Well, one of the most tense weeks of my life has finally wrapped up. It appears Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. While the exact electoral count won’t be known for some time, between the recounts and court battles right around the corner, we can be fairly certain that America’s four-year fling with fascism is coming to a close.
I was completely unsurprised by Biden’s victory speech. He hit all the classic neoliberal shapeshifter talking points. The bulk of Biden’s speech was fluff and virtue signaling, nonsense about the “decency,” “opportunity,” and “God-given ability” largely lacking in substance and completely devoid of policy discussion.
This hot air was anchored by an extremely valid discussion of inclusion in the American halls of power. That, while sincere, was brief and will amount to nothing when paired with abdication of government responsibility for social welfare and equality. The smart money has that outcome at about 2:1 odds with this administration.
Biden/Harris ran on being a continuation of Obama-era neoliberalism. I guess if that worked greatfor you, or you’re comfortable enough now that ignoring the margins won’t affect you, then you’re probably pretty excited. To be honest, I’m pretty stoked on the idea that Twitter will lose some relevance when Trump leaves office (I’m aware he’ll still wield his Twitter account as a cudgel, but it won’t be all over all the news). I do However Have a fair amount of trepidation. For those of you who forgot, the Obama years weren’t great for the rest of us on the margins, or newly thrown onto the margins.
My family’s group homes went under due to slashed Medicaid funding (approved by Obamacrats), and the house I grew up in- refinanced under subprime conditions- was foreclosed on shortly afterward.
While that’s not on Joe Biden in any tangible way, it’s worth mentioning that it’s because of the spinelessness of the neoliberals who were in power that austerity won out. Without those slashes, my family’s small business and the countless others hurt by spending cuts in a time of financial crisis might have survived. The folks depending on those businesses for personal financial security often went under with those businesses, at least until they could find new, often shittier, work.
There’s plenty to be said about the handing of the pandemic, but I’ll leave it here with the simple fact that Biden/Harris will surely handle itbetter than the current administration. All they have to do to clear that hurdle is try at all. I’m worried in a distinct, separate way about the economic ruin coming down pike. All the service industry jobs that got flooded by the jobless from the last crisis were decimated by the lack of government support for those sectors of the economy, while kleptocrats ushered hundreds of millions of dollars out of public coffers and into their buddies’ pockets. The majority of those jobs are never coming back, and those workers are going to be left out in the cold.
Let’s learn from the failures of- holy shit that was only like a dozen years ago, and put some real pressure on this administration. We need a jobs guarantee, single payer healthcare, and public housing expansion immediately to take the pressure off the people on the margins. It’s basic Keynesian economics, and while I’m no fan of capitalism per se, social democracy is a lot easier to swallow. Returning to “normal” isn’t going to work for those of us who want to see economic and social justice in America.
The election is finally over, and we’ll have a new President come January 20th, but if we don’t actively make it worth something, it’ll amount to nothing. Find a cause or organization, and start pushing for real progress now.