‘Trauma and Recovery’

8ed3bcb6b5265b52229cfe7243588f27BY ED FELIEN

“Trauma and Recovery” is an excellent work by Judith Lewis Herman showing how victims of post-traumatic stress, whether men from battle or women from battering, can learn to heal.
The bigoted and racist campaign of Donald Trump has been a traumatic experience for many of us.  His election as President is almost horrifying.  The first reaction is to crawl into bed and cover up with a warm blanket.
But, as Judith Lewis Herman suggests, the best way to heal from this traumatic experience is to pull yourself out from under the covers and try to make sense of your situation and talk to some of your friends about where to go from this point.
How did we get here?
Southside Pride has consistently supported Bernie Sanders.  When he lost the Democratic Party endorsement and asked his supporters to join him in supporting Hillary Clinton, we agreed.  We called it A Popular Front against Fascism.  We argued it was better to unite with bourgeois liberals in a coalition against racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim and male chauvinism as personified by Donald Trump than to support an ultra-left candidate such as Jill Stein of the Green Party.
In Minnesota, Stein got 1.26% of the total (36,917 votes) and that is far less than the 5% that Ralph Nader got in 2000.  Clinton was able to beat Trump in Minnesota by 1.45%.
She was not as fortunate in Wisconsin and Michigan.  She lost Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by 27,257 votes.  Jill Stein got 1% or 30,980 votes.  She lost Michigan’s 16 electoral votes by 11,837 votes.  Jill Stein got 50,686.  But Jill Stein can’t be blamed for costing Clinton the election in the same way that Ralph Nader’s votes in Florida in 2000 could be said to have cost Gore the election in 2000.  There were no other electoral votes that would have changed with all of Jill Stein’s votes going to Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps the best analysis of our traumatic loss can be found in Thomas Frank’s book, “Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?” published a year before the election results were known.  Frank demonstrates that with the election of Bill Clinton and the smack-down of crime in the black communities, the end of welfare, the passing of NAFTA and the loosening of restrictions on Wall Street with the repeal of Glass Steagall, the Democratic Party moved to represent hedge fund managers and turned its back on working people.
Hillary Clinton should have learned from her strong challenge from Bernie Sanders that there was trouble for her in connecting with working people.  She lost the Rust Belt because Trump was able to convince working people, who were in fear of losing their jobs,  that Clinton’s opposition to trade agreements was just electioneering posturing.  He effectively claimed she was lying about opposing TPP, about closing tax loopholes for the rich and about creating jobs.  And working class voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania believed him.
Trump doesn’t have solutions to the problems of surplus workers under an advanced capitalist system.  International corporations have no national allegiance, so, therefore, they have no reason to keep the hometown plant open.
And Limousine Liberals are offended by the manners and the language of this “basket of deplorables.”
Bernie Sanders said:  “Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media.  People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids—all while the very rich become much richer.
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
There are municipal elections coming up next year, and, probably, all the incumbents will be asking for your support—especially if you are a DFL delegate to the ward and city DFL conventions.  This is your chance to talk to them about their votes to deny you the right to vote on city funding for the Vikings stadium, the right to vote on raising the minimum wage, the right to vote on getting insurance for the city against the actions of rogue police officers.
The Minneapolis DFL precinct caucuses will be Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. Anyone can walk in the door.  Anyone can be elected.
Stay tuned!

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