I live in a single room, in a downscale neighbourhoood. I sleep on some pads on the floor. I am in debt, and I have a couple serious health problems.
I am also happy most of the time.
I’ll be sitting in my garret and thinking, “God, life is amazing. This is wonderful.”
And I’ll laugh and mock myself, “What’s good about this? You’re poor, sick, overweight, and broke.”
All that is true, but I’m happy (and my health is improving, no worries, I don’t expect to die soon, though who knows).
So I’m going to give some unsolicited advice on how to be happy even though your life sucks, because, well, I’m pretty good at it.
The first step is to not be unhappy.
(Insert head smacking motion from readers.)
Seriously, though, start there. Or, as I like to say: “The whole of the path is not giving a fuck.”
Run out of fucks. Do not restock. Life will seem a lot better.
Start with not giving a fuck about how other people you don’t know are doing. Just stop. You’ve been happy many times in your life, and while you were happy, nasty people in the Congo were gang raping men and women, people were dying of starvation, people were being tortured. It was fucking horrible.
There are always people who are suffering; suffering unbelievably. Agony one can hopefully only imagine; shame, terror that rises to the level of insanity. There are people in the burn wards of the hospitals where you live begging for death, praying for it earnestly. (I’ve been there, though not with burns, thank God.)
You’ve been happy, really happy, while all these horrid things were going on. You didn’t give a fuck then, don’t give a fuck now. When you start thinking about how horrible things are for people you don’t know, STOP. Think to yourself “I’m not helping them or me,” and focus on something good.
I recommend imagining a young child you love, and seeing them running into your arms. Failing that a puppy. Stand up, open your arms wide, and imagine what it feels like. If you’re imagining a puppy, imagine yourself kneeling and it licking your face.
Or find something else, but do it. Every time you feel miserable for people you don’t know, redirect.
Next, do this for your future self. There’s a future you fear: Perhaps you’re afraid of losing your job or of Trump becoming Hitler and cackling wildly as the ovens roar, perhaps you’re afraid of something else.
STOP. Whatever it is hasn’t happened yet, and it may not happen at all. As Twain quipped, he was an old man who had known many bad times, but most of them never happened.
Even if they are sure to happen, they aren’t happening now. Why are you wrecking today over something which isn’t happening now?
Redirect. Or learn not to care. A couple summers ago I was very poor and I thought there was a good chance I’d wind up on the street. Given my health, that would be a death sentence, and not a pretty one. I looked it square in the face, just sat with it, and asked myself, “Is there anything I could do to stop this which I am not doing which I am willing to do?” The answer was no.
I sat with it, I decided I didn’t care, and from that day to today I haven’t worried about it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything about it, I have. But I haven’t sat there torturing myself with visions of it; nor have I tormented myself with all the things I might do which, frankly, I’m not going to do.
People spend vast amounts of time wishing they would do what they won’t do and feeling guilty that they aren’t paragons of hard work and virtue and blah, blah, blah. You are who you are, and while you can change that, it will change slowly. So stop beating yourself up over who you are, because mostly you don’t control it.
And that’s the next step: Just stop caring that you aren’t everything you think you should be, that you aren’t who you wanted to be when you were 20, and so on. A little introspection is useful here. Watch your thoughts, experiment with controlling them, experiment with controlling your actions. Or just remember the last time you tried to change yourself and failed. And the time before that. And the time before that.
Right. If you were really in charge, if you could easily change yourself, you would have already done so. You haven’t, and you aren’t. So stop beating yourself up, you (mostly) aren’t to blame for who you are, and you sure as hell can’t change what you’ve done in the past. Don’t do regret.
Now, let’s say you’re suffering now. Right now. Sit down, lie down, stand, go for a walk, and just look at whatever it is. Dive right into the pain, observe it, feel it, watch it. Just let it be. After a while (and a while may be weeks of doing this), you’ll find that you just don’t much care. The pain doesn’t go away, but most of the suffering does. And, one day, if it’s the sort of pain which is self-inflicted through thoughts, well, that may go away, because you aren’t reinforcing it.
As you do all of this, you will suffer less and less, and you will be happy more and more. Your energy will recover, and you will then be able to make changes. I will suggest that making changes mainly means changing habits, and that changing habits (which includes what you habitually think about) is mostly about doing what comes easily. Make it easier for yourself. If you want to exercise, start by doing one minute. One minute. Increase it as you feel like. Do most things this way: Start easy and ramp up.
