Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Let's Let The Blacklist, And Kazan, Rest In Peace

When I first saw this, my initial reaction was something like this:  Dear G-d, will this never end?  Yet another attempt to turn Elia Kazan into a hero for testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the most aptly named congressional committee in history, for its very activities were as un-American as you can get.  But this time, there's an interesting twist:  the author, who admits his ignorance of the whole blacklist story, argues for the greatness of Kazan's appearances before the committee as a "friendly witness" because he did his best directorial work after those appearances and (in the case of "On The Waterfront") successfully justified those appearances.

You'll have to see "On The Waterfront" yourself to judge whether Kazan's justification is successful. I saw it several years ago and, apart from Marlon Brando's legendary I-coulda-been-a-contenda scene, I found it to be horribly melodramatic and cliched, leaving me somewhat appalled by the fact that it is recognized generally to be a classic.  But, that's OK; I'm appalled by the way in which "Gone With The Wind" romanticizes the antebellum South.  So I may not be your most reliable movie guide.

But it's difficult for me to accept the argument that service as a HUAC witness was any great creative spur for Kazan.  He only directed nine movies after "Waterfront," only three of which--"East of Eden," "A Face in the Crowd," and "Splendor in the Grass"--are remembered today.  And one of those movies was an adaptation of his own potboiler novel "The Arrangement," an attempt on Kazan's part to justify marital infidelity for the sake of destroying a life he had built and attempting to find a better one through sex with a younger, attractive woman.  Perhaps the ending of the novel is the most revealing insight into Kazan's thinking:  his hero admits that, when all is said and done, he still doesn't understand why he did what he did.

Similarly, I'm not sure that Kazan ever understood why he testified before HUAC when so many of his colleagues properly understood the committee's work as a direct assault not only on the First Amendment, but on the rest of the Bill of Rights as well.  It assumed guilt, and demanded the production of innocence.  It destroyed not only countless careers, but many lives as well.  It produced no evidence, when all was said and done, of a show-business conspiracy to destroy America.  Even Charlton Heston, no one's idea of a bleeding-heart liberal, described HUAC's crusade against the Constitution as "an exercise in futility."

And Kazan himself was somewhat ambivalent on the subject.  In an interview many years after the release of "On The Waterfront," Kazan was quoted as saying, on the subject of his testimony, "Maybe I did wrong, probably did."  The truth is that HUAC destroyed everyone who came into contact with it.  It divided Hollywood into "commies" versus "finks."  It destroyed the creative work of the world's premiere creative community.  It created a legacy that still shadows the American film industry, even today.  Perhaps it was best summed up by historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in a New York Times op-ed piece written around the time Kazan got his lifetime achievement Oscar, in which he quoted blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo on the subject of the blacklist:
When you who are in your 40's or younger look back with curiosity on that dark time, as I think occasionally you should, it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.
Personally, if all we got out of that dark time was "On The Waterfront," I don't think it was worth it.

Yet Again, The Case For Higher Taxes Makes Itself

I started this blog a little more than seven years ago with a number of goals in mind.  One of them was to improve my writing with practice, practice, and more practice.  But another one was to address subjects that ranged from the political to the cultural, and sometimes embraced more than one aspect of life.  And one of those subjects is taxes.

We've been in the grip of an anti-tax rebellion for most of the last 40 years  Cutting tax rates has become the mantra of politicians in both of our major political parties, especially when the subject turns to tax cuts for the investing class.  All we have to do is cut tax rates down to zero (or lower, if such a thing is feasible), and all will be well.

Except when it isn't.  Because reality disagrees.

As this Huffington Post piece illustrates, we now live in a world where it is possible for one or a small number of individuals to amass so much economic wealth (thanks to tax cuts) that it is possible for those individuals to threaten democratic control of democratic institutions.

I have often argued that hiking tax rates for the wealthy is the moral equivalent of welfare reform for the rich.  There can be no doubt about that now.  But the ugly truth is that all of us pay too little for the civilization that we take for granted.  That's why this is sadly the state of our infrastructure.

We need to stop kidding ourselves about the free lunch we've given ourselves for the past four decades.  It hasn't been free  It hasn't delivered the benefits that were promised by its advocates.  It is not a sacred text from Mount Sinai; it's a horribly bad idea that belongs on the dump heap of history.

Let's make 2016 the year that we put it there.

