The vote yesterday accomplished something crucially important: It set up in the new House of Representatives a body to block the neo-fascist urges and practices of the Trump Administration and its Congressional toadies. It will be important to follow through on that by use of the subpoena power to investigate the mix of corrupt thieves, corporate shills, racists, closet anti-Semites, misogynists, and white supremacists in Trumpland.
That is crucial despite Trump’s threat that the Senate will retaliate by using its own subpoena power to harass Democratic officials. (His threat shows how much he fears the daylight that will be cast on dark doings.) The majority of the American people made clear yesterday that we trust the new wave of Democrats far more than we trust the Trumpists, and that we will support laying bare the truth.
AND – We must also move forward to meet the real needs of the American people. Those needs include the needs of many of the people who voted for Trump and his Senators – both the economic and the cultural needs, so long as the Federal government is not supporting racist or misogynist practices that contradict the “equal protection of the laws” guaranteed by the Constitution.
In the light of “Tomorrow—For America "“” the best thing that happened yesterday was the great wave of new women activists.
And the saddest defeat was of the effort to shap a “Black-and-White-Together Populism,” in Georgia, Florida, and Texas. That effort is crucial to both our moral and our political future, and it must continue and expand. Without it, we cannot heal and transform America.
What would the policy program of such a campaign be?
For example: In 1936 the New Deal met the needs of farmers and involved them in a fruitful coalition through the Rural Electrification Act. It provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. The funding was channeled through cooperative electric power companies.
Imagine a Neighborhood Solarization Act that offers grants and loans to neighborhood co-ops in small towns and rural areas as well as urban neighborhoods to solarize homes and businesses and schools that become co-op members, and also pays for training new home-grown solar and wind engineers and then pays them for new green jobs at decent wages.
Grants to neighborhood co-ops bypass state and local officials; the new solar systems radically reduce the costs of electricity; the rapid spread of renewable energy reduces asthma and cancer rates in neighborhoods near coal-burning plants and oil refineries. And the new solar systems greatly reduce CO2 emissions that are scorching and burning our home – our planet.
What’s more, the co-ops themselves would become grass-roots political challenges to the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs that are making hyperwealthy sowing profits by burning Earth, sowing the anti-life seeds of enormous floods, hurricanes, droughts, and famines.
I mentioned meeting cultural needs as well, among those who feel themselves the “Forgotten Americans.” So now imagine that the same neighborhood co-ops receive each year a Federal grant sufficient to create a folk festival of their own design. A grant to pay singers, craftspersons, cooks, planners. An infusion of cash into economically and psychologically depressed.
And what if a new Medicare for All act were to channel money toward similar cooperative neighborhood clinics?
I sketch this approach as a hunch, a hypothetical model, of what a decentral, compassionate, justice-seeking America might look like.
I do not think the “new” old-fogey Senate will pass such an Act, nor that the President whose friendliest fat cats are Big Coal and Big Oil will sign it. But if there were a grass-roots call for such an Act, the new House of Representatives might, and then campaign for it in 2020 as precisely what all Americans need. The fight is not with each other but with the Corporate Pharaohs that oppress the 99% of us.