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We still live in a democracy of sorts, where we can still anticipate regaining political power by the vote, and being able to shift the policy directions of the current administration. But some policies are irreversible. Global warming is one.

After Trump Madness

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Republicans and conservatives can have confidence in having a reliable majority on the Court for some time to come. Democrats and progressives must in turn adapt to that new reality as we look forward to regaining political power, starting with this year’s election and continuing with the defeat of Donald Trump in 2020.

But Kavanaugh is just the latest in a string of right-wing Trump initiatives that we will be called upon to undo. Regulations of all sorts—financial, environmental, health, education, housing—have been rolled back, putting in danger large numbers of people who are in no position to defend themselves from powerful corporate interests.

A massive tax cut shifted the burden of taxation to middle income people while putting millions of dollars into the pockets of the richest among us, and the big corporations.

Our children and grandchildren—those who survive—will look back on Trump’s and conservatives’ response to global climate change; they will see that we knew what had to be done, and our leaders flatly refused to do it.

The rights of women and ethnic minorities are systematically undermined (including especially their right to vote.

Poor countries of Latin America and Africa are disrespected, and their citizens who seek to enter the United States see themselves arrested and separated from their children.

Trade wars and tariffs endanger our economy. Relations with our traditional friends like western Europe and Japan are at a low ebb while we cultivate dictators and oppressors the world over.

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All of these changes affect the kind of country we will be. When we get power, progressives will, like Trump, try to move our society in the direction we favor. For us, that will be to make our society more humane, egalitarian and democratic.

What Trump wants is not some radical departure. When he says, “make America great again!” he means to move us back to being a country that is run by and for white men with money. It is certainly possible for a society to persist and even thrive as a dictatorship of white men with money. That, indeed, has been the historical norm.

Progressives, in contrast, have a vision of an egalitarian society that never was. It will be for us, when we regain power, to do what we can to move our society away from the historical norm, and towards a vision of a more equal and inclusive way of life.

If and when conservatives get back into power, they’ll try to move things in the other direction. That’s politics in a democracy.

With climate change, though, conservatives and Republicans have done damage that is likely irreversible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued an interim report that emphasizes how dire the world’s situation is with regard to getting enough control over emissions to avoid catastrophic changes in the climate in all parts of the world, including the United States. The response of American conservatives to the issue of climate change has been to avoid at all cost any changes of policy that might address it. They have flatly denied the validity of the scientific consensus and under Trump have actually pursued policies (such as promoting the burning of coal) that will only hasten the disasters to come.

By the time American progressives are again able to address this issue as a matter of national policy, damage will have been done that cannot be undone.

Our children and grandchildren—those who survive—will look back on Trump’s and conservatives’ response to global climate change; they will see that we knew what had to be done, and our leaders flatly refused to do it.

impeachment unavoidable

They will see one of the greatest crimes against humanity in the long and sorry history of our species.

John Peeler