Back in late September I wrote a Medium piece entitled 5 Reasons We’re Going to Get Out of this Colossal Mess. I wrote it because I wasn’t truly entirely sure we would. I was hoping for a landslide rejection of fascism and authoritarianism but bracing for the worst. As is the way with democracy I didn’t really get everything I wanted, but I got something that I and the vast majority of Americans can live and work with.
So let’s go back and take a look at how things played out.
1. Democrats remain angry, organized and united.
I was and continue to be annoyed with people talking smack about my girl Kamala Harris, but she has been embraced more and more by all Democrats and not just us super far lefties. I think Nancy Pelosi is finally getting the credit she deserves and the support she needs to get Americans back on our feet.
We did have some damaging setbacks even aside from losing Ruth Bader Ginsberg. For example Diane Feinstein will not be running for the top spot on the Judiciary Committee and a few saboteurs supposedly within the party have caused the majority in the House to shrink. The registration and work at the very end of the campaign though propelled Biden and Harris to victory and it is still reasonably possible for Democrats to win the two runoffs in Georgia and take the Senate.
2. The Biden-Harris Administration is Making History with the Diversity of Nominees.
I’m actually really excited about this. Kamala Harris is not the first woman to be elected to the Executive Branch — that honour will always belong to Hillary Clinton — but she will be the first woman to occupy that office. AND Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and first Asian woman to do that. So that in and of itself is really amazing. But my ridiculous fan-girling aside, this isn’t even just about Kamala Harris.
The Biden-Harris administration are breaking precedent right and left by nominating the most qualified people to their cabinet and administration. They are not restricting themselves to white people or men but going for the most qualified person overall. This is a really great first step towards a better more equal society.
3. Democrats Stayed Engaged After Election Day.
Elections aren’t won on Twitter or Facebook. I say this with the massive caveat that Russian disinformation and anti-Democratic claptrap spread on social media platforms played a big part in undermining the 2016 election. But even with that firmly understood, Russian bots don’t vote. In 2016 a lot of us thought we could rely on our institutions to save us and … well it resulted in what I’d characterize as a fascism swirly.
This time Democrats — and not just elected Democrats, but randoms like me — got involved, and stayed involved after November 3rd. We knew that we needed to register people, we knew that we needed to get the messaging out, and we knew that no matter what we did the GOP would resort to their usual voter suppression and claims of “voter fraud.” Keeping the faith after November 3rd during a pandemic was hard, but we got there. Our votes have been counted, Biden is President-Elect, states are certifying their results, and in eleven days the Electoral College will make it official. (And then on Jan. 6, 2021 the votes will be tallied in a joint session of Congress, but that’s neither here nor there.)
4. Trump Has No Path to Victory.
We were all super stressed about Trump supposedly having an actual valid October surprise and … he didn’t. Well, he did, but it was a November surprise and involved Rudy Giuliani’s hair dye. So I guess we all got upset about nothing.
It is concerning that Biden didn’t win by more particularly against Trump, but I’m saying that of an election where the winning candidate beat all previous records by about 15 million votes. I have a difficult time conceptualizing why anyone would vote for Trump, but I guess “all kinds” does include idiots.
I had feared early on until I had a good hard look at the state of the race relative to Electoral College votes that he would eke out another EC win, but I more or less knew the morning of November 4th that Biden had it in the bag. As tallying and reporting continued it became increasingly clear that not only did Biden win, but he won by margins sufficient to avoid reasonable challenge.
Trump is still the world’s oldest toddler so of course he challenged it, but he looks more and more absurd and less threatening with each lawsuit and weird yet still edited 46 minute long speech.
5. America HAS learned from its mistake.
We’re not out of the woods. And we won’t be for some time. America sort of embodies the words of Theodore Parker, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Parker was speaking before abolition and he was later quoted by Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Abraham Lincoln. America continues to make terrible decisions and do awful unethical and even unthinkably cruel things, but little by little we do inch towards justice, equality, and morality.
We do eventually get to the right decisions and right places; it just takes us ages.
We’re not there yet. Sure we rejected and eventually fought Hitler. Sure we elected a woman to both the office of President and the office of Vice-President. Yes, by January 20, 2021 we will also have put a Black person in both those offices. We established social welfare programs and have regulations which theoretically protect people from undue harm. We abolished slavery and we try not to be imperialist. We have made significant strides and historically speaking we do learn from our mistakes.
We are not perfect, but we are more perfect.