What's a Democrat to do?
March 13, 2017 at 4:15 p.m.
Updated March 14, 2017 at 6 a.m.
Pat Tally - Guest Column
In this year of impossibilities, it's hard to know what to think and even harder to imagine what to do. The division of Americans into parallel realities does not allow for much certainty. Democrats are reacting to events that are moving too swiftly for there to be a true democratic process. Acknowledging the winner of an election does not give carte blanche to deconstruct every institution that has been supported through the decades by both political parties. That is what is happening. A blitz of needless restructuring.
When changes are happening faster than we can take it in, our mind puts on the brakes. The swift movement toward unwanted change has created a flight or fight reaction. The response of progressives around the country has been to take action. Debates, town hall meetings, marches, things that have drawn criticism from many quarters no matter who is in attendance.
Many people think marches, strikes and letters, maybe protests of any kind, are pointless and even counterproductive. From my lifetime perspective, we are never so American as when we mobilize to protest. Many are asking: What is the draw? Why look silly and accomplish nothing? Because to us who are forming committees, for us who march, who carry signs of protest, who speak out at the offices of our elected politicians, it is not feeling like we have a choice. We can honestly do nothing less. It is our American right to show our concern. To look at each other and say, "I have to be there. I have to demonstrate my concern about the incredible incompetence I am seeing at state and local levels." The unbearable willingness to remain ignorant about social and scientific issues that matter to our everyday lives is not acceptable.
I believe the government exists to make the lives of its citizens safer, healthier and happier. Not just some percentage of us - but for all the people of the USA. Big and little, short and tall. All genders, all ethnicities, all colors. And, all of us are not safer, healthier or happier.
Tearing down is not a plan. Chaos is not an acceptable strategy. What is happening to our institutions and traditions is wrong, and we want our elected officials to fix it. We want that enough to keep on protesting and organizing. It is not about a lost election or temper tantrums. It is about America's past, and it is what democracy looks like.
Pat Tally is the chairwoman of the Victoria County Democratic Party. Before retiring to Victoria, she was the director of a clinical social work department in a large Dallas hospital system for 22 years. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.