, I immediately started to help organize the resistance. I had in 2016, for the first time ever, two movies released in one year. I’m fired up and ready with some great ideas for 2017. And I’m committed to my daily walks. With you, if you’d like to join, from wherever you are.
I’d also love to hear about the good things that happened to you in 2016.
So, before we move too far into 2017, let’s raise a glass to the good that came out of 2016. We’re going to need all the positive reinforcement we can muster in the coming year. Well, actually the coming hours. The new all-Republican 115th session of Congress gets sworn in tomorrow. And, like the sociopath who is their party’s leader, they will commence their scorched earth policy without a blink of the eye. Take what you can from 2016 and together we can perhaps pull off what tonight seems impossible.