Curtain Raiser

Change Is Not On Hold, Colltalers

Has former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony triggered a Nixon outcome for Trump? Will the president lie again, this time under oath, and commit perjury, costing him his office? Can impeachment be the next work order for America? Still hard to tell but we’re not waiting.
In fact, we can’t afford placing bets on this series finale, when odds dictated by climate change are staked so high against us. And increasing pressure in the U.S. and abroad show that most people are choosing a more direct, global action rather than such spectator’s game of chance.
Not that we’ll relinquish our careful White House and Congress watch – too afraid of what those in charge are capable of doing, when no one is looking. Or cease cheering up every step towards returning dignity to the presidency. After all, every little win will help us along the way.
But recent developments, first in reaction to and then, as a positive strategy to protect our battered civil rights and democracy notions, have been truly encouraging. Within measure, we’re witnessing a not-too coordinated and yet effective movement that’s already showing results.
It helps having a central point of focus, which is the disturbing rise of fascism in the world. At a time when the prospect of a catastrophic global warming threats, if it’s not already affecting, practically all realms of human activity in the planet, there must be immediate action to protect, you guessed it, the poor, the landless, the destitute, the working class, or as they’re popularly known, the majority of Earth’s citizens.
For a moment, prospects were indeed dire. Suddenly, the worst kind of populism – the type that falsely promises redemption while sowing hate among masses – has experienced a revival, fueled by income inequality and aggravated by long-term human predatory use of natural resources. Such explosive combination produced its own uncontrollable avalanche, and time to prevent it has unfortunately already passed.
Authoritarian leaders, compromised by corporate interests and moved by personal greed, are the least that we all need. But just as they rose, alternatives to the destructive capitalistic model of ‘progress’ started to get surprising traction globally at local and country political levels. That despite an once reliable electoral process being overcome, here and abroad, by the power of capital and Wall Street’s ‘growth ideology.’
Pause here, before going further into cliches thought to be long buried at the turn of the millennium. The use of such code words is intentional to show that, despite undeniable advances in life expectancy, social promotion opportunities, as well as improvement to everyone’s well being, such benefits are now being as denied to the majority as they were during Hitler and Mussolini times, perhaps even more so.
Also, for those keeping score, if at the middle of the 20th century, war seemed to be the ‘natural’ solution, now it’s another thing we must keep as out of the equation as possible. In other words, the rise of phony populism is a disgusting deja vu. But the solutions now are much fresher.
In Chicago, for instance, the People’s Summit gathered several progressive groups to discuss ‘Organizing for Education Justice,’ ‘Time for Single-Payer,’ and ‘Empowering Locals,’ among

other topics. With a reported attendance of several hundreds, and presence of Sen. Bernie Sanders, among luminaries of the left, the meeting organized by 350.org is certainly a way to galvanize a progressive agenda for change.
It comes among a spate of unprecedentedly massive rallies of protest against the president. People have been consistently out in support of Muslims, immigrant rights, healthcare for all, increased minimum wage, reproductive rights, separation of church and state, and so many issues he’s been wrong about. In the last five months, there seems to be always an anti-Trump rally going on somewhere in America.
Then there’s the coalition of cities and states, vowing to keep climate change, and efforts to reverse in, a centerpiece of national conversation. With Canada’s public support, and a group of billionaires and corporations – and what did we know? – signing on for it too, such effort is another first in the fight to keep the planet for the living, not just the privileged wealthy. It pits local governments against Washington but for the crucial cause of survival of nation and world alike. All due skepticism considered, it’s hard to underestimate its importance.
Speaking of Canada, while Germany has vowed to keep its borders relatively open to the massive inflow of refugees the prefab conflicts in the Middle East and Africa are sending in to Europe, France, now under Emmanuel Macron, remains defiant against both far-right intolerance, and destructive terrorism. Among many initiatives, it’s now even offering scholarships to foreign students of climate science.
Along all of those apparently disconnected forces, pushing back fascism and ignorance, each with its own particular focus, but all keeping a coherent narrative about what is possible to be done against climate change, technology and even market forces are showing that there is, indeed, much to be gained. Just to give an example, off-shore wind technology is now a highly profitable industry for the first time ever.
That means, without generalization, that the world can and must be changed. And despite irrelevant anti-Muslim ‘marches,’ the Democratic Party’s still obliviousness to what’s going on around it, or even Trump’s own diatribes, none of these obstacles is a match for the change apace.
Many more segments need to be part of it, or helped along the process, such as native Americans’ fight to protect sacred lands, anti-war and non-violent groups, Veterans for peace, students, housewives, and so-called liberal professionals. But as we said, we’re not waiting for everyone to be on their right mind, or given ideal conditions, to say, enough. Fortunately, every week is a proof that we are definitely not.
Trump may have made the final mistake, bragging that he’s ready to testify, and probably thinking that he can turn it into another lying slug fest, where he’ll have the chance to shout louder than his questioners. Or Special Counsel Robert Mueller may find enough evidence of collusion of the president and his inner circle, involving Russia. Or another embarrassing bombshell will hit the airwaves next week.
But short of an act of war against, say, a ‘forgiving’ leader such as Kim Jong-un, thrown is as a desperate distraction by the administration, or maybe because that’s a real possibility, the beating (of change) will continue until morale improves (and our moral compass is fully reset).
With this administration, no bets are safe, and just like what’s just happened in Brazil, attempts to bring the president to accountability, and saving us from another inevitable misdeed ahead, may all fail. We must keep our resolve, no matter what. It’s June, Pride month. Celebrate. WC

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