I am a history buff, and I make no apologies for that. For it is through history that we may guide our present and determine our future. There is nothing new under the sun, and all our pain and fear has been endured by generations before…and survived.
On December seventh, nineteen forty-one the Imperial Japanese Navy sunk the vast majority of the US Pacific Fleet as it lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack was a total surprise. Important intelligence was ignored and our American sailors were completely unprepared for the disaster that befell them.
However, through the billowing smoke of the naval wreckage there was a sliver of hope. Our aircraft carriers were at sea when the attack came and were thus safe from harm. Aircraft carriers were new to warfare at that time. They were untried and untested…by us perhaps. But we clearly saw how the Japanese used their carriers and recognized the potential of this new kind of weapon. What did we lose at Pearl Harbor? Well, besides many good sailors, we lost all our old, obsolete battleships that were too slow and too aged to give the Japanese much of a fight anyway. Thus, our slate was wiped clean, and we rebuilt the US Navy around the new, cutting edge, technology.
“Did we win the next battle,” you may ask? No, sir we did not. We got our ass kicked in the battle of the Philippines and lost thousands of good American soldiers in a disaster called the Bataan Death March. “Well,” you may enquire, “did we win the next battle after that?” Nope. We instead tied the Japanese in the inconclusive Battle of The Coral Sea.
What does this have to do with Trump? Good question, but please, bear with me. Now, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you who won World War II. So after such a disastrous start, you may be wondering how.
The next battle with Japan was for a little speck of a middle of nowhere island called Midway. Honestly, it seemed totally inconsequential. A fly swatted as it landed on a map of the Pacific would have made a bigger impression than the dot that was Midway. The only thing the island had was a tiny US Army airstrip, AND WE FOUGHT THE JAPANESE LIKE HELL FOR IT!
The battle of Midway raged for four days and was touch and go for every gut wrenching moment. We almost lost it, and then we almost won it only to almost lose it again. But in the end WE WON! We beat the largest and most well equipped fighting force in Asia at the Battle of Midway…and the Japanese NEVER won a battle against us again!
Who cares, right? What can a naval war fought seventy odd years ago teach us about the election of 2016? Well, buddy, I’d love to tell you.
Trump’s fascist forces won a major victory on November eighth. The old guard of American liberalism was smashed. The Republicans now control both houses of congress, the presidency and are one nomination away from running the Supreme Court. There are no checks and balances anymore, and we can well imagine our civil rights burning like the battleships at Pearl Harbor.
But maybe we also have a sliver of hope? Our old guard has been knocked out, but many strong liberals were untouched in the disaster. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth are some of our new and more versatile weapons. Around such as them, we can build a stronger force for freedom then ever we had before! Oh, we have some dark days ahead, my brothers and sisters. Trump can run roughshod over the country for the next two years, and there is little we can do but annoy him.
But annoy him we will, for any challenge we present will surly slow him down!
We may suffer our own metaphorical (and I pray not literal) Bataan Death March. We may lose one battle and then tie another. But WE WILL NOT QUIT!! Freedom is too dear to be so easily abandoned. We march, we protest, we petition, and we vote! Even if the issue is only for a little fly speck of a thing…we keep trying! For once we win a battle, our foe will turn and run. Trump made a hell of a lot of promises to his base, and they expect results soon. When they don’t get what they expected, they will drop him like a hot rock, and that’s when we move in for victory. The dogged, unwavering work of freedom loving Americans everywhere will wear him down and lay him out.
Whatever happens, we will never win by just staring at the smoke from our electoral Perl Harbor. We must rally around what forces remain and work our liberal butts off to defeat Trump’s tyranny. Will we lose the first few fights? Most likely…so what? Can we win this war? You bet your ass!
As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” And we will never be defeated as long as we keep trying!
By Clayton J. Callahan