After listening to the orange-haired leader of the free world give his incendiary inaugural speech, and after marching in the cold and rain with tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators in the Portland’s Women’s March on Saturday, I have hope.
I am starting to believe that Donald Trump can make America great again. He has already shown a remarkable ability to bring people together. Millions of Americans from many diverse backgrounds have united around their shared opposition to his policies. As his plans unfold, they will soon be joined by millions more.
Already the Affordable Care Act, or as it is more commonly known, Obamacare, is gaining in popularity. Obamacare may not look good compared to the imaginary unicorn, a Republican health care plan with no individual mandate that allows drug companies and insurance companies to make massive profits, which is affordable for all, but doesn’t actually exist. But Obamacare will look wonderful next to real-life Trumpcare.
What will be soon revealed is that the real-life Republican health care plan is primarily designed to ensure that the Republican Party continues to receive massive political donations from the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance companies. It has little to do with delivering affordable health care. But now the Republicans will have to take responsibility for a real health care system. And they will certainly screw it up.
Millions of Americans will be hurt. Many will die because of lack of access to health care. But there will be a silver lining. Trumpcare will build support for a rational single-payer health care system.
In his inaugural speech, Trump said, “This American carnage stops,” and he actually talked about giving the power back to the people. It was hard to believe I was hearing a Republican president use socialist phrasing throughout his speech.
While the political rhetoric may sound good to the unemployed factory worker or the person struggling to support his or her family on minimum wage, he or she will soon learn that the Revolutionary Cabinet is filled with former executives from Exxon, Goldman Sachs and Carl’s Jr. Most people I know are not asking for a big tax cut for the rich, reduced worker protections and inflation that will continue to erode the minimum wage. The blue collar workers who voted for Trump will soon learn they have been betrayed.
Once they realize this, many of them will be willing to join the ever-growing coalition that wants to return the power to the people: Those who want a government that will reverse the flow of national wealth to the 1 percent; those who want affordable health care; who want the government to protect senior citizens; and who believe in science and want to preserve the environment. They will be willing to join a coalition that includes people of all races, all religions and all sexual orientations, and recognizes and appreciates America’s immigrant population.
Trump will bring Americans together. But the question will be: What will be the party of the people? Robert Reich, the former labor secretary under Bill Clinton, called for the Democratic Party to stop being just a fundraising tool and to start being the party of the movement. Trump will bring us together by showing us that we need to unite for the common good. Our priorities? First, we need to stop him. And then we will build a better America.