On the positive side, do what you enjoy and look particularly for those things which feel good not just when you do them, but afterwards.
Stop making heroic efforts and using willpower. Instead, relax, and do what you like doing.
There will be a time for pushing out of your comfort zone, yes, but first, make your life basically decent. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it unless you must, and make must a small list: Do you need the money? Is someone going to hurt you if you don’t do it?
If your life includes doing things you hate which you can’t avoid because you need to eat or someone will hurt you, or a dependent needs to eat, that is what you need to spend any energy you have on changing.
Get it out of your life, or learn not to give a shit. Is your coworker or boss an asshole, but not an asshole who is actually physically harming you or threatening you? Mentally tune out their bullshit.
The whole of the path may be not giving a fuck, but sometimes there are things you don’t have the detachment to wave away, at least right now. Those are the things which should be removed from your life.
As you stop the bad thoughts, as you stop worrying about the future and regretting the past, as you stop self-harming by doing what you hate or by locking yourself in situations you despise, you will find something very surprising: Humans are naturally happy.
You almost certainly don’t believe that, but it’s true. Get rid of the shit, relax, and you will find that you are happy most of the time, that it takes very little to make you happy. A simple meal makes me happy. I listen to music and I smile. I hear a bus’s brakes squeal and I am happy because I don’t have to walk. It’s insane, really, how little it takes.
Humans are made to be happy most of the time. They have to learn how to be unhappy. Stop being unhappy, and the upside will probably take care of itself.
Unhappiness isn’t a choice: You didn’t really make it. It’s not your fault. You fell into it due to the circumstances of your life and your history. Nor can you choose, by an act of will, to stop being unhappy. But you can, over time, learn not to be unhappy, to not dwell on the bad, and to let your natural happy nature take the fore.
Imagine that puppy licking your face, and when bad shit happens redirect. If you can’t redirect, simply sit with the badness, not judging it, till it loses its power. And refuse to let other people’s unhappiness make you unhappy, except as required by immediate circumstances. If your friend is sick, commiserate and feel bad for a bit, but don’t take that with you, and never let the suffering of complete strangers or imagined futures wreck you.
The whole of the path is not giving a fuck. Run out of fucks and don’t restock, and the sun will rise again and light your world up in a way it may not have been lit since you were a child.
Human nature is happy. Clear the detritus out, and it will bloom.
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The first rule of creating and maintaining a good world, or a good society, is living in something approximating the truth. If you are delusional, you cannot make good decisions.
The second rule is that your ethical system must, if applied, create a good world.
This is harder than it seems. Ostensibly, we all agree that murder is bad, theft is bad, fraud is bad, and so on. We say that every human life has value and that all humans were created equal. We say that all life has value.
But in our actual actions we prove that we believe none of these things. We excuse mass murder by our own countries. We prioritize the deaths of people not like us over people like us–generally at very high ratios. We place human life over animal life, to the point where we are genociding multiple species every day. We prioritize property over human life more often than not, refusing to spend small amounts of money that would; easily save lives. We have enough food to feed everyone but don’t. We have enough industrial capacity to give everyone a decent life, but don’t.
We have known for decades that we were killing off animal species and did far too little. We have known about climate change for decades and done essentially nothing.
Our ethics are monstrous. They have led to a great die-off of other animals. They currently cause the death and suffering of hundreds of millions of humans who need do neither.
Until we value everyone’s life, and until we value the life of other animals at least to the point where we aren’t genociding them, we will not and cannot have a good world overall.
It is often said, by the supporters of the current regime, that things have never been so good, but I don’t believe the statistics. Even if they were true, it would not matter, because the reality they describe is not sustainable. If I know I’m doing something which makes me comfortable today but will lead to mass death tomorrow, that isn’t ethical, and that’s what we are doing.
We can have that good world when a Somali’s life matters as much as an American’s and when a both a billionaire and a poor person receive quality health care. We can have a good world when the possibility of a species extinction is considered, and treated as an emergency. We can have a good life when we look at the human footprint in the world and we don’t allow it to destroy multiple other species. We can have a good world when we make sure everyone gets fed, everyone has a decent set of material goods, and everyone is free to do more or less as they choose, so long as their actions are less harmful than the good they do, and don’t lead to the forseeable and preventable suffering and death of others.
