It’s a question well worth asking.
Especially now, we must be bold enough to ask this in the face of the current administration.
Whether we have been in Australia for decades or just months, we look at the United States in disbelief at the depths to which the current administration continually takes our country.
It isn’t just one man, but a segment of our national character that has brought out the worst.
If we dare to contemplate it, this is indeed not just the actions of one individual. Not only does the current administration need to change, but does something much more within our culture.
When we contemplate this, we realise: we are not just resisting Trump, but resisting Trumpism.
When we resist Trumpism, something changes. The conversation, the dynamic, the focus the subject matter of what are we are truly up against. This forces us to have a look at the long ascendancy of attacks on equality and justice throughout the United States.
We wake up to the unfortunate fact that there is a history of division in our country, one which we continually strive to change.
Thus to truly resist Trump, we must focus on the factors which allow the politics of division to flourish.
We know that we are inclusive in our organisation, we firmly hold that no one should be disadvantaged in any way because of their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion. However, the problems facing America now cut across the definitions of identity politics.
So when we talk of the politics of division, we must also focus on the structural issues facing America.
This in fact evolves our definition of what it means to be political. Politics is everywhere, touches every aspect of our lives, every action is a political one. This is not to reduce life’s complexity to the level of partisanship, no, absolutely not.
This means that we need a sense of community and belonging that have not been part of our narrative. We need to inject this awareness and practice into the political sphere.
We need a new political discourse that does not divide on the level of identity politics and does not cower behind ideology.
What is needed is a real empathetic space where political issues can be debated, where leaning in is the default when seeing disagreement. It is holding the politics of division and allowing an accountable discourse to occur where the result is inclusion rather than exclusion.
We will have disagreements, from within our own party at times, but we cannot avoid or nullify our difference through avoiding debate on real issues facing us. What we need to learn is the tools of compassion to hold disagreement while still ardently seeking reform and unity.
It is only in this space that Trumpism will be defeated. Simultaneously, we must face difficult decisions of how our structural politics has not benefited those most vulnerable and in need. Our middle class has all but disappeared, the “working poor” is a reality and many Americans suffer the effects of staggering inequality.
The stories are countless: single mothers working two full time jobs to make ends meet, a generation of tradespeople seeing their careers evaporate or exported overseas without a system of job-retraining, students facing insecure working environment with escalating student debt and many many Americans are suffering financially due to exorbitant healthcare costs.
When the “economy” is discussed on the news, when do we hear about the effects on normal Americans? What is their life like? Where are their stories?
As Martin Luther King Jr said: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and although some of us may be in relative positions of privilege, that does not mean we avoid the threat facing America and so many of its residents.
We cannot snap our fingers and to make all of this end. We must be aware that this trend has continued for some time and is getting worse.
We will not be able to achieve equality immediately, that is real.
However, that does not mean we should limit our aspirations, settle for mediocrity, nor defer our ambitions.
We of course need to be realistic but we cannot accept anything less than the intention to make our home the best it can be and truly hold up to the “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” principle we hold as sacrosanct.
This midterm election year will be crucial in our efforts to this end.
As we assertively continue with our Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in Democrats Abroad Australia, we also find unity in our local meetings that bring people together for a sense of community.
As we call Australia home, we desire what is best for our friends and family back home.
Through our intention and our actions, is how we will create the America we want.
Democrats Abroad Australia, National Chair