I know a lot of people were shocked and surprised when Donald Trump won the election. I know I was, but deep down in my gut I knew that it was a possibility. That’s why when folks were yuking it up during the primary season about the hilarity of Donald Trump winning the primary I was hoping that one of the other Republican yahoos, yes even Ted Cruz, would eke it out in the end.
Because we’ve seen a form of this locally and if it can happen in a “progressive” town, it was inevitable that the dog whistle slogan that has some Americans frothing with joy did the same in our own local election.
From the Texas Standard about the inauguration speech:
At Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, he laid out his foreign policy plan for his next four years in office:
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first — America first.”
While this has probably horrified any number of self-styled liberals and progressives who remember and recall the history around the term “America First”, briefly for those who may not know:
It is extremely unfortunate that in his speech Wednesday outlining his foreign policy goals, Donald Trump chose to brand his foreign policy with the noxious slogan “America First,” the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.
Too many people turned a blind eye or simply shrugged when it was used locally:
“Alamedans First” was no less dog whistle-y than “America First” and it’s a slippery slope that we tread when we allow “Alamedans First” to stand unchallenged, as it is when we allow “America First” and its history to be normalized.
In the end we ended up in an election between a super qualified, if flawed candidate who did a very poor job camapaigning and a less qualified populist candidate who was beloved by any one she shared an alcoholic beverage with at some point.
And we’ve seen, in real time locally, the inefficacy of someone who rides into office on a platform of being negative about everything. Ready to attend the opening of every envelope across the island, but uninterested in actually creating any meaningful policy.
We’ve also seen, in real time locally, the leaks from City Hall regarding tantrums when things aren’t going the Mayor’s way. We’ve also seen, in real time locally, the spillover into the public realm of the Mayor’s private grievances spilling over into publicly opposing the City of Alameda’s stated positions on certain issues.
If we, self styled progressives and liberals, are going to resist the national agenda because of the unqualified person that sits in the Presidential chair. We should also be hyper aware of what happens locally, what we normalize locally through our actions or our inaction, and if we don’t like what has happened nationally we should never let it happen locally. No matter how fun or friendly someone seems at Rockwall or Peets.