Look for Trains


There are train tracks near my house that I’ve approached in an odd way for most of my life. The tracks are between where I grew up and where I live now.

Near the tracks, beside the road, there’s a sign that reads: LOOK FOR TRAINS. There’s no gate or flashing lights to protect motorists from getting hit by a train crossing the tracks. Achieving a safe crossing of those tracks is dependent on motorists’ actions. Personally, I was freaked out that my county, or MNDoT, or whatever government organization is responsible for train crossings trusted me to decide when it was safe to cross railroad tracks. I was afraid to accept the responsibility of looking for trains in both directions of the tracks that were partially obstructed from view by a slight hill and trees. My vehicle would have to be almost on the tracks before I could see a train coming. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to stop in time and would only succeed at seeing how I was about to die. So for years, whenever I had to cross those tracks, I would floor the gas, shut my eyes, and hope that I would beat any train that might be coming. This approach to the tracks seemed effective because I never got hit by a train, and I never even saw a train on those tracks. I eventually convinced myself that they were abandoned tracks and that someone had simply forgotten to take the LOOK FOR TRAINS sign down. Eventually my anxiety about crossing those tracks subsided, and I drove down that road as if the railroad tracks weren’t even there—until 2016.

In 2016, as I approached the tracks, I saw a train on them for the first time. I braked out of shock, even though I didn’t need to because the train had already crossed over the road.

These days, when I approach the tracks, I look both ways, proceed while keeping my eyes open, and think of Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders. They’re doing what I used to do by those train tracks. Pelosi and the House majority’s refusal to impeach Donald Trump tells me they’re looking straight down the road with blinders on—focusing only on the destination of re-electing Democrats in the future—and are ignoring what’s coming down the tracks. I am aware that the self-serving Republican Senate will acquit Trump. But if impeachment doesn’t occur in the House right now to make a stand against the foreign-adversarial-sponsored criminal behavior of the President of the United States, they are inviting future corruption onto the tracks of American democracy.

Many Democrats have been arguing that impeachment should not occur because they want to guarantee that people will vote for a Democrat who can beat Trump in 2020 without the failed impeachment baggage attached to the Democratic party. This approach bothers me for three reasons:

  1. Trump has a crappy diet, no exercise routine (unless moving his Twitter fingers daily counts), looks flabby, and sometimes pants when he talks. He’s a prime candidate for congestive heart failure, so there is no guarantee that he will even be alive at election time in 2020. There could instead be an appealing Republican candidate that many Independents will choose to support because they are so disgusted by Nancy and Company choosing not to impeach because they’re more focused on their long-term political careers.
  2. Republicans could be motivated to allow Trump to pay for his crimes after one term in office, and they might choose to nominate a candidate who is not guilty of criminal activity. See 1. for how Independents will likely respond to this.
  3. That plan to have their candidate beat Trump didn’t play out so well for the Democrats in 2016, and I have no idea why the same playbook is being considered. Hillary beat Trump by 2,868,686 votes, but Trump still became president because of the electoral college system. Because literally nothing can happen that would keep Trump’s base from supporting him, they will enthusiastically turn out in droves to support him in 2020. Instead of just beating the Republican opponent, Democrats need to nominate someone who will generate an enthusiastic drove that’s considerably larger than Trump’s in key states.

I hate to say it, but the Democrats need a game plan that mirrors Trump’s 2016 strategy. Except it needs to be a campaign filled with promises from a potential leader that actually intends to:  “drain the swamp”; give all people what they need to thrive in this country; and inspires Democrats, Independents, and some Republicans to vote for hope and human decency instead of for greed and corrupt behavior. What is NOT needed as part of the Democratic 2020 campaign strategy is a refusal to impeach corrupt behavior in 2019 simply because whoever the future Republican candidates are will use it against Democrats up for election.

Nancy et al., there’s a train coming down the tracks. It’s probably being controlled in cyberspace by a foreign power wanting to steer our government off-course like they did in 2016. Open your eyes, look both ways at what’s coming, and pro-actively derail it before it runs you over—again. Please spare our country from having to look at another four-year train wreck.





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© 2019 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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