How We Got Here & What To Do

It’s so strange, but I haven’t woken from this nightmare yet. And it’s so realistic, in one sense of that word.

But seriously, Charles Pierce of Esquire has written the best explanation I’ve seen of how we got to this bizarre, dangerous point in our history. It’s called “Russia’s Interference in This Election Should Not Be a Surprise: This kind of thing has been a long time coming”. 

I wish every adult would read it, because it was written for adults, the millions of Americans who are grown up enough and rational enough to perceive reality and then take responsibility for their own and other people’s lives.

If, for example, the 306 Republicans in the Electoral College read it, at least 37 of them might do their duty next Tuesday. They would vote for someone else and let the House of Representatives make the final decision. Otherwise, December 19, 2016 (it’s only one week away) will join the other dates in American history that live in infamy.

So please read Mr. Pierce’s article now. Here it is. It won’t take more than a few minutes.

As Mr. Pierce says, this is the starkest challenge to a free people that has arisen in our lifetimes. So what shall we do?

The first thing you might do is remind the Republican electors of their responsibility to defend the Constitution and protect the United States of America. One patriotic American has created a website with instructions on how to do exactly that. It’s called Direct Election. The site has lots of tools, including letters already addressed to 273 of the 306 Republican electors (the others were hard to locate).

I’m going to start mailing a letter myself, maybe something like this:

Dear …

If you are planning to vote for Mr. Trump on December 19th, or feel obligated to do so, please don’t.

Mr. Trump isn’t a real Republican. He’s not even a real Democrat. He is a dangerous, psychologically-damaged con man who must never become President of our great nation. 

I won’t ask you to vote for a specific person. But I do respectfully ask that you vote for someone other than Mr. Trump. By doing so, you will perform your solemn duty to protect the Constitution and the United States of America.

After all, the Electoral College was designed to forestall the election of a person unfit to be President. That includes anyone who puts his own financial interests or the interests of a foreign power ahead of ours. We need someone who loves America and is both willing and able to fulfill the responsibilities of the job. 

I respectfully submit that Mr. Trump is not such a man. The evidence, including his behavior since winning the election, is clear. You are now our only hope. Thirty-seven of you can let the House of Representatives choose a qualified person. More of you working together can determine who is President. Please vote for anyone else on December 19th.

Please note that any state laws that say an elector must vote a certain way are most likely unconstitutional. Furthermore, thousands of concerned citizens stand ready to pay for any legal fees or fines you might incur, and there are lawyers who have pledged to provide free legal services to any electors who face legal consequences for voting their conscience.

Thank you for reading this letter.

Sincerely yours, and God bless America, …

Assuming the Electoral College fails to do its duty next week, there are other things to do.

First, Timothy Snyder, the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, offers a “Twenty-Point Guide to Defending Democracy Under a T—p Presidency”. The first item on his list is:

1. Do not obey in advance.

Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

Second, Thomas Geoghagan, a Chicago labor lawyer and author, describes “Four Things We the People Can Do About Our Unjust Voting System and a President Trump”. Three of his four suggestions require legislative action. One would involve states with Democratic majorities agreeing to an interstate compact: 

This interstate compact … would be a quasi-constitution—a model for what the whole country should have. 

Such a compact might include, for example:

  • A ban on partisan redistricting of U.S. House and state legislature positions.
  • A right to healthcare.
  • A commitment to carry out their share of what the U.S. committed to in the Paris global warming accords.
  • A bill of rights for employees, including a right not to be terminated except for just cause.
  • A formula for a just level of funding for public education.
  • A comprehensive system of background checks for gun purchases.

Mr. Geoghagan concludes:

Since each of the above is an act that the state itself would be free to take, an interstate compact would not infringe on federal sovereignty —or require approval of Congress under Article I, section 10. 

Let one part of America, at least, be a city on a hill.