Our infrastructure’s crumbling — so we slash taxes that could have been used to revitalize it.  Thank you for your leadership, Republicans. Instead of providing millions of good jobs, you add another trillion to our Debt and — because your cuts overwhelmingly favor the wealthy — widen yet further our grotesque inequality.  (Beware, Fellow Plutocrats — The Pitchforks Are Coming.)

As we eat into our physical capital — bridges, sewers, and such — we’ve now set a course to eat into our environmental capital, despoiling our air and water for short-term profit.  Thank you for your leadership, Republicans.

We’ve abdicated our role as world leader, alienating our traditional allies aligning with autocrats . . . and stand alone among the nations of the earth in eschewing the Paris Climate Accord.  Thank you for your leadership, Republicans.

In the wake of the surprise attack on our democracy (it’s ridiculous to think Putin didn’t change the outcome of the election) — the existence of which the House Republicans won’t even acknowledge — Republican legislators do nothing to protect the security of our elections going forward.

And have I mentioned health careStudent loan interest rates?  The shameful way we’ve dealt with desperate people seeking asylum?

(“There is no excuse for a rich country like the United States to make demons out of people fleeing for their lives,” writes David Millibrand. “They deserve to have their cases assessed, and where it is not safe for them to go home (the test for refugee status), they should be allowed to stay and be given a chance to build a life.  What we do know is that refugees who do stay pay more in taxes than they consume in benefits and contribute to this country in myriad ways.”)

The trade war????

It’s equal parts tragic and maddening to see our needless — and rapid — decline.

Putin and Trump stoke division, when what we clearly need are problem-solving compromise and cooperation.

But the good news is: if massive numbers of people turn out to change course in November, we can.

And the further good news is that small signs keep popping up that we might.

My next door neighbor, a lifelong Republican, gave $5,000 to the DNC last week!

Better still, from the rural America, comes this report (thank you, John Grund):

I live in the very blue city of Portland, Oregon, but for some 50 years now, have honored our farm roots in red Polk County, about 60 miles south, by going to see the annual Monmouth-Independence Fourth of July Parade.  For some time, I have watched for the relative size of the delegations of the Polk County Democrats and the Polk County Republicans to gauge the political winds.

For years, probably ever since Reagan, the Republicans have had the best of it. They were loud, proud, and numerous in their blue blazers or skirts and hats for the ladies, with professionally printed signs and nice classic convertibles. The Democrats were usually a loose gaggle of folks in overalls, making their way on foot – long hair for the men, short hair for the women, handwritten signs. And every year the Democrats would work their hearts out, and lose and lose and lose.

This year was different. The Democrats came first – more than I’d ever seen in the parade before, probably 50 in all. They were still on foot, and still armed with homemade signs, but this time the signs spelled out Democratic accomplishments – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – and needled the Republicans for racism, intolerance, and fear. The Democrats received polite but sincere applause. There were “Black Lives Matter” and “Health Care for All” signs. That was surprisingly bold for the Polk County Democrats, but even more surprising was the Republican contingent near the end of the parade.

First, it was small, just about a dozen or fifteen youth, with matching jeans and polo shirts. There was one flatbed trailer. The usual political signs were there, but this year with less red and more generic green. None of the signs for local candidates included the word “Republican.” That’s not unusual in the county, but the local candidates weren’t on the trailer, either. No one in the audience remembered to clap. There were no MAGA hats, no mention of Trump at all. The weird MAGA, 911truth, Infowars guy who usually brings his own float was nowhere to be seen.

Democratic Congressman Kurt Schrader was in the parade a short distance behind the Democrats. Oregon’s 5th congressional district includes a lot of rural territory, but also the south Portland suburbs that tend to keep it blue. Schrader’s Republican adversary didn’t turn out.

My optimistic thought: Republicans are ashamed of Trump, and their party. I’m not sure it is an enthusiasm gap per se – I think they’ll still make it out to the polls and vote, but they are aware of the stench that is sticking to the G.O.P.

My pessimistic thought: Just as they have turned against democracy in general (“[Republicanism] refuses to share power, to wait its turn, to see the importance of liberalism as its foil.” – Andrew Sullivan), the Republicans now think that old-fashioned political persuasion the in public square doesn’t matter anymore. They have figured out that they just need to reach their base voters through targeted Facebook appeals (with or without the Russians’ help), and that it is better to not let the rest of America or the world listen in on that process.

Whether my optimistic or pessimistic thought turns out to be true, the answer is still the same – motivate good-hearted people to vote, every time.




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