Mr. Hatch, You've Overstayed Your Welcome

Back in the days when Democrats seemed to have limitless control of Congress, conservatives took up the cause of "term limits" for House and Senate members, just as they had done previously for the Presidency in the post-FDR era.  Of course, this advocacy over time became little more than another way of illustrating conservative hypocrisy.  When Saint Ronnie won two terms in the Oval Office, they wrung their hands and demanded the undoing of their constitutional handiwork limiting Presidents to two terms.  TS, guys.  You have to take the good along with the bad.

Perhaps they learned a lesson from this after the end of the era of Democratic Congresses, because, mirabile dictu, their term-limit advocacy for members of Congress ended at this point.  At least, their verbal advocacy ended.  But that doesn't mean their ability to stumble into the argument by way of example.

Consider the recent case of Orrin Hatch, the senior U.S. Senator from the Beehive State of Utah. Senator Hatch recently had an op-ed piece published in a prominent Utah newspaper describing a recent meeting with Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.  According to the text of the piece, the meeting did not change his mind regarding his "conviction" that the next (hopefully Republican) President should nominate Scalia's replacement.

Just one problem.  The op-ed piece was a canned job, written well in advance of the meeting (and doubtless by someone other than Hatch).  The newspaper accidentally published the piece prematurely.

I don't fault the newspaper for its mistake, and I'm hardly shocked by the idea that Hatch had made up his mind about the outcome of the meeting before it actually happened.  But come on, Senator. Would it have been so tough to hold the meeting and then give the newspaper the canned piece?

You have not been a rebel against the Establishment for a long time, Senator.  You are the worst aspects of the Establishment's corruption, and your participation in the Garland blockade merely underscores that point.  Do us all a favor and go.  Now.  Before Democrats like me change our minds about term limits.

Well, Does He Want The Job Or Not?

Apparently, Donald Trump wants his Vice President to be an apprentice.

Thanks to the always-reliable Rachel Maddow, we now know that there are large portions of the job for which Trump is running that he doesn't want to actually handle.  The Donald would rather function more as a "big-picture" type, leaving the messy details of day-to-day responsibility to his Veep, whom he would apparently regard as little more than an underling, despite his or her status as the second-most powerful person in the country.  And an elected official in any case.

But, in this scenario, is that a status that Trump would actually recognize?

What it, for example, at some early point in his presidency, an aspect of his job that he's "handed off" to his Vice President goes haywire?  And boy, is that easy to imagine.

Does Trump step up and take responsibility?  You've got to be kidding.  This is Donald Trump, who gave the TV world "The Apprentice."  He'll tell the Veep "You're fired!"  Then he'll move on to another would-be details person.  Or, at least, try to.  Because he has no concept of how constitutional government is different from running a real estate empire, or a TV show.

And, in any event, this "big-picture" mode of operating begs the further question of what parts of the job does Donald not like, or want to get involved with.  And how does that disinterest affect those who have a burning interest in those parts of the job?  To say nothing of the rest of us.

If you have decided, or will decide, to vote for someone who doesn't even want to do the job he's asking you to elect him to, you have only yourselves to blame.  Except that, if you do, I suspect you'll be dragging down a lot of innocent people with you.  And they may not be very forgiving.  Of Donald, or of you.

The Greatest Revolution In Human History

Well, it looks like there are some happy endings in the 20th Century after all.  Take a look at this article from the Huffington Post, about the declining fortunes it petro-states.

Unfortunately, the article buries what should be the lede.  It lists a variety of reasons for this decline, instead of focusing on the reason (which it mentions only in passing):  the rise of alternative energy. As Barack Obama's presidency comes to an end (and how I wish it wouldn't!), I have become convinced that, more than health care or financial reform, the single thing that people will remember him for the most is the revolution in alternative energy that he helped to launch, and grow, in a spectacularly major way.

For most of human history, economic fortunes have been dictated by control of natural resources. This has been especially true in the past hundred years, as technology has expanded exponentially, and the need for energy to support that technology along with it.  This enabled a few nations that benefited from the random chance of sitting atop piles of potential fossil fuels to develop nations that had the seemingly limitless power to hold their own people and other nations hostage at will.

That's not possible in a world dependent on solar, wind, hydrogen, and biofuel power.  When energy can effectively be created anywhere, any nation, people, or even person anywhere has the ability to profit off of its creation, and to create in the process wealth for themselves and for others.  This has the potential to create an economic and political balance of power that the world has never seen.

That's the real take-away from the decline of petro-states.  It may well lead to the decline of dictatorships and the rise of democracy everywhere.  Let's hope so.

