We Have To Fundamentally Change
(What Are You Celebrating?)
Why should any American "celebrate" the results of this presidential election?
Many Americans are facing looming evictions and downsizing due to the pandemic, while the number of Covid cases increases daily, the death toll mounts, and many more are without affordable health care than ever before. And our president-elect has openly said he will veto any Medicare For All bill that crosses his desk--if one even gets that far.
If "nothing would fundamentally change," according to Mr. Biden, then it will be up to us--we have to fundamentally change. We have to become braver and more willing to take on the fixed, corrupt system and break it wide open. We can't let things remain static, unchanged, when our very lives and the fate of our planet stand in the balance.
Some have already started planning how they will bring about fundamental, progressive change and ask you to join them in their efforts: https://howiehawkins.us/keepfighting/
The general mood in the "Twitterverse" among true progressives about the results of this election cycle has been somber. The following examples illustrate their concerns and frustrations:
Ryan Knight (@ProudSocialist) tweets: Joe Biden is a neoliberal corporatist who has spent 47 years propping up our corrupt system. He is not a savior.
Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) tweets: Nice to hear speeches without the racist abuse of the past 4 years. But not a word of commitment to real solutions for the crises killing us - like M4A, Covid relief, a long-term eviction moratorium at the least. Platitudes don't make me want to celebrate.
A paraphrase of several good tweets:
Sorry if I'm not quite as enthusiastic as you are that the proud author of the 1994 Crime Bill that has incarcerated thousands of Americans (especially those of color) and the backer of the US Iraq War that has caused huge loss of life in that country, as well as PTSD in American service personnel, is now in charge. Those sorts of things, and the people who are proud of their involvement in them, just don't appeal to me very much.
Jimmy Dore says, "Trump loses! Now what?" It's a serious question. And he stresses, "We need an independent media that pushes politicians, not protects them." Listen to his valid complaints in the following video.
Pulitzer Prize-Winner Chris Hedges puts it eloquently in his essay, American Requiem:
Well, it’s over. Not the election. The capitalist democracy. However biased it was towards the interests of the rich and however hostile it was to the poor and minorities, the capitalist democracy at least offered the possibility of incremental and piecemeal reform. Now it is a corpse. The iconography and rhetoric remain the same. But it is an elaborate and empty reality show funded by the ruling oligarchs — $1.51 billion for the Biden campaign and $1.57 billion for the Trump campaign — to make us think there are choices. There are not. The empty jousting between a bloviating Trump and a verbally impaired Joe Biden is designed to mask the truth. The oligarchs always win. The people always lose. It does not matter who sits in the White House. America is a failed state.
On Facebook, a local activist voiced well what many are feeling this week:
Why I Will Not Be Celebrating the Election Results
by Sean Nestor
I will celebrate when single payer healthcare is enacted and people can receive medical treatment without it ruining their lives. I will celebrate when qualified immunity is ended, the police are demilitarized, and law enforcement offices aren't let off the hook for executing black people in the streets. I will celebrate when the concentration camps at our borders are closed down and migrant families are no long split apart and children no longer disappear into human trafficking rings. I will celebrate when we see a full troop withdrawal from the Middle East and we start using our tax dollars to fund much-needed domestic programs instead of killing innocent people abroad.
If you think the Biden/Harris administration is going to do any of that, you're either uninformed or dishonest. Nothing in their campaign rhetoric nor their time in public office suggests that those will happen without borderline revolutionary activity from the public. And in the spirit of honesty, the vast majority of Democrats, in spite of the memes they share, are ready to go to brunch for the next four or eight years because Trump is gone.
I know this because I remember 2008 very clearly. At the time, we had two terms of a monster President who drug us into two costly and unnecessary wars, grew the police state in the name of counter-terrorism, and bailed out Wall Street on the back of working people everywhere. People bragged about voting for inanimate objects over Bush, as though lowering the bar like that was something to be proud of.
What we got starting in 2008 was eight years of "At least he's not Bush!" and a climate of shushing anyone who dared criticize the Democrat for not doing enough to address the real problems that were growing around him. Everything that was an outrage when Bush did it became defensible or just swept under the rug when Obama did it. I was practically spit on when I criticized Obama's continuation and expansion of military action in the Middle East, or his ramping up of deportations, or his refusal to promote single payer while supposedly tackling healthcare reform.
Well, that climate brought us Trump. In another four or eight years, mark my words, it will bring us someone even worse.
Cue the hand-wringing and frustrated pleas about the powerlessness of Democrats under a Republican Senate. Look--if Democrats can raise billions of dollars and organize tens of millions of people all over the country to vote someone into office, they can do the same to enact single payer healthcare or eliminate the electoral college or a major nationwide gerrymandering reform or something meaningful to change this country, regardless of the Senate's disposition. That's what politics are for.
Politics are all about figuring out how to enact policy in spite of obstacles, not pointing out obstacles and adjusting your standards accordingly. There is an extremely disgusting culture in the Democratic Party of competing over whose standards are lowest, giving up on ideals immediately and invoking some trite rhetoric about the importance of compromise in politics. But their compromise is always with Karl Rove or Steve Bannon and never Michelle Alexander or Aviva Chomsky. It's a lie comfortable people tell themselves to justify their own laziness and lack of compassion.
My standards are human rights standards, and I'm not lowering them come hell or high water. Call me privileged or elitist, but I'm not celebrating until I know for sure that we've genuinely protected the vulnerable minorities that are constantly preyed upon by this nation's governments.
I know victories are few and far between, and the temptation is high to celebrate them even when they are hollow, so I don't judge or begrudge anyone who wants to express their pleasure at the end of the Trump nightmare. I sincerely hope it provides you with relief and healing. But please don't repeat history and pretend like any of this marks a sea change in our country's politics. We seriously cannot afford a repeat of the smugness and complacency that brought us Trump, because at this trajectory, we're going to get a Trump again before we know it.
"The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." --Milan Kundera
"Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul." --Thomas Paine
From Friends of the Earth:
Joe Biden will be our next President -- and he’s starting to fill powerful positions within our government. Take action to reject corporate lobbyists for key nominations.
Every President in recent memory has filled their government with appointees with close ties to large corporations. When corporate cronies are in government agencies and in the Cabinet, it provides them with the means to undermine protections Americans count on. Instead of considerations for the people, they favor rollbacks and giveaways for big business.
Pressure from people like you can stop the Senate from confirming corporate cronies for these positions. That’s why we’re asking you to demand our elected officials oppose the confirmation of any more corporate lobbyists.
Take Action: Demand the Senate reject corporate lobbyist appointees.
Biden will need to fill thousands of government positions -- from the head of the EPA to deputy secretaries at over a dozen agencies. These appointees have power to implement our environmental protections.
Look at what happened under Trump -- he appointed, and the Senate confirmed, fossil fuel lobbyist David Bernhardt to the Department of the Interior. Bernhardt has overseen huge giveaways of our public lands to benefit the fossil fuel industry.
The vast majority of Americans agree that large corporations have too much power. We need your help to change that!
Sign the Petition: No more conflicts of interest that benefit big business. No more corporate appointees.
Our elected officials must reject appointees with direct ties to big business. But without hearing from concerned American’s like you, C.A., they might not act.
Don’t let nominees with ties to mega-corporations make key decisions for the people. Demand corporate executives and lobbyists not be confirmed to any appointee positions.
25,000 Signatures still needed: Fight to reduce corporate power.
Standing with you,
Legislative & political coordinator,
Friends of the Earth Action
Stand For Something!
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