As we sit back in our echo chambers this morning, plotting resistance and obstructionism to a Trump Presidency, I urge us all to also reflect on what brought us here. On what brought us a populist leader who extols the virtues of economic isolationism and American superiority, while simultaneously engaging in Twitter arguments unbecoming of a teenager. I offer one narrative:
The quest for progress without empathy has alienated the working class.
I understand that when we are fighting for the rights of the persecuted, there might not be much room for empathy, but this isn’t about those times. This about when new regulation to protect the Spotted Owl puts anend to a way of life in small Oregon towns. This is about when an Executive Order leads to the closing of hundreds of coal-fired power plants, and with it, the jobs that kept their communities on the map. This is about the free-trade agreements that enabled easy off shoring of manufacturing jobs and the countless retraining programs that have never delivered on their promises.
In the coming four years, the left needs to do better. Some of that must come in the form of confronting the increasingly warped tools of democracy (See voter ID laws, the electoral college and gerrymandering), but the rest needs to come in the form of truly reaching out to the right to understand how progressive policies can be molded to deal with their concerns and needs too.
Without this bridge and the difficult compromises that come with it, I fear that we just might deserve the political reality we are now living in.