Trusting Kyle Smith Is A "Terrible, Terrible" Idea

You may not know who Mr. Smith is, despite the fact that I've written about him a few times.  He's one of Rupert Murdoch's more reliable stooge scribes in the New York Post.  No matter how dishonest an idea or story may be, if there's a right-wing angle that can be gleaned from it, you can always count on Kyle to find it, twist it, and lie about it.

Despite that fact, there are (as is often the case with conservative drivel) unrevealing things about what comes out of the right-wing noise factory.  Such is the case with one of Mr. Smith's more recent columns, in which he expresses all sorts of faux-rage about the prospect of Swedish workers having shorter work weeks.

As if shorter work weeks, translating into more leisure time, wouldn't pay for themselves by stimulating not only the obvious economic sectors (e.g., travel) but even some of the less obvious ones (bookstores, as people have more time and money to read).

Or, to deal more specifically with Mr. Smith's "thoughts" on the subject, as if people in this country are working 100-hour weeks out of a conviction that it will put them on Easy Street, as opposed to a conviction that it's the only way to avoid living in the gutter.

I suspect that what really animates Mr. Smith's "logic" is the real way in which class envy works. Most wealthy people need their wealth not simply to maintain a lifestyle or follow a dream, but simply to feel a superiority to the rest of society that they haven't earned.  And, when society tries to adjust the relationship between toil and reward for the majority, the undeserving minority is filled with irrational hatred and envy.

Write a column about that, Mr. Smith.  It might actually be worth reading; G-d knows Mr. Murdoch could educate you on the subject of the undeserving rich.  But, of course, that wouldn't benefit him. So don't worry; I'm not holding my breath.

Is There Such A Thing As A "Responsible" Gun Owner?

I've written as much about guns, I think, as I have about any other topic.  (Case in point.)  Maybe it's because, like taxes (another topic I've written about frequently), guns in our society just feel, at this point, like an awful inevitability.  And, hand in hand with their presence, the violence that almost inevitably erupts from their presence.

We are told, of course, by the National Rifle Association and its fellow-travellers in the so-called "gun rights" movement that the presence of guns is no cause for alarm, because of the ownership of guns by "good guys"--i.e., the so-called "responsible" gun owners who scrupulously follow safety procedures with regard to the handling and storage of their lethal toys.

But the good-guy myth is just that--a concept that exists rhetorically only.  Just ask Elizabeth Holtzman, a great progressive politician whose political career was cut tragically short by a three-way Senate race in 1980 that gave New York and an unlucky national Alphonse D'Amato, a man who could not be bought (just rented by the hour).  Jeez, wasn't Reagan bad enough that year?

But I digress.  Take a look at the statistics she provides on gun violence in this New York Daily News article, and tell me if you still belief in the good-guy-gun-owner myth.

And if the macro-picture doesn't do it for you, take a look at the micro-picture.  And know that this could have been any child, anywhere.  Around the corner.  Or in your home?

And then ask yourself:

Is this a myth I can afford to believe in any longer?

Donald Trump, Climate Hypocrite

Unless you are (and I hope you aren't) part of the just-smart-enough-to-hold-water crowd that thinks Donald Trump is the answer to all of our problems (instead of the other way around), you might wonder why, in typing the headline above, I've bothered to qualify "hypocrite" with the adjective "climate."  Seriously, Donald is such a hypocrite in so many important ways that perhaps any adjective would be superfluous.

Except that climate change is the single biggest problem the human species faces.  It is the one threat that no nation, no people, no single human can afford to ignore.  Left alone, perhaps "imagined" out of our consciousness, it will not leave any of us alone.  It will change our lives in ways that we simply cannot afford.  And, in many cases, it will not save lives.  It will cost them.

Outwardly, Donald doesn't care.  His response when someone brings the issue up?  "Give me a break," he says.  It's a "hoax."

But if you believe, as I do, that actions speak louder than words, please take a look at this.  And tell me how much of a "hoax" you think he thinks it really is.

And then, ask yourself if you can afford to do anything--or not do anything--to stop the awful possibility of his prospective presidency from becoming a reality.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

It's Past Time For A Baltimore-Washington Transit System

As all of us who live in the Maryland-Virginia-District of Columbia area know, the DC Metro system that serves the District and its suburban counties in two states has had a lot of physical problems, as might be expected of any 40-year old.  For someone like me, who remembers when the Metro was a very new-fangled thing (and when the concrete vaulting in the underground stations was cleaner and had fewer cracks), it's hard to believe that much time has passed.  In that time, the system has added new lines while expanding old ones.  In the process, it has fueled (pun intended) astonishing economic growth across the region it serves, helping to transform it into one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, regions in the country.

