“The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning.” Albert Camus
The massive Thomas Fire has dominated this entire week. The fire has torched nearly 250,000 acres and caused the death of one firefighter, locals schools have been shuttered, and the streets downtown are mostly empty of people. Local merchants are panicking as they watch the holiday shopping season pass. Those of us whose homes are not in danger have dealt with falling ash and unhealthy air quality, and, depending on where in the city one lives, the rumble overhead of helicopters on their way to make water drops. I haven’t left the house without an N95 mask for almost ten days. My 16-year-old daughter is going stir crazy. As of this morning, the Thomas Fire was 30 percent contained, but unless the winds remain quiet and we get some humidity the fire could burn several more weeks. Naturally, there’s no rain in the forecast.
On the political front, the odious Roy Moore did not win election to Alabama’s vacant senate seat; voters repudiated Moore, Trump, and Steve Bannon. Democrats are jubilant but what the party doesn’t seem to grasp is that simply being opposed to Trump isn’t enough for 2018 or beyond. Despite being a complete moron and a first-class creep, Moore lost by a slim margin. After nearly a year of Trump’s idiocy and incompetence, his lies and vulgarity and cruelty, I still don’t know what or who the Democratic Party stands for; working people or Wall Street, war or peace, social justice or austerity, prisons or education, resource extractors or the environment?
The GOP tax rip-off slithers toward Trump’s desk. The Trump FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules, yet another holiday gift for corporate America, despite opposition from millions of Americans, proving once again, as if more proof were needed, that this country is a democracy in name only. Although, I can’t help but think that this is the last desperate gasp of the insane Republicans -- they are like a pack of looters after a natural disaster, racing to grab as much stuff as they can before the authorities arrive, but they are also planting the seeds of a reckoning. The majority of Americans are better than Donald J. Trump and the cold-hearted GOP. In Trump and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, plus a host of others, the dark underbelly of America has been exposed in all its ugliness, greed and cruelty; for now the dark side holds sway, but beware stirring the masses.
And if the masses can be stirred by a set of basic ideas like living wages for workers, education not prisons, crime and reasonable punishment, a complete re-think of America’s legitimate security and military needs, an end to fouling the earth, water and air for private profit, and the humane notion that no person should go hungry, homeless and without access to medical care, and that no elderly citizen should die destitute, then a lot that is good for people is possible, because the majority of Americans are the opposite of Donald J. Trump and his followers.