(Getty/Jewel Samad)

Yes, America, you can resist the brutishness of the reign of Trump — when progressives truly unite

Grassroots populists have important work to do even as forces of oligarchy and repression are hoping for surrender

Jim Hightower
January 21, 2017 9:00PM (UTC)

Buckle up, friends. Most Americans are about to be detoured onto a rough and rocky back road called "Trump Way." The autocratic tycoon was unabashed on the campaign trail in promising that his victory would ensure millions of people a dire future that included mass deportations of immigrants, refugee bans and frontal assaults on women.

But they're not the only ominous prospects. It will surprise many of the working stiffs who voted for the blustery billionaire to learn something that he didn't communicate in his hectoring, "truth-telling" speeches: His little-discussed economic agenda is filled with provisions that would permit 1 percenters to travel more luxuriously than ever in the smooth, fast lanes of life, while the middle class and the poor are flagged onto Trump Way for a hairy, four-year ride of even more downward mobility. The proposed package includes the following:


1. Immediately seizing control of the National Labor Relations Board, turning it into a corporate bulldozer to destroy workers' rights, particularly the right to organize unions.

2. "Yuuuuge" new tax cuts for corporations and the superrich, busting the budget for addressing human needs.

3. Privatization of such basics as public education, Medicare and Social Security.


4. Deregulation of corporate profiteers — from Wall Street banksters to Big Oil polluters.

5. Eliminating the federal minimum wage.

6. Freeing corporations from rules that prohibit discrimination in hiring, paying, promoting and firing workers.

Why were voters not aware of Trump's little secret agenda? Not just because he wasn't about to boast about such unpopular policies but also because mass media outlets were so dazzled by the bawdy spectacle of Trump's tweets, spats and onstage tirades that they ignored fundamentally important aspects of his presidential intentions. In fact, his entire career as a luxury property developer and brand-name marketer of himself has been built on broken promises to workers, routine scamming of suppliers and partners, blatant self-dealing, crony capitalism and lies. That con game alone tells us who our new president really is: an incorrigible swindler.


At 70 years old, he possesses a nuclear level of narcissism and a gluttonous sense of entitlement that are ingrained. Throughout his presidential run, we saw his pleasure in singling out and demeaning people as "losers," including "nasty" women, black protestors, people with disabilities, unionists, Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, poor people, environmental activists and anyone who criticized him. How he treats us commoners won't change because he's President Trump. (Gosh, it's gonna take a long time before I can say that with a straight face.)

So, yes, buckle up. But more importantly, buck up!


Naturally, a triumphant Trump has left many of us baffled, disgusted and terrified. But, please, we have to shake off these immobilizing emotions ASAP because progressives everywhere have important work to do. The forces of oligarchy and repression are hoping we'll surrender to despair, withdraw in fear or even flee to Canada. But come on, the fiery democratic spirit of grassroots Americans has sustained and advanced our nation's fundamental ideals of fairness and justice in even darker times.

It's time for us to double down on what can be seen as the progressive community's shared campaign for populist justice. Essentially, it's the integrative struggle for human dignity, combining our many separate fights for justice into a powerful and righteous whole, an all-for-one, one-for-all effort against the economic and political elites who are determined to subjugate us.

We can beat back the brutishness the reign of Trump promises — if we seriously unite. That means acting on the reality that our various groups really are in this together. When the Muslim community is attacked, for example, all of us non-Muslims need to recognize that this an attack on all of us, from union members to climate change activists.


We need to recognize that racial and economic injustice are inseparable. Making this connection is especially important now, for the corporate media outlets are simplistically declaring that Trump won because white working-class men rebelled against the rising swirl of multiculturalism.

Of course, the corporate powers (and those who prosper by serving them) have long divided working people by pitting the less powerful groups against one another. So it's up to us to stop playing along. We now have an urgent need to organize and harmonize as members of one progressive family that can and will mobilize as a whole to defend and advance the interests of each and every part, rallying around respect for human dignity and the common good.

Jim Hightower

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