It is insane that we are worried about AI and robotics, for example: The idea that machines might be able to do the work that humans do should fill us with joy. It’s insane that we cannot imagine a world in which humans do not have to do mostly meaningless drudge work to survive. That we cannot figure out how to distribute resources to people without making them spend the better part of their waking adult lives doing shit they’d rather not do. (If you’d win the lottery and keep your job, congrats, you are the exception. Most people would not.)
The right thing to do is generally the right thing to do. It is the great tragedy of the human race that we don’t believe that being kind and not hurting other people (or preventing suffering and enabling people to do what they will so they hurt none, and not being mass murderers of other species) is in our self-interest.
It is precisely in our self interest–it is the only way we will ever create a world that is really good to live in for the vast majority of the world’s residents.
The great task, I would suggest, is not “opposing Trump” (though that’s certainly a good thing, as was opposing Obama’s shitty policies, or Bush’s, or Clinton’s) but in trying to figure out a social system that aligns with ethics.
This is where the critics will cry about how human nature is incompatible with doing the right thing.
Perhaps that is so, though I do not believe it. But if it is so, Earth will remain hell for far too many, and we are in some danger of wiping ourselves out, along with all our victims in the non-human world.
But perhaps it is not so, and just as we could not fly until recently, we simply haven’t figured out yet how to be good at scale. And perhaps we should treat this problem as the most important problem in our society, because everything else which seems important from climate change, to war, to Trump, to fascism, is simply a manifestation of the fact that we suck at being ethical; at being kind.
All lives have value. Everyone’s suffering matters. Everyone should have a good life. These are prescriptive statements: statements that to be true, we have to make true. They are truths that will never be absolute, we will never reach 100 percent. But we can get far closer than we are today, and it is on us, as a species, if we do not.
It is a choice. Good and evil are a choice. And the first step towards evil is to say, “The pain of people like me matters more than the pain of people who are not like me.”
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Because this is 100 percent true.
One of the great problems of the campaign and into the Trump administration is liberals and the media accusing Trump of lying. He lies a lot, yes, but he tells truths that no one else is willing to say, and he has, so far, kept his high profile promises.
Normal politicians tell the truth about the things Trump lies about, but those things are less important than the truths Trump tells and the promises he keeps that normal politicians break (for example, Obama saying he’d re-negotiate NAFTA).
For the fools, this doesn’t mean that Trump will keep his most important promise: the ur-promise of prosperity for the forgotten Americans. Of course, Obama didn’t keep his ur-promise either, which was of a fundamental change in how DC did business and how the country was run. Rather the contrary, Obama institutionalized George Bush’s abuses, leaving those powers in place for use by Trump.
But Trump won because he told truths other people wouldn’t tell. As for the “approval ratings,” they are largely meaningless because about 90 percent of Republicans still back Trump. The people who are unhappy with Trump (indeed, who hate him), are people he didn’t win and doesn’t need right now. Of course they hate him, the Democrats spent the the entire election telling them that Trump was Hitler reborn.
When the “decent” people like Obama, Clinton, and Bush (who liberals are now saying was actually pretty good) don’t do the right thing, and lie about what matters most, they open an opportunity for demagogues. Now they have one and they squeal, but he was earned by their actions and words.
The ban of Muslims from seven countries, currently stayed, is something I think was a bad idea and which has hurt people. However, it was not more evil, say, than what the US did to Libya under Obama, which occasioned far less outcry. Not by any reasonable standard: a lot less people are dying because of it, or getting raped because of it, or losing their homes and livelihood because of it. Almost certainly, Trump will do truly horrible things yet, but this wasn’t truly horrible. What it was was a strike at something liberals care about greatly, an emotive issue for them: The right for some people to move freely between countries. (Notice no similar outcry for the 2.4+ million deportations by Obama.)
All of this makes liberals look, to people who supported Trump, like raving hypocritical hysterics, crying about flesh wounds when they didn’t care about broken bones when Obama was in charge.
And so it goes. Trump’s a bad man, he’s done and will do bad things, but the reaction so far has been vastly out of scale to anything he’s actually done.