That said, the system on which so many of us depend is in very serious physical trouble.  Stations, tracks, wires, and access/egress points all are badly in need of basic maintenance, the sort of maintenance this country used to routinely pride itself on as one of the things that made us the envy of the world.  But, as most of us know, we stopped taking pride in that many years ago, about the time that tax cuts for the rich became the latest political "in" craze.  And now, in a nation starved for funds just to keep its roads, bridges and tunnels in shape, the DC Metro system has become the poster child for our infrastructure neglect.

Sadly, this has happened just as a major public transit project, Baltimore's proposed Red Line, was systematically killed by a governor desperate to prove his willingness to cut spending, even if it meant throwing away a billion dollars of federal aid in the process.  Frankly, as someone who believes strongly in the environmental and economic desirability of mass transit, I have not been able to get over this unbelievable insult and injury to Maryland's largest city, at one time the sixth largest city in this country.  In part, that is because I cannot believe how little resistance there has been in response to Larry Hogan's Biggest Mistake; even the presumptive mayor-elect, Catherine Pugh, has signaled that she is not going to push back against this mistake.

And, as a consequence, I have found myself searching the Internet for some sign that maybe, just maybe, there were people like me who gave a damn about this issue.  And, in the course of that searching, I found this.

And, even though it was a map based on the now-dead Red Line, inspiration hit me.

No matter how much emphasis Congressional Republicans put on smarter management as the key to reversing the fortunes of the DC Metro, the reality is that the system will need more money.  Which means federal money, given the fact that Congress controls the budget of the District and almost everything on which it depends.

Why not maximize the impact of that money, and allocate enough to build a truly two-city mass transit system, like the one on the linked map?  Why not, as I suggested in a previous post on the Red Line, use dedicated publicly-controlled solar and wind powered resources to help fund such a system, so as to reduce the need for taxpayer dollars to fund such a project?  Why not create a transit system that would, in any case, generate more taxpayer dollars, by jump-starting the economy at both ends of the bi-city corridor?  And, speaking of that corridor, why not recognize it for what it is:  an economic entity on a scale with the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago metropolitan areas?  Why shouldn't it have a subway system to match?

And why shouldn't we all get behind it?  Right now, when both cities are filled with people starved for access to work?  Let's give them that access.  Let's give them that future.  Let's give all of us a 21st-century mass transit system, or even a late-20th-century system.

And let's get started today.  Before another unnecessary accident happens on the DC Metro.  And before another politician tries to use that accident to further sabotage civilization.

Criminal Conspiracy, Or Fifth Column? You Decide

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Republican Party is either a criminal conspiracy, or a fifth column.  Those are admittedly strong words.  I did not write them lightly, and I do not defend them lightly.  But I felt it necessary to use a separate post to explain why I believe that statement to be true.

First of all, since the words "fifth column" have not been in common usage for a while, I offer a definition from an admittedly humble but, at least in this case, reliable source:  Wikipedia. Basically, it refers to any organized effort to destroy a cause, or even a nation, from within. Ironically, during the 1940s and well into the 1960s, the term "fifth column" was enthusiastically used by conservatives in the United States to describe various segments of American society they didn't like--unions, students, actors, and so on.

You don't hear that from them so much any more.  Maybe that's because, by now, they have been exposed themselves as the ultimate fifth columnists.  Think about that for a second.  Nixon's undermining of negotiations to end the Vietnam War, on the eve of the 1968 election.  Watergate, the scandal that swallowed Nixon's subsequent Presidency.  Reagan's undermining of the return of the Iranian-held hostages, on the eve of the 1980 election.  The Iran-Contra scandal.  And, of course, Bush vs. Gore.  And these are only the highlights of Republican scandal over the past half-century.

Think we can call this a pattern?  I sure do.  Think we can all this breaking the law?  I sure do. Think this undermines the quality and character of our government, and even our civil society, as a consequence.  You bet whatever you want I do.  And you should, too, if you've got an ounce of what Americans used to pride themselves on having a lot of--common sense.

And it's never going to end unless we do something about it.  Take a look at two recent examples.

