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From Where I Sit

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FROM WHERE I SIT #2. CUBS WIN, HILLARY LOSES.

I hate saying that I was right. It’s not what you think. I was not surprised or shocked like some folks on November 9th. The disappointment was not in Hillary (although I was not a fan), but in a shift that has been coming for some time now that the Democrats did not see or acknowledge. I was right about two things: what Trump represents to the working class, and how working class voters demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the Democratic party. My friends in the fire and police departments and others, said that their guys were coming out for Trump en masse, and they did. These folks do not talk to pollsters or even care about the polls. They are sick of being dictated to and wanted someone to throw a grenade under the established order. They are smart enough to understand their own interests. This system is not working for them and I would go as far as to say that the system is not working for anyone other than the 1% at the top. Trump took all of their animus and bottled up rage and shoved it down the neoliberals throats for all the world to see. How did this happen?

I see three primary ways in which the Democrats have failed their supporters and ushered in this tsunami:
The Democrats are not the party for working folks. What I saw throughout this election cycle is that Trump spoke to his base CONSISTENTLY. While the scandal-seeking media fed most people a steady diet of racist demagoguery from Trump speeches, if you listened closely you heard an appeal to taking care of America FIRST. How you ask? Rearrange our position with NATO to not be the police force for the world. Repeal NAFTA and restructure trade agreements abroad that benefit America. Secure our borders so that heroin and other drugs will not continue to come unabated into this country destroying families and communities. Restructure Obamacare, which by the way rates will go up 20% next year. None of that on the surface is bad stuff, but it speaks to how blinded by the rhetoric we have been. Elections in America are not about substance, but personalities and sound bites.

Let’s dive a little deeper. NAFTA, TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and all of these terrible trade deals that Clinton and Obama passed have shipped jobs overseas and created deep anxiety for blue collar workers around the country. Particularly hard hit were Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, all states that Hillary lost. WHAT HAVE THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS UNDER BUSH DONE ABOUT JOBS FOR BLUE COLLAR WORKERS?

This Administration talks about the economic recovery and unemployment statistics, yet real wages for most Americans have been stagnant for decades. WHAT HAVE THE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS UNDER BUSH DONE ABOUT IT? I can go on and on, but know this, the Democratic party has become indistinguishable from the established Republican party and neither has done anything about poverty in America. They have become the parties of the elite. Only 25% of people in this country have a bachelor’s degree and so the vast majority do not. That does not make the folks who have a college education better or smarter than those that do not, but there’s been an unrelenting message to the non-degree holders that they don’t matter. I believe no matter how much education they have or money they make, most people have a fundamental understanding of their own interests. They also understand that the current system has NOTHING to do with their self-interest. On November 9th, the grenade exploded.

The Democrats have not delivered anything for people of color. What is the urban agenda? Where are reparations? What has been done on immigration reform? What has been done about violence in Chicago? Are banks lending in communities of color? As cities are being gentrified, is affordable housing available for working families? How is New Orleans doing after Katrina? How did we do in our desire to have jobs instead of mass incarceration? What about trade with Africa? Whenever I have these discussions with Obama fans, they make excuses. They blame a hostile Congress. Our inability to press him on anything of substance is well documented. We were just happy to have one of “ours” in there. We put his picture on our refrigerator or up in the barber shop and smile. Yet Obama delivered for everybody but us. He continued the policies of Bush with Wall Street bailouts because his buddy Bill Daley carried water for the banks. He ushered in gay marriage and all subsequent variations about gender identity. He delivered for the neocons who bombed innocents all over the world and profited from it. Insurance companies made record profits. Foreign governments got billions in aid annually. WE …GOT ….NOTHING. We voted unilaterally for Obama and Clinton and got nothing to show for it.

The Democrats had no bench and nominated a candidate with a checkered history. Let\’s do some word association: Super-predator. Haiti relief funds. Crime bill. Benghazi. Server gate. Clinton Foundation. DNC treatment of Bernie Sanders campaign. FBI probe. Had enough? I’m sure there is more but those are what I came up with in about one minute. This speaks to why the Democrats should have had alternatives but their arrogance or fear would not allow them to consider anyone else. Additionally, most of the campaign commercials I saw took a page out of Lee Atwater’s playbook. Look him up if you don\’t know who he is, but suffice to say that Hillary took fear mongering to new lows with attack ads that talked about how dangerous a Trump presidency would be based on salacious National Enquirer type fodder and spent very little time talking about what she would do as President. It didn’t work. She had over 300 fundraisers. Trump raised very little money. The Global markets hoped she would win so that they could continue their thievery, but were down big after the election. The Democrats are in a free fall and have no idea what to do next.

So, where does that leave us? You might read this and assume I am a Trump fan or a Republican. I am not. I am an independent. Not a political independent that is actually a progressive liberal, but a person that truly believes there are truth and lies from both parties. More importantly, that the two party system has run its course and we need an alternative that speaks to the needs of the marginalized held captive by the current system. One of my favorite hymns is called “The Solid Rock” and it speaks to what I feel about this election:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

I do not put hope in the Democrats or Republicans. My hope is in Christ and everything else is sinking sand. However, I don’t use that as an excuse to surrender the public square or get behind a narrow view of what the church should stand for. Real justice is a biblical mandate. To care for the widow, the orphan and the fatherless is a biblical mandate. To work on the elimination of poverty is something that everyone should agree on. How do we take advantage of this moment, build a real coalition (third or 4th party) with a real platform and get off the sinking ship that is the Democratic party? Let’s start with our own agenda. From Where I Sit, we have work to do.

By God’s Grace,

Richard Townsell

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