Friday, April 26, 2019

Bold Democratic Leadership to Face the Perfect Storm

By Brian T. Lynch, MSW

The 2020 election cycle is unlike any other election cycle. The stakes are sky high. The outcome is critical to our survival as a country and as a species. Here are six points to help sort out the special challenges we face.

1. Reelecting Donald Trump is not an option. He must go. The sooner the better. He is not acting in the best interests of The United States. He isn’t protecting America from hostile foreign attacks against our democracy or our elections. He is directly dismantling our democratic institutions, destroying our alliances with friendly nations, and using his office for personal financial gain. He is fomenting hatred and divisiveness amongst us. He is not upholding the constitution or respecting the rule of law. He has assumed dictatorial powers and is encouraging lawlessness among civil servants to further his grip on power. He has led the Republican Party into dangerous territory in supporting him or remaining silent when they should be speaking out. We are all rightfully scared by the prospect of his winning reelection. Donald Trump MUST GO.

2. Electing any one of the twenty Democratic Presidential Candidates will be excellent for the country and for almost all of the usual issues about which we care, from health care, civil rights, gender equality, LGBT rights, women’s reproductive freedom, immigration reform, education, jobs, minimum wage increases and the economy in general. And any one of the Democratic candidates will also begin to undo the damage caused by our current President. Choosing a candidate based on the most frequently discussed issues (examples above) boils down to how each of us personally prioritizes those topics. Every one of these issues will likely show marked improvement under any of one of the Democratic nominees. So, choosing a candidate based solely on the current menu of issues under discussion, in my mind, creates a distinction without a difference within the larger scheme of what this country is facing.

3. The three biggest, most consequential issues not foremost on the political candidates’ menus, the most critical issues on which we must take urgent drastic action, are:




These three issues are so big that they are difficult to see in their outline. They are also complex. They can’t be reduced to a bumper sticker. Worse still, they are interconnected; Enmeshed in such a way that we can’t resolve one without working on all three at the same time.

4. CLIMATE CHANGE right now is an immediate threat to our survival as a species on Earth. If you don’t feel that way, you are in the American majority. There are reasons why you are skeptical, yet the best science in the world is telling us that climate change is a direct, immediate threat to all life as we know it. The time to freak out about it is now, today. We have known what to do to avoid a climate crisis for the past 30 years, but we didn’t act. We have just 12 years left to take the radical steps that are now required in order to avoid the worst possible consequences. Had we acted 30 years ago our option would have been less radical and politically easier to achieve. In political terms, we have three Presidential elections cycles left to elect the aggressive leadership it will take to assure our grandchildren aren’t living on a hostile planet.

5. EXCESSIVE CORPORATE BUSINESS INFLUENCE OVER CIVIL GOVERNMENTS is the primary reason most Americans are climate change skeptics. Exxon/Mobil, for example, has known this day was coming for the past 30 years. Their own scientists told them how fossil fuels were disrupting global climate. They began designing their oil rigs to withstand higher seas and much stronger storms way back then. But they, along with other petrol-chemical companies, engaged in massive public disinformation campaigns to spread lies about the science of global warming. They have convinced millions of us that global warming is a hoax. They have acted in bad faith for decades, just as the tobacco industry did before them. They have used their excessive influence over the federal government, and our state governments, to prevent the enactment of reasonable laws and policies to alter our trajectory over the years. Yet this is just one very serious example of government corruption resulting from excessive corporate influence. The problem is much deeper and systemic. We citizens no longer have any significant influence over the enactment of any laws or regulations beneficial to us if it conflicts with corporate power. Further, our mainstream media itself is embedded in the corporate power structure to the effect that the information we consume, and the formation of opinions, are highly influenced by those who control corporate power. Top leadership in both political parties are compromised by the excessive influence of wealthy owners who exercise their control through corporate power.

6. DISINFORMATION WARFARE BY FOREIGN POWERS AND WEALTHY OLIGARCHS are the headlines we don't see, even at the release of the Mueller Report. We are under attack on many fronts in this information warfare against The United States. This war was openly declared by Russia and Vladimir Putin years ago, but we still aren’t paying attention. Most of us don’t understand this new type of warfare. We can’t recognize the many ways that we are under attack and don’t feel like victims when we buy into fake news content or engage with foreign military warriors on social media. The idea that we are being attacked every day by hostile foreign forces seems so bazaar to many of us that we buried the lead in the Mueller Report. RUSSIA influenced our election results and their “active measures” against us only increased after the election. Their goal is to divide us against ourselves in every way possible; To make us ungovernable and dysfunctional. They didn’t take Donald Trump’s side in the election because they liked him, but because he was the most disruptive, divisive, incompetent and offensive candidate in the race. They know how to groom and maintain his base supporters, and are doing so now, every day. They learned a great deal in the 2016 election about our electoral system on a very granular level. They hacked into the companies that write the software for our electronic voting machines. They have been given detailed GOP internal polling information. They know better than you or I which precincts are vulnerable to voter manipulation and voter suppression. And they know how to turn every difference of opinion within our public discourse into a raging, irreconcilable screaming match. They are actively radicalizing us all, on every side of every issue, and doing it with stealth and methods that make it hard for us to recognize we are being manipulated. Whether it’s Democrats discussing what to do next about the Mueller report or Methodists trying to find common ground on issues like gay marriage to hold the Church together, there are forces at work to divide us on every issue.

IN SUMMARY, this is what our country is facing. We need a candidate who is not only right on the many domestic issues frequently discussed in the media, but also a person who can lead Americans to take bold action on climate change, curb the excessive influence of big corporations on our governments and block the foreign disinformation attacks that are radicalizing our citizens. Under these extreme conditions, the candidates we perceive as the safest choice may not be the best choice. Tepid actions and half-measures won't do. Effective options to combat climate change at this late stage will directly threaten corporate power structures and the political divisions that every policy fight creates (on any issue) will be greatly amplified by a Russian cyber army that wants America to fail. The times call for bold leadership. It isn't clear to me, as of yet, that any of the Democratic candidates so far fully grasp this perfect storm that's coming.

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