There can be no more basic function of government than ensuring public safety.  The Republicans have said so, over and over again, for decades and decades.  That's how they justify their military-first approach to foreign policy, and their law-and-order approach to domestic policy.  But, when it comes to deadly diseases, safety be damned--it's just an opportunity to negotiate away other forms of spending they don't like.  And, if public safety has to be held hostage so that they can play political games with Democrats and their supporters, so be it.  Even if that means ignoring one biological threat, Ebola, to do very little in fighting another threat, Zika.  Frankly, they don't care which one kills you first, as long as they can use it to pick up seats in the next election.

And then, there's the rule of law.  Remember the Clinton impeachment trial?  The one that was supposed to be all about the rule of law?  They took the position that perjury in a civil trial was in effect a high crime and misdemeanor against the people of the United States.  They effectively stopped the business of this country for two years, allowing its enemies more time to plot against us, over the constitutional equivalent of jaywalking.  Because nothing, nothing, was more important than the rule of law.

Except, of course, when you can bend the rule of law for your own purposes.  When, for example, a vote that would have advanced LGBT rights surprisingly goes against you, and you re-open the vote for a little last-minute arm-twisting, to get the result you want.  Because getting what you want is far more important than what the people of this country want and need.  Because, as far as you're really concerned, the rule of law isn't a principle, but a partisan club to be laid to rest when it gets in the way of what you want.

Criminal conspiracy, or fifth column?  I think they're both, but does it matter?  Either way, this wretched excuse for a political party belongs on the ash heap of history--after it's voted out of office. But that's up to you.

Hillary Needs To Become A "Honey Pot"

I just finished saying my piece to Bernie Sanders' supporters.  Now I've got a few choice words for the woman who has all but stopped him from winning this year's Democratic nomination for President, Hillary Clinton.

First of all, congratulations.  No matter what happens from here on in, you've made history.  And that history caps off a remarkable career of public service, as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. No one can take that away from you, and no one should try.

But don't pick out a color scheme for the Oval Office just yet.

It's bad enough that you'll be facing a Republican nominee who have been given hours upon hours of investigation-free media exposure for whom "journalism" has become synonymous with rubbernecking a traffic accident.  It's bad enough that you've been under the microscope time and time again, without anyone finding any fire behind the smoke generated by what you aptly described the vast right-wing conspiracy.

But, before you can even begin to worry about Donald Trump or a hostile media, you've got something much more basic to worry about:  your own party.

We are not in the 1990s, Madame Secretary, and have not been for a while.  We no longer exist in a political environment where centrism, even assuming that centrism is an easily definable thing, can cut it, politically or otherwise.  That is in no small part due to many changes at the federal level during that mixed bag of a decade, changes that had the effect of undoing much of what had been accomplished by the New Deal.  Those changes had the effect of pushing us back toward the economic state of the late 1800s and the early part of the last century.  Economic imperialism is alive and well as a result, and any road to the center must consequently extend from the left.

And centrism, in any case, requires two sides to compromise.  Where are the compromises from the Republicans who have controlled the last three Congresses?  Where are their alternatives to health care reform, to fighting climate change, to fighting terrorist threats, or to address the needs of stateless immigrants living in our society.  For the love of whatever Higher Power you believe in, where at least are their alternatives for creating jobs?   And, above all, where is the willingness to meet with the other side to resolve each other's differences.  Nowhere.  To these Republicans, it is more important to be a conservative than it is to be an American.

And that is why the Berniecrats are not falling in line behind you, Madame Secretary.  They remember you as part of the Administration that dealt away AFDC and Glass-Steagall, thereby giving poor people no floor to stand on and rich people no ceiling to limit their greed.  They see you, even now, appearing to protect those "accomplishments" by refusing to listen to them about income inequality and too-big-to-fail banks.  They remember your willingness to accept speaker's fees from at least one of those banks, and wonder why you won't tell us what you told them.

All of that has to change, as of right now.  A recent New York Times article suggests that you may be able to win Berniecrats over to your cause--or, at least, enough of them to win--if you offer them the political equivalent of honey.  I have two suggestions for doing just that, and they revolve around two people:  Elizabeth Warren, and your husband, the 42nd President.

I'll begin with Bill first.  None of us should ever forget the fact that the W-Cheney fiasco might never have been possible without your husband's extra-marital extracurricular activities.  I don't like to bring up a painful subject, but how can I help bringing up something that no one has forgotten? Trump has made it clear that he has no intention of letting anyone forget it.  And, in any case, no one has forgotten Bill's willingness to "deal away" key parts of the New Deal.  That's why Berniecrats and folks like me cringe when you talk about putting him "in charge" of the economy.

