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Looking Back and Looking Forward: The Fight for Democracy and the Dignity of All Begins

The following post, written by The Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.

By all measures, Hillary Clinton should have been the President-elect. She not only has the popular vote by a record margin, but the policies and plans this country and its people need to move forward towards a stronger and more equitable and just future for women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and all the vulnerable of this world from seniors to children to refugees.

There are plenty of reasons why this did not happen including Russian interference going to the highest levels and a partisan ploy by FBI Director James Comey. There is also the unfair media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s faux email scandal which nearly wiped out any mention of her comprehensive policy plans ranging from clean energy and raising the minimum wage to making college tuition and healthcare coverage more accessible and affordable.

The media’s fawning over Donald Trump for ratings and revenue and also to assure continued access to the campaign, even giving his empty podium unprecedented air time, captivated the attention of the nation. While he soiled the airwaves with racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and bigotry, crowds cheered and the rest of the country wept in shock, disbelief, and fear for what it would mean for them and their friends and family. Still others shed tears out of a common concern for the constitution and the basic human rights it affords to all people of this country.

Some of the Trump voters say they voted for change and believed the con the Trump campaign sold to them. He will “drain the swamp,” they said. Though the swamp that actually needs draining is not in President Barack Obama’s administration, but in Congress. The people who need to go are the Republicans who have been derelict in their duty to govern by not addressing climate change, not holding hearings for Supreme Court Justice Nominee Judge Merrick Garland, not addressing wage inequality and a stagnant minimum wage, and putting corporate interests and those of the wealthiest one percent ahead of the needs of the majority of the citizens of this country, especially those who are poor.

These Republicans have also proved their unfitness for office by failing to adequately address gun violence and rape culture in our society today, preferring instead multiple investigations into Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the Benghazi tragedy and her emails while also making time to take pointless votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And when it came time to pass needed legislation like Zika virus funding, it was held up over issues regarding the Confederate flag.

Never mind evidence, reality, or facts, Trump voters voted on their feelings. It didn’t matter how extreme Trump’s rhetoric became or how evident his threats to First Amendment rights were, they gave him a pass because he’s not a traditional politician. And though he lied pathologically, Hillary Clinton was the one perceived as untrustworthy despite being the most honest politician in recent history, thanks, media.

Watching Trump fill his cabinet and other key leadership positions is nothing less than a horror show for anyone who cares about the safety of this country and its people, world affairs, or the health of the planet. Education, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency like every other position are all being led by people who are not only unfit for the job but also ideologically opposed to the very work they are being charged with doing.

The fight for democracy and the dignity of all begins as we take stock of the very real ramifications Donald Trump’s administration and the Republican-controlled Congress will have on our neighbors near and far. President Barack Obama is assuring the nation of a peaceful transfer of power in the month to come, but where will the peace be after that?

We cannot take anything for granted or underestimate the gravity of what President-elect Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress will do following January 20, 2017.

The lives of American citizens and countless others around the world are in danger as is the health of the planet and all living things. It is the moral responsibility of all who care for people and the natural world to fight against the dangerous policies of the incoming administration.

As Hillary Clinton’s campaign made clear we are stronger together. The fight for our democracy and the dignity of all will take the efforts of the global village coming together in defense of the principles and policies that make us strong. The common good of the country and welfare of all depend on our not giving up.

Darker days are likely to come, but that does not mean all hope is lost. For it is often in the darkest hour that the light comes and shatters the darkness even if only with a small but stubborn flickering flame. And when this light is shared the darkness dissipates, a new day dawns.

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