Next week, America will decide whether or not this country will go down on a permanent path to fascism, violence, and white supremacy.
Just before Donald Trump became the president in November 2016, I had written in a leading Indian daily newspaper, predicting a Hillary Clinton win. I was wrong. I was influenced by New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, and such enormous media, and their relentless forecasts.
When I look back on it, I see a glaring lack of communication with the commoners. Conversations at restaurants, pubs and labor unions actually brimmed with an overwhelming support for Trump. The picture remains the same as the November election approaches. More or less.
I live in New York, which is supposed be a fort for liberals and Democrats. If this is the scenario here, we can imagine the picture elsewhere. I have often pondered over the question as to how union workers could support Trump and his cronies who want to destroy unions in the first place. It’s beyond me!
On November 6, Americans will vote for the Congress. They will elect 435 House representatives and thirty-five senators. The Democrats at present are minority in both chambers of Congress. And, they hope win the election by a substantial margin, capture the Congress, and thereby impeach Trump for his numerous heinous and illegal acts — the Nixon and Watergate way.
My gut feeling is that Democrats might win the election by a few seats. But it won’t be enough for a substantial majority. There will be no Democratic landslide at all.
Fascism and dictatorship are getting a lot of steam in America of late — like they are getting it in countries like India, Russia, and Brazil. Here in USA, it’s become ugly and horrendous. Just a few days ago, a white supremacist shot dead eleven innocent Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Another white supremacist killed two innocent black people in a Kentucky supermarket. Another such person targeted anti-Trump Democratic leaders like Hillary and Obama by mailing pipe bombs: his truck sported Trump stickers all over.
Regular attacks on journalists have become a part and parcel of life now. Trump separated immigrant children from their parents, and put them in cages. Just two days ago, he declared he would abolish birthright citizenship — a U.S. constitutional mainstay for over a century. Fascists are trying to scrap the legal framework altogether — everywhere.
Yet, protests are on. Problem is, apart from Bernie Sanders, no leader in the Democratic Party is capable of bringing everybody together. Sanders, however, isn’t supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton-dictated mainstream Democrats. New York Times and CNN don’t want him to get mass support either. We have seen how they have destroyed the Sanders campaign in 2016.
Given the scenario, I doubt whether there will at all be a strong surge of of educated and liberal Americans on the ballot box next Tuesday.
Yet, I am hoping against hope that people of America will prove me wrong again. I want my so-called prophecy to fail.
Written by: Partha Banerjee, Brooklyn, New York
Translated by: Samya Brata Roy, Calcutta, India
Note: This is my last blog post before the November 6 elections.
Hurricane Sandy just left us.
The superstorm left behind a huge trail of devastation. Here in New York, millions of people are without power. Many homes and neighborhoods are flooded. Many people are spending nights in local shelters. Some forty people have perished in the storm.
I want to say a word of prayer for all those who suffered.
New York’s mayor Bloomberg graciously toured the devastated areas in his God’ly helicopter. On the other hand, New Jersey’s governor and some other city mayors and elected council members worked with affected people and brave rescue workers, standing in knee-deep water, shoulder to shoulder. Thousands of construction workers, electrical workers, plumbers, pipe fitters, sanitation workers, subway workers, glass workers, carpenters, health care workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, National Guard volunteers, and numerous other professionals are working 24/7 to pull America out of this incredible mess.
I want to say a word of prayer for these brave souls too. These workers are our unsung heroes.
I wish Barack Obama left all his campaign stops over the next few days, and did just the same, round the clock. But who am I to say it? He has his privileged, elite professional aides to direct him. (I was happy to see he spent some time on the ground to help the victims; I wish he did much more. That is the real campaign: campaign to work for the poor and vulnerable.)
Some of my friends — a large majority of them Democrats — got upset at my prediction and sent me messages expressing their disapproval and anger. Some of them un-friended me from their Facebook. I am deeply sorry that I made them so unhappy. As someone who worked very hard and with high energy and hopes for Obama’s victory in 2008, a looming Obama defeat in 2012, and that too, at the hands of Mitt Romney — someone most Americans never heard of and a super-rich, elitist politician even his Republican Party was not excited about just three months ago — was not something I had envisioned. But it is now a real possibility.
