A sentiment I see an enormous amount of on Twitter is people tusk-tusking liberals who are these days in a near-constant state of panic mixed which what can only be described as rage. Conservatives — even many of them of who purport to be NeverTrumpers — tell me to focus on policy and to get over my Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Well, in all honesty, in the spirit of the 4th of July and the Founding Fathers — fuck those guys.
People who clutch their pearls over the liberal rage generated by Trump and his policies believe that only by meekly accepting Trump’s insane behavior and focusing on policy will we win elections. We’re supposed to let Trump lie. We’re supposed to let Trump run roughshod over Constitutional norms. We’re, in fact, supposed to let Trump do whatever the fuck he wants as long as it helps us with about 2% of the electorate who are swing voters and who are still somehow magically undecided about the dark turn the nation has abruptly taken.
Let me suggest, however, that things are so dire that we need to embrace the dark side, as it were, and let our liberal rage envelop us. The 2018 mid-terms will be about getting out the vote, about mobilizing the base. So while Conservatives are gleefully smacking their political lips at what they feel is our impeding doom caused by our outrage, I see this as an opportunity to finally fight back in a constructive manner.
I can not express properly in real terms how misguided, patronizing and condescending the Right’s constant critique of the Left’s outrage over Trump feels to me. The very thing that could really drive The Resistance into electorate success — the sheer power of the liberal base being apoplectic over Trump’s policies, the Right sees as a flaw that has to be fixed as quickly as possible.
But I feel that only by embracing our rage against Trump and using it as an engine to power activism on the part of the Left can anything change. I’m not saying there won’t be problems caused by this. Plenty of moderates might be turned off by some of the ideological froth this might cause, but at the same time plenty of people who might simply shrug at Trump’s policies might see the light if we can funnel our rage into something constructive.
The Left attacking Trump with clear eyed counter-policies, while making making members of the Right’s intelligentsia happy, would make the base of The Resistance feel disenfranchised. Trump is currently a weird mixture of an American Caligula mixed with a would-be tinpot Hitler and he thrives on the confusion his constant barrage of Twitter mindfucking generates. To say I should focus solely on dry policy matters in the midst of this enormous Constitutional crisis is rather intellectually dishonest in my opinion.
I propose we focus on curating the rage of the base. It’s not like it’s going anywhere, no matter how many NeverTrumpers tell me it should be forced to abate. If we tell people who are astonished at the sheer insanity and outrageous behavior on the part of the Trump Administration that it’s ok to be filled with political rage, then that’s the first step towards regaining power at the polls. It’s not like the Right’s base, which has been hysterical for decades now, is going to let up their rapacious attacks on the Left simply because we decide to play nice.
No, I say instead of rolling over and letting the Right continue to drive the United States into a ditch, that we wrestle the wheel away from them with all our might. I’m not in any way advocating violence. Far from it. But I am advocating the center-Left quit even trying to put up the facade that it would be in the best interests of the cause if everyone would just cool it and worry about dry policy matters.
All Trump does is stir up his base. Literally, that’s all he does. He braces the worst instincts of his base to a surreal extent, which, in turn, riles up the base of the center-Left because we look at each other in amazement that the MSM is so busy trying to be fair an objective that they are unable or unwilling to call out Trump’s lies.
So, let your freak flag fly. Embrace your inner Howard Beal. If you are mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, then do something about it. Becomes engaged in the political process on a personal level. Stop trying to convince your MAGA Facebook friends of the error of their ways. Fuck those guys.
It’s not like the American Founding Fathers were cool with the abuses of King George III. If they finally had enough and decided to do something about it, maybe the center-Left should too. We need to scare the living bejeebus out of the Establishment in Washington and the only way we can do that is at the polls. If we’ve learned anything from the recent events involving immigrant children being torn from their families, the only guard rails the Trump Administration currently is willing to acknowledge is popular outrage.
That’s all we got. Thus, instead of calming down, let’s rock.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.