I Am Spartacus!

In the days since the election, rumor and hysteria and raw unfounded panic have swept the Internet.  The number of subjects is immense, and not all of them are horribly far-fetched.

“What is Donald Trump going to do to us?”  This is the question on everyone’s lips, and the amount of terror that it causes is pretty amazing.  It’s almost as though people lack faith in their own government for some reason.

I’m not going to get into the causes for this right now; that would violate Godwin’s Law — Reductio ad Hitlerum, as it were.  And there’s been far too many comparisons to Hitler of late; even if they’re true, stating them isn’t conducive to productive discussion.

Instead, let’s look at the different things that are feared, and what it would take to make them happen.  Once that’s known, we can know the best way to oppose them.

Eliminate Obamacare

One of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises was to eliminate Obamacare.  To be fair, it’s a lousy program; the only thing in favor of it is that it’s miles better than the next alternative, which is nothing.  In any case, the only way it can be gotten rid of is through an Act of Congress, and that much is probably inevitable at this point.

What isn’t is the composition of the Act, and it’s up to Congress to determine that.  And to influence it, we need to communicate with our Congressmen.   Some people will protest; some may even riot — but the more thoughtful will be working on a better plan than the one we now have, and then getting the word to Congress on what we want and how.  Write a letter or send a telegram in support of that, or just to express your fear.  Now is the time.

Register Muslims

Again, it’s a campaign promise, and those who say it can’t happen forget the Japanese-American internment camps during the Second World War.  On the other hand, most Americans haven’t forgotten them, and most Americans are quite rightly ashamed of that part of our history.  As a result, I’m pretty sure this won’t actually happen today.

But again:  If you’re worried, pass that worry along to your elected representatives, because that’s what they’re there for.  If it starts, protest.  Either take to the streets or — and this is kinda ingenious — register yourself as Muslim.  There’s three million in this country, and that number is far larger than the government can process — and if it’s doubled or trebled, there’s no chance such a program could succeed.  I have faith in this country and in my fellow Americans; I know this sort of thing will not be allowed to happen.

The Whole Climate Change Thing

This isn’t a joke:  Trump has promised to all but dismantle the EPA.  His EPA transition chief is Myron Ebell, a prominent disbeliever in manmade climate change.  No matter what happens from there, things are getting a serious shake-up.  His shortlist for director includes Ebell as well as a couple of other fairly impressively anti-environmentalist candidates.

On the other hand, remember:  The NRA is full of conservationists.  They enjoy fishing and hunting.  They like the outdoors.  And they regularly vote Republican.  A Republican Congress will never stand for the dismantling of the EPA and the elimination of such things as the Clean Water Act so long as there’s popular opposition.

On this, again:  Now is not too soon to start making your opinion known.

Reverse Roe vs. Wade

I’m pretty sure this can’t actually happen.  The Supreme Court would violate a very strong precedent by reviewing the case; it may well be considered unlawful for them to so do, and few courts would risk that.  The most likely course toward restricting abortion will, once more, be through Congress.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that we have too many abortions in this country.  I don’t like the status quo, and I’m told that those who fight for abortion rights also dislike it.  To me, this is the mark of effective compromise.  But my opinion alone does not dictate law to the nation.

My opinion along with yours and a hundred million like you, however, does dictate law.  That’s why we have letter-writing campaigns and calls and telegrams.

Reverse Gay Marriages

Again, this is something where the will of the people has been made known.  Gay marriage is pretty widely accepted, and over time even an act of Congress won’t end it; worst case is, it’ll be driven underground again.  What’s more powerful, though, is that reversing what’s been put in place would cause a fair amount of financial chaos as wills get contested, insurance companies refuse to pay out on policies, et cetera et cetera.  So it really won’t happen.

But I’ve been wrong before, and it’s good to be safe.  Again, this is something for the President and the Congress to decide, and I’m thinking that, of the two, Trump is the most likely to bow to a sensible argument.  He’s no idealogue; he’s pragmatic.  So write your letters and make your calls.

