How sad for the country that Trump and Bannon found each other. They are two hulking, overbearing aging white men with a cruel streak and larger-than-normal reservoir of vindictiveness. Individually, each is dangerous. Together, they magnify the worst in each other and in the voters they’ve enticed to follow. They remind me of the June tides on the beach in Panama, where larger than normal incoming waves crash against a stronger than normal retreating undertow. The two waves hit, creating enough force to upend a grown man, and often the swirling waters bring rip tides that drag swimmers out to sea.
Bannon is now bragging that he and Trump have created a coalition that will rule for 50 years. He might be right. What I learned from the election is that Republican voters will overlook a lot as long as their core needs are met. Trump is planning a big tax cut for the rich, which will satisfy Wall Street. He want to ramp up defense spending, a boon for Southern states with their non-union shops. His infrastructure plan will put a lot of angry blue collar voters back to work, even if not in the mines or steel mills. His opposition to reproductive rights and intention to nominate Supreme Court justices who will subjugate our civil rights to the private beliefs of conservative Christians will satisfy the Jerry Falwell Jr. voters. Trump has put Dr. Strangelove in charge of National Security, and segregationist Jeff Sessions in charge of seeing that the South will rise again and that black voter suppression will escalate. Republicans love it all.
Trump and Bannon may indeed take us back to an early 1960’s, pre-civil rights era, and it may take another 50 years to climb back out of the darkness. My sadness is that I don’t have 50 years left. One of the Planned Parenthood speakers reminded us that our grief is not only about the news that comes from Trump Tower each day, but about our own broken dreams.
Broken dreams indeed.