The fundamental problem with America First is that it puts America last. The very thing that makes America special is that it is not defined by race, class, or creed. We are not organized around a language; we are not defined by an ethnicity. Being American is a choice, a choice we make every single day. It is a commitment, a commitment we make every single day. And it is, more than anything, a belief—a belief that we are created equal, a belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve a chance at a decent life.
That’s what America is about. And that’s what’s at stake right now.
Look – we probably don’t need to do much to convince you that our President isn’t a good one. You’re probably a San Franciscan, you probably voted for Hillary, and you probably share lots of angry articles about our reality show government on Facebook.
We get that. Really.
But what we need to convince you of—what we need you to understand, on a deep and fundamental level, so deeply it sinks into your bone marrow, is that everything we hold dear is at stake.
We’re not kidding. We’re not exaggerating. This is the whole ballgame, folks. Put aside the Twitter rants, the thicket of corruption and scandal, and take a look at what he has done and plans to do.
He’s chosen folks to lead agencies responsible for protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink who don’t think we should be doing that. He’s taken a look at the protections and safeguards we crafted after the Great Recession to keep the crooks and scammers out—and decided to rip off the locks and fling open the gates. He’s decided that the remedy for our nation’s racial tensions is the appointment of man who was too racist to be a judge in the eighties.
Everything that we hold dear—a clean environment, racial, sexual, gender, and economic justice, literally every single progressive value you can name—is under siege.
We are at war, ladies and gentlemen. We can win this—the legal victories in the courts of Washington state and the protests in the halls of San Francisco Airport prove that—but it’s going to take everything we’ve got.
It’s going to take all of us, pulling together, in one direction—united.
Don’t get us wrong—this is not a call to paper over our differences. Debates over the right mix of housing literally determine who gets to live here; arguments over transportation literally determine how much time we get home to our families. These are important questions, and we should have answers. It would be an abdication for us not to try.
But it would be even more reckless for us to let such differences consume us. In a time like this our minds are inevitably drawn to history. We think of the dark chapters of the Spanish Civil War, the prologue to Hitler’s conflagration. We think of the fractured and messy coalitions that banded together to fight for democracy; from the American Abraham Lincoln Brigades, who bled and died so that a people an ocean away could enjoy the freedoms their namesake had fought to hard to preserve, to the anarchist Iron Column, who fought alongside vastly competing visions of society to protect something more fundamental. The tragedy of the Spanish Civil War was that this coalition failed—it fought, it bickered, and it squabbled, while the fascists marched in lockstep, grinding out the opposition. It was only after fascism had grown to a world changing scale that the diverse world views opposing them—from FDR’s American liberalism to Stalin’s Soviet communism—were finally able to set aside their differences long enough to collectively punch Nazism in the face.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not there yet. We’re not even close. Trump is more likely to end a corrupt but Berlusconi rather than a fascist Mussolini. But the threat is there, and it’s very real.
The time to act is now.
It’s time to be focused. It’s time to be serious.
It’s time to be United Democrats.