Forget that idea.  Let him adopt a cause as First Husband, and focus on promoting that.  And, instead, put someone in charge of the economy who really understands it, and who also should be your running mate:  Elizabeth Warren.  She understands that a successful economy depends on everyone, and must reward everyone.  She understands that trickle-down economics is really gusher-up for the investing class.  She understands that wealth or the lack of it does not equate to virtue, and that government should be an umpire to enforce the rules for everyone.

Make her your vice presidential candidate, and she will become your Vice President, as well as making you President in the process.  Put her in charge of measures to reign in Wall Street and pump up Main Street.  And, most of all, admit that not all of your husband's ideas were good ones, and that some of them need to be replaced with better ones.  Do these things, Madame Secretary, and you just might be in the Oval Office after all, with at least some of the Berniecrats rallying to your cause.

Take a look at what Michelle Goldberg of Slate has to say about both your husband and Warren. Please.  And don't waste any more time.  Get out the honey, and get it out now  Before Bernie's bees decide to stay in the hive on Election Day.

The Majority Isn't The Majority If It Doesn't Show Up

For the voting, that is.

I'm saying that now because, despite a spate of recent victories in the delegate hunt, and in part because of depleted funds in the pursuit of those victories, it appears that at some point, and certainly no later than the Democratic convention in July, Bernie Sanders is going to be forced to concede the Democratic Party presidential nomination for 2016 to Hillary Clinton.  Sanders seems, at this point, to be in no mood to make that concession, and his followers likewise are in no mood for him to make it, both arguing that their cause goes beyond the nomination itself and toward the building of a progressive movement that can effect lasting political change in this country.

That's all well and good.  But I have a pair of relevant questions, for both Senator Sanders and for his followers:



Those were the mid-term years of the Obama Administration that so many of your worked and spent your tails and credit cards off for in 2008 and 2012.  Those were the years that could easily have made the difference in making a great presidency an even greater one.  Those were the years that could have ensured the enactment of cap-and-trade legislation, and comprehensive immigration reform.  Those were the years that could have helped to undo ruinous Supreme Court decisions against voting rights and campaign finance reform.  And, speaking of the Supreme Court, those were also the years that could have helped to ensure a progressive federal judiciary at all levels of the court process for a generation to come.

Didn't happen.  Because you didn't show up.  You expected Obama to do it all, to somehow audaciously turn on his hopeful charm, and make all things bright and beautiful without the energy and voices of those who formed presidential majorities twice.  You forgot that we live in a system of divided power, designed to thwart major changes without approval of those changes across three branches of government.  Worst of all, perhaps, you forgot the most important lesson of the eight years immediately prior to Obama's arrival in the Oval Office:


I'll have more to say about this point in a subsequent post.  For the moment, I think it's enough to support it to remind the reader that the previous Administration used a national tragedy to lie us into an unnecessary war for which we are still paying the price--not only in lives and dollars, but in the complete destabilization of the Middle East (thanks, ISIS) for decades to come.

Please don't sit there and pretend your hands are clean.  You might as well have voted for the Tea Party.  You might as well have voted to put the future of the nation into the power-grabbing hands of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell  You might as well have helped launch the political career of Donald Trump, the founding father of the "birther movement."

Instead, try to imagine how different it might have been if you had shown up.  And how essential it is for you to show up.  And how you can make up for it this year.  Because you are the majority.  But only if you honor the sacrifices that have been made for your right to vote by actually voting.

If you don't like Hillary, I understand.  I'm not thrilled about her either.  But the lesser of two evils is still less evil, and still stands in the way of the greater evil.  And, even if you don't want to be part of helping women break the ultimate glass ceiling, show up anyway, and vote for Democrats, third-party candidates, and ballot initiatives that support progressive causes.  Don't let those people and causes suffer because of a fixation on the presidential race:  that's how we got into this mess in the first place!

Please prove you are the majority.  Please put the best interest of the nation ahead of your legitimate and justifiable disappointment in the outcome of the nomination process.  That process, in and of itself, badly needs reform to make it more sensitive to the will of the people.  But the best way to ensure that the process becomes sensitive to the people is for the people to show up in the first place!

So please show up.  The nation needs you.  It doesn't need Donald Trump.  It doesn't need the Tea Party, which is pretty much all that's left of the GOP.  And it doesn't deserve either one.

It deserves the majority.  Please help make sure the majority shows up, this year and every election year from now on.