Has ever a president-elect been held in such contempt by such a large portion of the electorate? These feel like dangerous times. Those signs protesting “F**k Trump” and “Not My President”–suddenly it seems not unreasonable to ask: are we becoming one of the many countries whose violence, instability and inability to govern themselves we’ve always felt we were an exception to? Could this, what we’re experiencing right now in the early going of the Trump Era, be the way it did happen here?

For the more than half the electorate who voted against Trump, the post-election uproar comes down to this: will what a majority considers inalienable progress –will our system of government itself–survive on their own the one-man wrecking ball the system has elected ? Or will we, the majority, have to do something?

We’re hearing from the School of Determined Optimism that we should give the man a chance to rule; maybe it won’t turn out so bad. Trump will “pivot to the center.” What has been unofficially (but seriously) diagnosed as his Narcissistic Personality Disorder will be “tempered by the office.” Don’t forget about those old, reliable “checks and balances” we learned about in grade school.

After all, democracy survived Watergate with flying colors, so why wouldn’t it survive Trump?

From Facebook I learned the other day that I can relax: with all that compulsive tweeting, including wild statements calling into question the very votes that elected him, Trump is disintegrating before our eyes and won’t even make it to the inauguration.

On the other hand, those worrisome appointments suggesting that he’s doing exactly what he promised.

Checks and balances? What if all three checking-and-balancing branches are Republican? Trump breezily announces that a president doesn’t have to divest himself of economic conflicts-of-interest and we learn that apparently there’s no law to compel him to do that.

We read in the paper that local school children are already modelling themselves on the racist and misogynist language of this piece-of-work president elect.

Yes, we did make it through Watergate. But at that time there were institutions that worked: strong, respected press, a Supreme Court above petty politics; even a congress which put national values above politics to the extent of agreeing that the president should not be a crook. All of which are arguably lacking now.

So we wait for the next appalling Trump appointment, the next plotted rollback of what we regard as irreversible progress, and, with little hope, for the result of the recounts or the miracle that electors will in this emergency abandon tradition and do their moral duty. We wait and wonder. Will we just have to suffer the decades of future according Trump? Or can we do something about it? And what might that be?

Reform of the Democratic Party is on everyone’s list. The left needs to do to the Democratic Party what the Tea Party did to the GOP, says one friend. But can we wait to take back the country through mid-term and the next p residential elections, or will the damage have already been done?

There’s the planned Million Woman March on DC following the inauguration: will that unprecedented rejection of the newly elected president be just the start of a massive grassroots movement that will dwarf that of the 1960s? (We can almost yearn for a government whose main sin was conducting a bad war.)

Can we count on inspirational leaders such as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren to invite a mass movement to coalesce around them? Will the charismatic Obamas realize that of course any retirement they might have contemplated is out of the question, that they have work to do (and re-do)?

What will happen?

It’s the old rallying slogan of people thinking and experiencing themselves as agents of history-in-the-making: What is to be done?

“Community”: a shallow premise for planning

A few days after the election, 80 or so of the most civic-minded Wellfleetians took time out from anguishing over the Future According to Trump to take up what seems a more manageable topic, the future of our own town. The idea was to crowdsource ideas to be incorporated in the latest update of our […]

AI : thinking about the end of the human era

Don’t look now, but while our attention is being distracted by all the media focus on climate change, there’s a much more ominous threat on the horizon: artificial intelligence ( AI). Unlike climate change, AI is not an unintended consequence of technology but something fellow humans are working hard to bring about. The goal the […]


The 7.4 million dollar re-build of the Wellfleet police station that is about to be rubber-stamped at a Special Town Meeting Tuesday is a quantum leap in police station infrastructure in a town whose population has for 15 years or so plateaued. All indications are that, if anything, the population will not rise in the […]

Capitalism: burning down the house to roast a pig.

Inequality, one of capitalism’s chief products, has become in recent years the elephant in the room. But capitalism is the room itself and tends to be invisible. Largely thanks to Bernie Sanders and the undemonizing of “democratic socialism,” that may be changing. Capitalism reminds me of Charles Lamb’s apocryphal story about the discovery of roast […]

Vote Cyr if you want Pilgrim closed ASAP and decommissioned property.

If you’re undecided between Julian Cyr and Anthony Schiavi, a more-reasonable-than-many- Republicans Republican, compare them on the issue of the closure of Pilgrim. There is no more pressing issue at this time than the need to close the decrepit Pilgrim now, rather than risk two more years of increasing dysfunction. (Not to mention the risk […]


I see from a recent poll that more millennials would rather see an asteroid wipe out the planet than either of the candidates get elected. Seems a little extreme. We hope that’s just the younguns’ way of saying what a lot of us are saying about voting holding our noses. A lot of us can […]


Life was Dylan-flavored in the mid-’60s, at least in the Bay Area where I lived at the time. Everywhere you went, it seemed, there was “Bringing It All Back Home” and then “Highway 66” on the turntable, or their songs on the radio, refusing to conform to the usual 2-3 minute-per-song format of the time. […]


Yet another revelation of a Trump nastiness. Another debate that in an ordinary election would  doom a candidate as certainly as if he had shown up drunk.  How does Trump shoot himself in the foot? Let us count the ways. Is it the complete lack of substance behind the inane bragging that he’s great, that […]


It’s been said before and I’m going to say it again: the presidential election process is a ridiculous, wasteful, abusive–and even repulsive—ordeal for candidates and citizens alike. Probably the most visible part of the pageantry of our democracy, it’s a prolonged, dehumanizing, often humiliating assault on the dignity of those we’d like to be able […]