And yeah, the US isn’t exactly some bastion of purity and non-violence. Strange that the President who said that had to be Trump, because we all know it is true.
A little less pearl-clutching, please.
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(This is a quick hit from MANDOS. Just so you know.)
Australia’s PM just had a little pity party about Donald Trump allegedly yelling at him about the refugee deal. Well, Trump’s tweet on the matter is, taken literally, true, except the part about them being illegal immigrants.
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
The truth is that Australia bought a country in order to use it as a torture camp for people who have mostly been declared real refugees. These are people who are fully the responsibility of Australia, and Australia is only using extra-territoriality as a fig leaf to use them in its political drama. That Trump is very likely to be unsympathetic to the refugees doesn’t mean that the Australian PM didn’t deserve it.
For the sake of the victims of Australia’s policy, I hope the deal eventually survives, and they can get to the US, although some of them will be very damaged by their treatment and may not get the psychological support that Australia morally owes them, along with enormous compensation. They don’t deserve to be used as a prop in the invasion paranoia drama of developed polities. Let me put it like this: If “preserving your civilization” requires the erection of a torture camp, your civilization deserves to have died yesterday. And no, holding refugees prisoner on an island from which they can’t escape to a normal life in a destination country of their own choosing is neither safety nor honouring of the refugee obligation.
I am writing regarding the Federal Reserve’s continued participation in internal forums on financial regulation. Despite the clear Message delivered by President Donal Trump in prioritizing America’s interests in international negotiations, it appears the Federal Reserve continues negotiating international regulatory standards for financial institutions among global bureaucrats in foreign lands without transparency, accountability or the authority to do so.
This is unacceptable.
The secretive structures of these international forums must also be reevaluated. Agreements like the Basel III Accords were negotiated and agreed to by the Federal Reserve with little notice to the American public, and were the result of an opaque decision-making process.
I have exactly zero sympathy for the Federal Reserve. They have spent 40 years sandbagging US wages and pretending that high unemployment was full employment; deliberately fueling the stock market when it would have fallen otherwise, and when elected parts of the government tried to improve the wages of ordinary people beyond what the Fed thought was acceptable, the Fed would undo what they had done.
Trump and Republicans are not the ones I’d want taking on the Fed, but the Democrats refused to do it. Nor do I agree with McHenry on what the Fed has done wrong (higher capital requirements are good), but I do agree that the Fed has repeatedly overstepped itself and needs to be brought to heel. It’s a pity it will be done by these people for these reasons, but c’est la vie.
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Is a simple one.
We produce enough food to feed everyone. We have enough industrial capacity for everyone to have a good life. We can even do this in ways that produce less carbon and pollution than we do now.
Because we could give everyone a decent life, because we have the capability, my dream is just that we do so, and that that be the primary goal of every government on Earth, working together.
It is a utopian goal, but I am tired. Even from rich nations like America, Canada, and Britain, tragic stories keep entering my email box: from sick people, from people without enough money because we distribute money through jobs and there aren’t enough good jobs, from people who are scared and without hope–and who are often right to be without hope: Their lives are bad, and the odds are they aren’t going to get better.
We have the ability to provide a good life to virtually everyone, and we don’t.
I know of no greater indictment of the human species except the mass genocide we are committing of other species, but I know also that we CAN do better.
Whether we will, and if so, when? That I do not know.
The “chaos” of the first two weeks mostly isn’t chaos.
And the internal opposition is welcome to the new administration.
When you intend to have a revolutionary administration, you expect that the bureaucracy (the “Deep State”) will object: They are members of the old regime, that’s what they know and what they like.
So you want them to oppose you openly. You want them to stick their heads up and scream. You want them to block you in ways you can see.
You need to know who isn’t going to “go along to get along” so you can get rid of them. Everyone opposing you is doing you a favor unless they have enough power or are operating in such large numbers that you can’t get rid of them–OR if they are truly irreplaceable and doing something vital.
(Irreplaceable rarely means no one else can do what they do; it means everyone who can do what they do is so ideologically-bound to the previous ideology they won’t work for you.)
But, overall, the idea is to conduct tests to see who’s loyal (jumps to it with enthusiasm), who’s biddable (will do it even if they don’t like it), and who needs to go because they won’t get with the plan.
