For progressives in this country, the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States came as more than a shock; it created a surreal social and cultural environment that still seems to pervade every waking media hour, especially on the East and West coast of the country, which mostly voted for Hillary Clinton. It represents even more of an event unable to explain in our so-called “democracy,” when the final vote was tallied as Trump won the electoral college vote 306 to 232, but lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes (46% vs 48.1%).
Trump decried both the party nomination and election process as “rigged” as he outlasted at least a thousand Republican presidential candidates, and alienated just about every ethnic, social, racial, gender, and religious group in the country, even speaking ill of John McCain as a Vietman war hero – and he still won the election.
As Donald J. worked himself up for a trade war with China, an arms race with anyone, a wall to separate the U.S. and Mexico, a massive deportation of immigrants in the U.S., he continually berated women and offended our country’s entire Hispanic population – and he still won the election.
Following on the heels of the election results, Donald J. immediately made numerous cabinet appointments (so far, his cabinet’s net worth is about $10 billion), and let us in on his every waking thought by constantly providing us with his manly tweets. Of course, many of his “ideas” include privatizing the Veterans Administration, Air Traffic Controllers, Federal prisons, and deconstructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Affordable Care Act, the IRS, Health & Welfare, Medicare and God knows what else. He will have over 100 federal judicial appointments, including an all-important Supreme Court Justice providing a majority conservative court. He has also done his best to continue to flood the D.C. swamp with more Goldman Sachs appointments.
Closer to home for our profession, he has also selected an SEC chair who represents corporate management and will have a majority of Republicans controlling the SEC. No doubt, he and his colleagues will huddle to determine when they can amend the SEC Rules to limit or prohibit shareholders from introducing shareholder proposals to improve corporate governance or raise issues of climate change, sustainability, human and labor rights, or other resolutions to disclose or mitigate egregious corporate conduct and social injury.
Trump’s tweeted platform also includes “tax reform”, which closely resembles Speaker Ryan’s ideas related to lowering taxes for the corporation and the wealthy (which are pretty much both the same “people”, thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision). He recently topped his tweets off with a pledge to compete with any country in a nuclear arms race which sent a chill down progressives’ collect spine. It will be a button he has access to, and one which shouldn’t even be discussed, much less encouraged by a tweet.
Instead of leaving the country or burying ourselves in the backyard, most of us will work together with like-minded souls and progressive organizations to resist Donald J.’s lust for simplicity, racial purity, and self-destruction and continue to support progressive small businesses, labor and non-profit organizations, social justice groups and civil rights advocates.
As part of the socially responsible investment (SRI) community, Harrington Investments, will continue to introduce shareholder proposals and support colleagues in advocating for corporate governance reform, but probably more important, fight for advances on climate change, environmental sustainability, human, labor, and indigenous peoples’ rights, food security, and health and safety.
We have already filed and co-filed shareholder resolutions on these issues, and many, if not most have been challenged at the SEC by corporate management.
While we have all gone through shock, anger, disbelief, depression, a longing for Dick Nixon and George W, most of us have regained consciousness determined to continue our long struggle for political sanity, democracy, civil rights and constitutional law. I must admit that my first thoughts were fatalist options: moving to Canada or somewhere in South America, digging a bomb shelter, giving up bocce for the shooting range, building an ark, or perhaps a combination of all four. After about five minutes, I decided to stay in our beautiful country (one that is already great, and one in which reside, some of the most generous, hard-working, kind and thoughtful people in the world).
I and my family decided to stay, to continue to attempt to improve our lives, our neighbors’ lives, and the lives of our countrymen and women, including the rest of the citizens of the world. Now is not the time to escape, not the time to just resist, but to go on the offensive for our future and for the best of times. We survived Nixon, Reagan, and two Bushes. I plan on surviving one Trump.