ON CELEBRATING MEDIOCRITY
When Getting Back to Square One Feels Like Progress!
I’m afraid I don’t have anything pity nor poignant to say on the election. Like the rest of you…I’m tired. I’m tired of four years of exposure to the radioactive hatred, narcissism, and balderdash emanating from this administration.
I’m tired of beating back the mindless, perverted, politics of a lunatic fringe animated by the walking, right-wing id incarnate Tweeting from the White House.
I’m tired of the corruption.
I’m tired of the incompetence.
I’m tired of the lies.
Most immediately…I’m tired of the millions of Americans who see all of these qualities, who hear a second-rate con man turned demagogue spew hatred of their neighbors, and say “that’s the guy I want.” They fly flags for him!
Furthermore, I’m tired of trying to keep my family and my students safe from a pandemic that our leadership has turned its back on and rest in our lap. I’m tired of having to dodge the thoughtless, selfish, ignorant cultists who feel that refusing to wear a mask is an expression of patriotism and freedom.
I want to sleep.
But enough of the votes have been counted to call the election and I know that many of my readers are looking for something.
So here it is. I’ll give you something.
Something number one:
Like everyone else possessed of a modicum of sense and compassion, I’m ecstatic with the election results. I’ve never been this happy to see a milquetoast establishment candidate elected to high office, or any office for that matter. Yet, here we are. We are standing on zero feeling like we’ve made incredible progress.
That being said, I have to take pause to consider the state of our nation, the surreal ether, when we aspire to mediocrity and celebrate its accomplishment. Have we been buried in shit for so long that when we poke our head out of the pile we think we are breathing fresh air?
I’m not expecting much from President Joe Biden. I am expecting that he won’t humiliate the rest of us every single day. I’m also expecting that he won’t tear-gas refugees and peaceful protestors. I’m expecting that he will not rip children from their families and lock them in concentration camps. But really, this isn’t a particularly high bar.
At the same time, we have to recognize that President Biden has taken charge of a social body welted with open wounds that need tending before we can even start to make progress. Some damage is fairly easy to resolve. We can sign back on to the Paris Agreement. We can re-establish our agreement with Iran. We can rescind our departure from the World Health Organization. We can end federal support for overturning the ACA. These can happen on the very first day.
Some are more complicated.
Currently, tens of thousands of refugees wait in squalor for a chance to come to the United States. About a million pending immigration cases are backlogged. President Biden faces the prospects of having to face a humanitarian crisis with a devastated infrastructure and a workforce that has become acculturated to police-state levels of deference. Can we expect ICE and the Border Patrol to be open to taking a more humane approach to asylum rights regardless of who sits in the oval office?
And this is just one man-made crisis.
There’s the fact that our allies may not want to make deals with a nation that could reverse itself after an election. There’s the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, fat with political regressives who will not hesitate to cut the legs out from any progress we could make in the next four years. There’s the fact that ours is such a lopsided political system that calling ourselves a democracy is almost laughable. There’s immigration reform. Crumbling infrastructure. Schools that have been DeVossed for the last twenty years…
…and after a claw reddening battle with proto-fascism, the best we can look forward to is Joe Biden.
Something number two:
I’m not a little concerned about the level of damage that can be done during a Lame Duck in which there’s no longer even a pretext of accountability for the Orange Con. Of course, there will be a flurry of Presidential pardons coming. He may even pardon himself–which should be fun to watch. What else lay in store? Does the Presidential Stump become the platform for inciting the militant base? What kind of sabotage awaits the incoming president, let alone the nation as a whole?
Something number three:
As I’ve pointed out many times before, the mouth-frothing narcissist in the White House is not the problem. It’s never really about him. It’s about his cultish followers. It’s also about the massive right-wing propaganda machine that informs the faithful.
Neither of these social forces are going anywhere. If anything, they will only get worse in light of popular rejection. They will be activated like never before against President Biden, Vice President Harris and, of course, AOC. They thrive on anger and hatred and they feed their brood with the blood-dripping meat of fear mongering and violent posturing.
They will feed their audience a steady diet of nonsense, conspiracy, and scapegoating the socialists, BLM, Antifa, and any other boogieman that might be drafted in the next couple of years. That audience will, in turn, shamble blindly into the midterm elections to vote against the DemocRAT Manchurian Candidate who only won because of illegal votes or the Clintons or–I shudder to think.
If Biden does nothing, or can accomplish nothing to excite progressives in the first two years, he will lose ground during the midterms and the rest of his presidency will be spent swatting right-wing horseflies. If Democrats can’t flip the Senate, and they probably won’t, we can expect the worst. Mitch McConnell will not, in the next three months, grow a heart to fill that black hole of cynicism fueling his decrepit soul.
Look, the Democrats ran one of their most experienced establishment politicians against a mouth-frothing, schizophrenic circus clown–and barely pulled off a win. In fact, if not for COVID, it’s likely the outcome would have been different. That’s nothing to feel good about. Certainly nothing to brag about.
Our exultation comes from the fact that we can finally breathe. We finally broke the surface of the fetid pool we’d been drowning in for four years. We can breathe, but we are still in the pool! The slime is still clinging to us.
I want to rest just like everyone else, but the fight is really just getting started.