One thing you shouldn’t do here is riot.  Be calm and peaceful, at least until such time as a bill is actually introduced.  This, after all, is a battle best fought in the court of public opinion, and the public is on the side of gay marriage — so don’t change their minds.

Deport Three Million Illegals

It’s funny, but when Trump promised to deport three million criminal illegal aliens, my first response was: “There aren’t three million illegals in this country with criminal records.”  Turns out I was right; there are 1.9 million.  At half a million per year, he could deport that many without changing a thing at the INS; that’s the rate they’ve been deporting throughout the Obama presidency.

Now, my opinion is this:  We’re worried about Social Security collapsing because there’s not enough people paying into the fund and too many retirees, right?  So why not legalize any illegals that have good solid jobs and make them pay taxes?  Create an amnesty program for pointless paperwork crimes (such as, you know, sneaking into the country and working without a visa) and we’ve solved the illegal immigrant problem and the Social Security one at a single stroke of the pen.

I know; it’s not that simple.  But it really ought to be; don’t you agree?  So again:  Make your opinion known.

Racism

This is not a government issue alone; it’s a societal one.  Once society learns to separate itself from the logical errors of the past, government will inevitably follow.  And I’d advise we work to continue that process, starting with this:  Stop using the word “Racist”.

Consider:  Our goal is to eliminate racism as a factor, because (aside from certain medical purposes) there is no meaningful difference between people of different skin tones because of that color.

Consider also this: That only rarely are people convinced of anything in an argument, whereas occasionally they can be persuaded in a discussion.

It follows that, as calling someone a “racist” is non-descriptive and merely an insult (along the same order that calling someone a “gentleman” no longer describes their occupation but is merely a compliment), we should avoid the use of the term.  It serves only to inflame any discussion it enters.

Instead, we all should attempt to educate those who believe that they are “better than” merely because they aren’t dark-skinned, or what have you.

Does this logically follow?  I think so — but you may disagree.  That’s fine; we can disagree.  Regardless of your opinion on the subject or of mine, though:  This is a fight for hearts and minds.  We can petition our government to keep from making things worse, but our protests should be peaceful if they’re to be effective.  If not, we but provide ammunition to those ignorant souls who wish for nothing more than an excuse to show we’re wrong.

Build A Wall

On the one hand, it’s a waste of tax money.  A big wall won’t work to stop the flow of illegals over the border.  So long as the drug trade exists, the border will always be porous; they keep finding highway-sized tunnels, for instance.

On the other hand:  What exactly will it hurt?  So the money gets spent; it’ll get spent on something (if you’ll forgive the pun) concrete, and someone has to build it, sell materials, do the design, prepare the ground — we’re talking a massive jobs bonanza at the expense of the taxpayer.  This is Keynesian economics in action.  Oh, it may exacerbate our relationship problems with our southern neighbor, but let’s face it:  As long as there’s a War On Drugs generating a profit motive to the illegal drug trade, we’re creating huge nasty problems just over the border anyway.  Next to that, a wall is nothing.

But again:  If your opinion differs from mine, you have the right (and possibly the obligation) to do something about it.  Write your Congressman.  Write your President-Elect.  And take to the streets and march, if you can get time off work.

The Bottom Line

Look, you might not agree with my assessments here — and you might be right.  I’ve learned in the past and changed my mind, and I fully expect I’ll do so again.  One great way to make that happen is to tell me about it; that’s what the Comments section is for.  Use it if you feel strongly, and I’ll listen.  (If you don’t feel strongly enough to comment, I really don’t care what you have to say.)

Most importantly, though — Whatever your fear, whatever your cause, remember:  You are not alone.  If I’m wrong and they actually do start handing out crescent patches to all the Muslims, there are others of like mind who will stand with you, and who will shout alongside you, “I am Spartacus!”  Metaphorically speaking.

But even if there are not, I bid you remember the words of a great man — a fictional one, perhaps, but still a hero that we need today:

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, you move.” ”

— Captain America, “Spider Man: Civil War”
(as written by J. Michael Straczzynski)

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