So the WAMC fund drive is over.
This time it took just nineteen hours to get it done and to put it to bed. The Berkshires sure did their part. There were moments when I was reading all the names of contributors on the air and I just couldn't keep up. It started a few weeks before the fund drive with our invitation to shorten the drive by putting money in the Locked Box. It was amazing how fast that money came in.
Our last effort four months ago took just one day of on-air fund raising. Frankly, I never thought that I would live to see it. So what happened? Well, it was Donald Trump. People are scared, really scared. They are shocked that a man who lost the popular vote by over three million votes but won in a seriously flawed electoral college would savagely attack our health care system, punishing those who could least afford to pay.
Then he went after the environment, appointing a man who is perceived as a "climate denier" to head the Environmental Protection Administration. When Trump shocked the world community by pulling out of the Paris Accords, many of us shook our heads and wondered how a seventy year old man with grandchildren could endanger the world to satisfy his base, including the coal industry that would certainly increase pollution levels in this country. Nor did it stop with the environment.
There was the strange case of the FBI director, James Comey. Clearly he was fired because of, as Trump himself uttered, "The Russian Thing." In fact, he is reported to have told the Russian Ambassador that by firing Comey, he took the pressure off the Russian investigation.
I recently interviewed Yale Professor Timothy Snyder, one of the world's outstanding historians who has written a new book, "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century." He makes a very convincing case that we are courting disaster of the kind that has faced every democracy that has been turned into a dictatorship. Professor Snyder makes the case that it is up to the people to make sure that this evolution into dictatorship doesn't happen.
Remember that this President said before the election that the contest would be rigged. That in itself was disgraceful since he won. As I have watched his popularity numbers sink lower and lower, I am afraid. If they continue to sink, which I assume they will, by the time the next election comes around, he is likely to pull the same stunt and claim that the next election will be rigged. He could then argue that we postpone the election on some pretext.
The whole Russian connection is incredibly scary. Little by little, we are learning of the Trump administration’s connections to the Russian government and oligarchs. Favors are being granted to the Trump family. Since he won't release his tax returns, it will be tough to see what his connections to the Russians may have been. At least one of his children is quoted as saying that the Russians have been loaning money to the Trumps to finance some of their projects. Of course, the son took it back when it became big news.
In our towns, villages and cities we read reports of ICE agents rounding up honest men and women who have lived and worked here for years and expelling them from the country. These are people who we all know and respect for their hardworking contributions to our local economy. Then too, there was the attack on the press as Trump tweeted that they were the enemy of the people.
So, when we started the last two fund drives at WAMC, it was no surprise that people were scared and that they would support a station that would speak truth to power. I can only say thank you to those who would "resist and persist."