I would do the same thing if I was running a radically left-wing administration. It is far better to fire them now or give them a powerless desk to fly, than have them keep their heads down and sabotage from within. Plus, high profile scalps are needed to intimidate others (see “Trump and the Art of the Strongman).”
People who really want to oppose Trump and who are in the administration have a stark choice. If they think that high-profile defiance will weaken him enough that he can’t enact his agenda, or will be impeached (to be replaced by Pence, at least as bad in many ways), then so be it. But if they don’t, it might be better to keep their heads down and sabotage from within.
Meanwhile, from where I sit, Bannon and Trump are still outplaying their opponents (which is not to minimize the good the Resistance is doing). Bannon has a plan, and he’s executing it. He’s thought long and hard about what to do and that gives him an advantage.
The current focus on Bannon might bear fruit. He and Kushner are the most competent people Trump listens to, and if a wedge can be driven between them; using Trump’s ego against “President Bannon,” perhaps Bannon’s power can be reduced or he can even be gotten rid of. Kushner, as the son-in-law, is probably not someone who can be peeled off. Bannon might be.
Bottom line: If you are a civil service member who can expect to not be let go soon anyway, you should keep your head down and work from within. If you are going to be let go of anyway (as with the acting Attorney General who defied Trump), you might as well go out with a bang.
I’ll discuss, soon, actual strategy for defeating Trump. General opposition is good, but the current strategy is neither focused nor brutal enough to bear results soon unless Trump blows himself up (not impossible, but not worth counting on–though one should do everything possible to encourage his instability, if one opposes him.)
I note, once again, that defeating Trump is nice, but absent a fix of the general trajectory of the United States, will only kick the ball down the field. Fortunately, there are ways to do both at the same time.
Trump’s ban of travelers from seven Muslim countries spawned a large backlash, showing that “the resistance” is still a thing. I suspect it will continue to be a thing, because Trump is going to do much which enrages people who already believe he is a fascist.
It is little commented on now, but when Bush was ramping up for his invasion of Iraq, millions of people came out against it, world-wide. Most US allies of any significance–apart from Britain–refused to participate. The war went ahead anyway, and in its shadow there was resistance. I was part of that, the Netroots.
The Netroots opposed Bush directly when possible, and it also sought to make the Democratic Party better because we had noticed that enough Democrats (and in many cases almost all) Democrats had signed off on the worst parts of Bush’s regime. Gore, had he been in power, might not have been quite so bad, but the Democrats weren’t really opposing Bush strongly, and some of them were absolutely terrible–straight-up collaborators. Joe Lieberman, for example. (Who was also Obama’s mentor in the Senate.)
It should be clear that the Netroots was pretty organized: We communicated behind the scenes, and often coordinated. We were in constant contact with Democratic Party staffers, and had access to many Democratic Congress members. They saw that we had reach, and, being politicians, they wanted to use that reach. Even people who despised us, like Clinton, came to Netroots.
In 2006, Republicans lost control of the House. The Netroots had helped with that, and we had hopes and expectations.
They were quickly dashed: The House caucus had taken our help, sure, but they had no intention of seriously opposing Bush’s wars or his vast over-reach on civil liberties and executive power.
Then, in 2008, Obama won. He took some of our help, but he didn’t buy it. Unlike the Democrats in 2006, many of whom had pretended to agree with us and had been willing to work with us, Obama did not work with the Netroots. During the entire campaign, the only time he reached out to us was during a period of a few weeks when he was losing to McCain in the polls, and even that was pro-forma.
Obama built his own grassroots organization, and he didn’t go through the blog gatekeepers (there were exceptions, one A-list blog of the time was the favored dumping ground for Obama oppo research). Instead, Obama’s supporters, and very likely operatives, flooded the comments and diaries. Obama got the support of Netroots supporters without having to give anything to the Netroots organizers.
By “give anything,” I mean “policy concessions.” And while there was plenty of petty careerism in the Netroots, that was never the issue. Since 2008, many people who were part of the Netroots at that time have been taken on and given jobs by various organizations associated with the Democrats. The trivial amount of money required to buy out the “alpha activists” wasn’t the question–control was.
Obama was very clear about his contempt for the Netroots. He thought that we didn’t understand how politics worked and how good things happen. He was explicit, you can read it in Obama’s original post at DKos.
