Donald Trump will be known as the shameless exhibitionist who unintentionally exposed the desperate, dangerous plot by wealth to destroy the democracy that empowers and protects the American people. He deserves our gratitude.

We are a country divided into predetermined special interest groups cemented into place by a media monopoly that provides entertainment fodder for each group according to its emotional needs. The omnipresent theme is conflict: gun control v. gun rights; pro-life v. pro-choice, socialist v. capitalist; left v. right; conservative v. progressive; black v. white; female v. male; Democrat v. Republican…but wait a minute. That last one is not a real conflict, unless you believe professional wrestling is real competition.

The imaginary conflict between Republicans and Democrats is a shining example of the success of the campaign to establish the preeminence of profit over people. Republicans and most Democrats openly accept huge money from those who would rule indirectly with their bank accounts. We have almost come to a point where even the American people themselves believe corporate profit is more important than their quality of life — almost. But a misplaced screwdriver got inserted into the machinery of the billionaire money machine. That tool is Donald J. Trump, and even though he appears the perfect champion of the effort to glorify greed, he’s proven undependable, erratic dangerous and most importantly, flagrantly greedy. He’s exposed an attitude that although already strongly held by the billionaire class, was supposed to be kept low key. Trump’s in your face arrogance and disregard for convention was never part of the program. Woops!

Arguably, Trump has made it easier for the rich to get richer, for the incumbent to raise more money and be reelected and for the comfortable to enjoy their comfort, but he has scared the be-Jesus out of those who thought they were supporting him in their own self-interest. Trump’s simultaneous resentment of the wealthy (who have historically rejected him) and his desire to be one of them is way too volatile and unpredictable for their backroom sensibilities. Trump gravitates toward those who accept him unconditionally. Basically, that means the angry, the neglected and the demographically threatened. Count most Republicans in, most billionaires, too (the more you got the more you got to lose), and the comfortable, liberal talkin’, change balkin’ elitist Democrats in particular. I’m talking about everyone who has got theirs and, in spite of their rhetoric, would rather hang on to the status quo than risk real change — yes ex-hippie boomers, that means you.

So where is the opportunity?

The tactless, feckless, clueless tool, Donald Trump has exposed the goal of wealthy privilege like no one else could, and reluctantly but steadily the American people are paying attention. The most important thing for them to do in response is to find their courage, courage in the truth, courage in their leadership, courage to uphold their democracy, and the courage to unify behind change that turns hopelessness into progress for everyone. We must win the struggle with the climate to save our earth. We have to narrow the income gap in the interest of stability and raise the quality of life for all citizens in the richest country on earth.

And where is the courage in our leadership? There is one sure place to look. If the candidate does not accept big money in any form, that’s a start. Support them! If they advocate for the right thing over the expedient thing, like impeachment, then that’s a good sign too. Just like the opioid crisis, the real solution is for the American people is to find a purpose and create the opportunity to pursue it as a diverse and unified whole. We have the resources, we have the will, let’s summon the courage.

That’s the rant, here are actionable things we can do to improve the chances of re-taking control of our democracy:

1) Focus on building the movement to make our elections representative.

2) Follow the brilliant (and yes, courageous) examples of the successful voter initiatives in Maine and Michigan for open primaries and non-partisan redistricting.

3) If there are no such voter initiatives in your state, contact Independent Voting (https://independentvoting.org/) and get help starting one.

Defeating Trump — and political establishment — depends on having a political process that is not completely controlled by the Democrat and Republican organizations. Victory over these forces will not be achieved in one election cycle. Whether you identify with either party, if you believe our democracy is more important than your party affiliation, start behaving accordingly.

Peter Taillie writes from Greensboro.

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