Only You Can Save America
What is your role in this? Clearly, no one is expecting you to indict, impeach, or arrest those who conspired with the Kremlin. You really have no control over whether the U.S. imposes or enforces more sanctions against Russia, nor can you do much to sway the reputation of America in the eyes of the rest of the world. But we can all play a role:
First, don’t despair. Don’t assume the war is lost, the investigations are all a sham, Trump will sail to reelection in 2020, and we’ll become a satellite to Putin’s Russia. I know it’s a bit overwhelming. I know it can take an act of will to even open the news from day to day. But this fight is not over, and we are far from lost.
Second, get active in politics and participate in the process. It has been far too easy to go about our daily lives without paying much attention to the news, much less poring over the tedious goings-on of Congress. We can’t afford to do that anymore – not at the local, not at the state, and certainly not at the national level. Find the best candidates you can. If you can afford it, donate to their campaigns. If you have the time, volunteer for their organization. If you have neither, support them however you can. If you love your local politicians and their seats seem safe, consider “adopting” a candidate in another district or state and support them. Anyone who supports Trump’s agenda and attempts to normalize his behaviors should be pants-shittingly terrified that they will lose their jobs in 2018 (2020 for some of those Senators and governors) unless they turn against him.
Make calls, send letters, and otherwise make sure your representatives at all levels hear your voice. Don’t let them slack off just because the letter after their name is usually the one you look for when scanning your ballots.
Third, bring in other people, especially those whose political views are not identical to yours. I’m not saying go find yourself a racist, homophobic, misogynist deplorable to adopt. Even at his nadir, Nixon’s approval rating bottomed out at around 25%. The diehard MAGAt isn’t worth your time. But listen for people who express alarm about how often Trump has broken his word, how much taxpayer money he wastes lining his own pockets, how much his antics on Twitter embarrass them. Don’t try to sell them on universal healthcare. Try to get them on board with just getting this maniac out of office before he starts World War III. At this point, impeachment should be a bipartisan issue, but it won’t be one in Congress until its inescapably one on Main Street – particularly in those Republican-held districts.
Fourth, be aware that the Russian attacks never ended. They are even now bombarding us with wave upon wave of propaganda. It hits us on social media. It sneaks into mainstream news reports. Stay skeptical. Ask why this is being reported, whether it is important enough to warrant your attention or whether it is an attempt to distract you from much more important news. Trump especially loves to do this with stupid Twitter fights, destructive executive orders, and ridiculous promises to pass laws that no one wants (not even members of his own party). Let the media do its job. Let the ACLU fight him in court. Let Congressional Republicans find a diplomatic way to laugh in his face. I know we can all walk and chew gum, paying attention to both the big stuff and the trivial idiocy, but occasionally check yourself to make sure you haven’t stopped to rubberneck when you really should be walking with your eyes on the prize.
We’re Americans. We have our faults and our foibles and a worldwide reputation for being a bit like a large, dumb, overenthusiastic dog. But we play an important role in the world – economically, diplomatically, and yes, militarily. It is in no free nation’s interests – least of all ours – for the United States to become a satellite of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his oligarch allies. Russia’s military is already literally practicing for an invasion of its neighbors. Moscow is feeding arms to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. They’re bombing civilians in Syria. Their relationship with North Korea and Iran is looking more suspicious by the day. We’ve fucked up plenty, and we can be a raging asshole, at times, but like Batman on a global scale, the world needs us.
We all need to pull our shit together and soon.
For Further Reading
Check out John Schindler’s primer on provakatsia and other staple tactics of Russian espionage. As a former analyst for the NSA specializing in counterintelligence operations against Russia, he is vastly more qualified to explain these concepts than I am.