Liberals Learning to Redefine Good News


“So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.” — Roger Baldwin, co-founder, ACLU

If you’re a liberal sort in need of a little good political news about now, here’s some spirit-lifters for you. Kinda:

1) Nationwide, the number of resistance-oriented, grassroots entities has skyrocketed since November 8th. Placated by eight years of Democratic executive rule — and cocksure expectations for at least four more — progressives are resisting and organizing en masse;

2) Despite mounting legal pressure from the administration and 33 state legislatures, over 500 municipalities and counting have declared as sanctuary communities for undocumented persons. Recent polls indicate 80% of Americans disapprove, yet none of the cities have thus far backed down;

3) In the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a consortium of 30 mayors, 3 governors, 80+ university representatives and 100 companies has applied to the UN as an independent subscriber to the Paris climate accord. While unprecedented, UN officials are said to be taking the application seriously;

4) Termed “rage giving”, contributions to left-leaning charities and political action groups continues at the record levels set immediately following the election. Examples: Planned Parenthood reports an influx of 600,000 donors, and the ACLU has raised more than $80 million post election;

5) The more the Senate mulls over the byzantine healthcare bill put forth by the House, the more it looks like Obamacare. It will still be in the public interest if Senate Republicans just keep fussing at each other like kindergartners past their nap time; but if they actually reach critical mass on the issue, at least it will be on more humane terms than Paul Ryan and gang intended;

6) Trump has done pissed off most of Europe, and that’s a good thing. Per last month’s goat rodeo of a diplomatic tour, the Donald Scowl that worked to intimidate game show contestants and overseas manufacturers proved patently ineffectual when leveled at seasoned heads of state like Germany’s Angela Merkel. The reason this is good news for the nation is the president needs to hear the word no in foreign as well as domestic matters. We’re cursed with a commander-in-chief possessed of an outdated assessment of US clout in the 21st Century, and the more that reality is shown him, the better.

But, you say, is this what now passes as good news in these United States? Half-loaf healthcare and looking to foreign leaders to school our nation’s highest office holder on the true state of American influence?

The brooding, realpolitik answer is yes. This is where we are. This is what can happen when an arcane method of choosing presidents is beyond reproach. This is what near-total control of government - the very outcome Jefferson and the other Framers sought to prevent - looks like.

Not so long ago, we on the Left measured good news in broad, sweeping accomplishments like near-universal healthcare and equal marriage. And will do so once again. But the task before us now is to put up a good fight, keep faith, and take the good news as it comes.

Don Rollins is a Unitarian Universalist minister and substance abuse counselor living in Blacksburg, Va. Email

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2017

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