So Obama got in power, he bailed out the banks, he fucked over ordinary home-owners, he increased deportations and ramped up drone assassinations. He was far harsher on whistleblowers than Bush had been and he re-signed all the bad bills when the time came, like the Patriot Act and the AUMF, which had given Bush massive executive power and carte-blanche to spy, and assassinate, and go to war.
Obama institutionalized Bush. Oh, he drew back on some things, but he advanced others, and he left the basic power structure in place and the legal structure. Then he went to war with Libya, which while it killed less people than the Iraq war, was the exact same type of war crime as Bush had committed: aggressive war on a non-threatening country. This is what the Nazis were hung for in Nuremburg.
Note that the Democrat-controlled House and Senate of 2009/2010 was no better than Obama, they did not push him to be better.
The Netroots hadn’t quite given up yet. They had one last hurrah in 2010 when they tried to primary Blanche Lincoln. Obama came out strongly in support of her and she won. The Netroots, what was left of it, collapsed (no results, crashing traffic and a cash crunch from other sources).
Six years, later Trump won the election. The apparatus put in place by Bush to allow him to commit his crimes and over-reach was not just still there, it had been extended significantly in terms of whistleblower prosecution, drone assassination, spying on journalists, immigrant incarceration, and surveillance state powers and capabilities.
Trump inherited a more powerfully oppressive system than Obama did, even if Obama had not always used it as oppressively as Bush (though in some cases he had been worse).
There are a couple lessons to learn from this.
The first is that while partisan Democrats may be one’s allies when opposing a Republic president, their opposition is opportunistic and not principled. The second they are in charge, they will support or wave aside the same actions they condemned coming from a Republican. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work with partisan Democrats, it means understand when they’ll stop fighting AND that once they don’t need you, they will regard you as a threat and seek to to eliminate you.
The second is more important: The control of a party matters more than the results of any individual election.
This is where half the readers will disagree, indeed, they will disagree violently and emotionally.
But there’s a reason that the US is where it is: After each over-reach, after each extension of executive powers, to the creation of police state and the waging of war, the Democrats didn’t roll back the worst excesses when they got into power, NOR did they push the lever further to the left. In fact, Clinton had many policies worse than Reagan/Bush (welfare, crime) and Obama had many policies worse than Bush Jr., as has been discussed.
In order to stop the next Trump, not just this one, you must have control of a party to the point that they are forced to roll back the terrible laws and policies of the last 40 years–and not just roll them back, but start pushing the lever even further towards equality, away from oligarchy, and towards civil liberties and widespread prosperity.
If you do not do that, your victory over Trump is temporary. You win against him, but you do not win against what caused him, and what he represents.
The right-wing understands that. The Netroots said “More and better Democrats,” and while it had some successes, it didn’t have enough, because it failed repeatedly at primarying bad actors.
The Tea Party succeeded: They were able to remove enough Republicans they objected so that the ones who remained were scared to cross them. While doing so, they were willing to lose seats, because they understood that Republicans who would not vote for them when the chips were down might as well be Democrats. (This is where the screams about the Supreme Court would be inserted. There is truth to this, but you are now losing it anyway.)
If the Resistance wants to really succeed, to really make the US a better place, it must learn the lesson of those who fought and failed before. If you succeed at getting rid of Trump without changing the trajectory of US economy, foreign policy, and disrespect for civil rights, you have done little more than kick the can down the road.
Changing what Democrats WANT to do, who they want to be, and what sort of country they are actually willing to vote for and work to build, is what matters. Objectively, Obama and Bill Clinton contributed massively to the ills which lead to Trump. That needs to stop. There needs to be a Democratic President who rolls back what has been done, and then moves strongly to the left. Who dismantles the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for tyranny, and who actually reduces inequality and increases prosperity for all Americans in a clear way they can feel.
Failure to achieve that, and, in tandem, to achieve a Congress which would work with such a president and oppose the inevitable future Republican presidents, will equal failure for the Resistance, no matter how many small successes they have, or even if they are able to remove Trump through impeachment or loss in 2020.
Slowing the rate of the downward spiral the US is on is good. Stopping it from getting worse is better. Reversing it and making it better is best and is necessary for long-term success and long-term security against leaders like Trump.