In this post, I’m only quoting a few messages myself and some of my friends have wrote on my Facebook page over the past couple of days — since Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard. I hope some people notice and think about it. I have no money, no media power, and no pedigree. Even though some of my friends blame me (at least partially) for my so-called “anti-Obama” blogs for an Obama defeat next week, I really I have no such power to make or break anything — especially something of this grand magnitude.
I still want Obama to win over Romney. I shall never vote for Romney and Ryan.
You can be upset with me, but honestly, your blame is misplaced. You should have been upset with Obama, his administration and the Democratic Party that simply failed to deliver. Plus, you have the right-wing media such as Fox TV or Rush Limbaugh radio show who slandered Obama and punched him below the belt; on the other hand, the so-called liberal media neither exposed the real criminals behind the economic crisis on one hand (because of their own ties with some of them) nor did they chastise the Obama government on their terribly wrong moves and horrible choices of top executives who failed the ordinary, working Americans the second time over.
The American voters who were raped by the Bush administration for eight years were raped all over again by these sinister people and their policies over the past four years. And knowingly or not, Obama did not do much to stop them. Republicans took advantage of it.
Then came Obama’s disastrous first debate that tipped the election — so far on Obama’s side — to Romney’s favor. Obama squandered a golden opportunity the Mother Jones “47-percent” undercover exposé landed on his lap.
So, here’ the final few passages from my Facebook page — in the backdrop of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Hope you read them once and perhaps, if you please, read them twice.
I wrote as my status update during and post-Hurricane Sandy:
1. WE ARE OKAY here in mid-Brooklyn. Thank God. New Jersey, Manhattan and Long Island were not so lucky. Many of my labor union colleagues and immigrant friends are having a hard time right now. This unprecedented late-October mega-storm off the Atlantic Ocean is big-time proof of drastic climate change and global warming. ALSO, I keep wondering how Americans still can’t see the important role of the government especially at such difficult times. Just think if there were no FEMA, OSHA or EPA (and private companies ran their jobs!). Government, in restraint, is a friend and not a foe. Ronald Reagan was wrong.
2. IF I WERE OBAMA. – I would just show the enormous, massive work American workers are doing right now to pull the country out of this huge environmental calamity. I would show the important role the [restrained] government is playing with help from FEMA, EPA or OSHA. I would just show the president providing leadership to the rescue operation. Not like Bloomberg flying on a helicopter, but standing in knee-deep water, shoulder to shoulder with the ordinary, suffering men and women. There would be no need for any more campaign blitz. (But who am I? They have all the power, and I don’t. They have their media and machinery and money, and they must be more intelligent than I am.)
3. MY FIVE POINTS FOR REAL CHANGE. — (1) A pro-working people coalition of moderate left and right that believes in true equal opportunity (class, race and gender-wise) for upward social mobility, (2) A Keynesian economic system that rewards labor, helps the poor, and regulates-restricts corporations (including war and prison corporations), (3) Refrain from too much power for the government ensuring rights, justice, liberty and freedom, (4) Find alternative environment, energy and peace policies, and (5) Do not promote or sustain a global, violent hegemonic power and economic aggression. For whatever its worth, this must be the future education for our children. It’s a start.
4. HURRICANE IN NEW YORK. — It was a new experience for us here in Brooklyn to go through this big storm. We survived, except for some power cuts, broken trees and small house damage. Yet, can’t help thinking how people all over the world — in Bangladesh, Orissa, Cuba, Haiti, Indonesia, etc. deal with it ALL THE TIME, and we take their lifelong suffering for granted. Maybe, we need to wake up. Or, will we, ever? I doubt it.
5. THIS ELECTION AND MY PREDICTION. — Who cares if predictions I made over two months ago turned out to be correct? Nobody is going to give me any money, fame or award (and some people are pretty upset at me, as if I am partially responsible for the outcome). Plus, I’d be terrified, petrified myself that fascists, racists and bigots came back to power, that Obama squandered an historic opportunity, and that the world is back on the doom and destruction track again. Don’t blame me. Blame them!
Think about it.
Sorry about the somewhat incoherent way to put it all together. But I hope you can find the underlying messages I tried to send across. I hope we can engage in an honest and sincere, urgently necessary conversation — NOW and also after the November 6 elections.
I still hope Obama wins and Romney loses. Just because I would NEVER want racists, sexists, war mongers, supremacists and bigots come back to power.
But our conversation and grassroots bridge-building will go on, regardless of the election outcome.
Brooklyn, New York
Obama didn’t deliver. But Republicans didn’t want him to deliver, either!