My wife perceptively notes how the USA is sliding backwards. Racism has new vigor even as science is rejected, e.g. climate change denial. A woman’s right to choose is under attack. Immigrants once again are openly subjected to prejudice and scorn. Diversity of views and efforts at inclusion are rejected as so many exercises in “political correctness.” Unions are being weakened and the working poor are attacked as lazy and irresponsible. Life expectancy for many is declining, mainly due to suicide, opioid and other addictions, and illnesses related to poor eating habits and obesity. War is perpetual and violence is never-ending. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer, a sign of “greatness,” at least to Trump and his followers.
Sexism, racism, prejudice, ignorance, scapegoating, the privilege of rich white men to say and do whatever they want: this is “greatness” to Trump. The embodiment of fat cat privilege, Trump rides about in his golf cart and swats balls at his various “resorts.” Indeed, America’s hard-working president, who said as a candidate he’d have no time for golf or vacations, has spent one-third of his presidency on vacation. Mission accomplished!
Meanwhile, Democratic officialdom is looking backwards, not forwards. The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) idea of progress is to bring a lawsuit against Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for the 2016 election. This act will “fire up the base,” or so leading Democrats appear to think. But it’s really sour grapes, a loser policy conducted by pols who remain out of touch with the pressing concerns of ordinary Americans (you know, things like health care, a living wage, and other issues associated with Bernie Sanders’s campaign). If only America had a true Labor Party instead of a DNC that mirrors the Republicans while lacking their focus and ruthlessness.
Let’s face it: America needs a new leader, a fresh start, an unapologetic progressive, someone who’s smart but who also possesses empathy. Someone on the side of workers; someone like Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand.
Roughly half Trump’s age, Jacinda Ardern represents the future. Intelligent, principled, committed to her people, Ardern is refreshingly honest and frank. Imagine, for a moment, a truly progressive woman as president of the United States, one who has the courage of her convictions, one committed to fairness and equity in society, one untainted by big money, even one who’s unabashedly pregnant and who supports maternity and paternity leave for parents.
She’s got spunk too. When she first met Trump and he had a snide remark for her, she replied that masses of people didn’t take to the streets to protest when she was elected. As my Kiwi friend put it, “It’s the ability of Jacinda to not only represent her own party but pull together alliances that is impressive. Not only an arrangement with the conservative ‘New Zealand First’ party but also the Greens.” She brings people together for the greater good — making concessions when she has to. What a quaint concept.
America could use a woman like Jacinda Ardern as president. If only my Kiwi friends would let her emigrate! (Yes, sadly, she wasn’t born here so she couldn’t run, but let a man dream, dammit.) Perhaps Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will emerge as America’s Jacinda in 2020; aligned with Bernie Sanders, Gabbard has moxie as well as military experience. But I wouldn’t bank on it. The DNC, still with its collective head up its ass, isn’t seeing the future too clearly.