The Trump Tax Scam and OUR Fight for Democracy

By Liat Olenick

As a public school teacher, I’m one of the millions of people who will pay more in taxes because of this bill. And I’m furious.

The scam that passed the Senate on Friday night will raise taxes on more than 80 million middle class families. It will devastate students, universities, and teachers and punish people with disabilities. By repealing the individual mandate, it will destroy the ACA. By opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, it will destroy a pristine wilderness and exacerbate global climate change.

The only people who benefit from this tax scam are millionaires and billionaires. Republicans even had the gall to include perks for private jet owners, private school parents and golf course owners- — as if the massive tax reductions for corporations and the 1% weren’t enough. This plan was deeply unpopular with voters — only 30% of people polled supported it. But a majority of senators and members of congress voted for it in haste, in the middle of the night.

This is not what Democracy looks like.

When Republicans in Congress don’t care about the vast majority of voters — only about their donors — that’s how you know that the system is broken. And it’s not just them, and not even just Donald Trump. The system that allowed Republicans to pass this scam last week is the same system that empowers the Koch brothers to buy elections and allowed Betsy Devos to donate to the senators who sat on the committee to approve her nomination. It is also the same broken system that allows charter schools and real estate interests to reward the treachery of the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) while enabling Governor Cuomo to raise a whopping 25 million dollars for his campaign, entirely from big donors, at the same moment that the New York City subway is falling apart and homelessness is at record levels.

That system is why this destructive, unpopular tax bill passed. And it’s also why we cannot count on elected officials or political parties to fix this. Only WE can fix our Democracy. It will not happen on its own. We’ve got to call, we’ve got to show up, we’ve got to protest, we’ve got to write, and when it comes down to it, we have work our asses off to elect people who care about their voters — and then hold their feet to the fire when they disappoint us.

At no point do we get to sit back and let other people do this work. The only reason the ACA repeal was defeated is because of US. The reason every single Democrat voted against this tax scam is because of US, not out of the goodness of their hearts. We the people are powerful and we have a lot of work to do. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it is that Democracy is not a spectator sport.

The Republican tax bill is not yet law of the land. We have a chance to stop it, and if it passes, we’ll have a chance to vote out every single shill who put their donors, instead of their country, first. Keep calling Congress. Keep writing. Keep showing up. Make every friend and family member do the same. Volunteer. Join an Indivisible group. We can do this.