Only once in a generation

The midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate will be contested. That seems pretty straightforward. Except that it isn’t.

Once in a generation a moment such as this one presents itself, when an election is profoundly consequential, even historic. The question is: will Americans en masse step forward and register their resistance by putting a collective oar into a blue wave and thereby change the course of our democracy?

Let this election be a stunning repudiation of the last two years. Let it be an unequivocal judgment of this administration, one that has redefined what it means to govern. Let us not forget the unconscionable policy known as “zero tolerance,” identified by the separation of migrant children from their desperate parents, the former placed in cages and the latter sent to prison. Let us remember that even though many children have been grudgingly reunited with their parents, at the direction of the courts, some 400 still remain in U.S. government-funded shelters without their parents, two-thirds of whom have been deported. Of that 400, 22 are referred to as “tender age,” meaning younger than 5.

The parents who have been returned to their countries of origin without their children are then asked an unimaginable question by our government, a chilling meme akin to that asked of a mother in the book “Sophie’s Choice,” where a mother, standing in a long concentration camp line with her two children, is told by a sadistic S.S. officer to pick one. The other is placed in a different line.

The question asked of the now deported mother is: Do you want your child sent back to you, to the circumstances that you so desperately tried to escape, or would you rather have them remain in the United States?

There’s more from this government. Consider the scorn directed at our allies at summits in Canada and Belgium, compounded by Trump later sharing the dais with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, deferential to the point of obsequiousness. Recall the images of the president embracing the North Korean thug, Kim Jong Un, leader of a deeply evil government with a gulag of political prisoners, all while calling it diplomacy. Now ask: Are we any safer absent the Iran nuclear deal?

This is a man who defends white nationalists in Charlottesville. A man who is a serial liar, whose private and public lives are appalling, who cavalierly disregards the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Who demonstrates a wide thread of cruelty, marked by vituperative ad hominem attacks via tweets, all amid sustained chaos wherein he appeals to those darkest, disturbingly paranoid, deep state, conspiracy-driven impulses that exist at the farthest edges of our society.

A towering blue wave would be not just a rejection of the man but of a party that is barely recognizable from what it was prior to its Trump-Faustian bargain for tax cuts, truncating regulation, crippling the Affordable Care Act and seating conservative judges on the lower courts as well as the Supreme Court.

The Republicans’ display of Machiavellian power and cynicism has been stunning, all while defending their silence and failure to fulfill their oath of office, an oath taken not to party or to Trump but to our Constitution.

And don’t forget this president’s own silence regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, followed by his unrelenting obstruction of justice regarding the Special counsel’s investigation (called repeatedly a “hoax” or “witch hunt”). We cannot wait for Robert Mueller to submit the results of his investigation, which will likely not be concluded until well past the midterm election.

We as a people must make our voices heard in some 60 days, loudly and clearly, absent the need to parse its meaning. It must be a blue tsunami, a declarative vote of no confidence in this president and his party and a resounding call for a check on this man who has been judged to be manifestly unfit to serve as our president.

Chris Honoré is a Daily Tidings columnist.

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