Here is the current situation. We have an administration in power that is unprecedented, at least in my lifetime, in its ineptitude, corruption, destructiveness, callousness and hypocrisy. It has proved itself unwilling to conduct its affairs according to the most base standards of decency. It has, by every conceivable measure, made things worse for all of us. Not only has it made things measurably worse, it has created a political climate which will make it inestimably more difficult to begin making them even slightly better, regardless of the outcome of the 2020 elections. It continues to pose serious dangers to the lives, health and well-being of everyone in our society, and across the globe, and especially the most oppressed and vulnerable among us. It is shocking and unconscionable that such an abomination could rise to power in “the greatest democracy” on the Earth.
On the other side of the political aisle, we have a party which is so desperate to stave off any fundamental change that they have nominated a doddering, glib, gaffe-ridden career politician, notorious as a puppet of the insurance industry, with a sordid history which includes multiple, credible complaints of sexual assault.
It appears, two weeks out from the Presidential Election of 2020, that the Biden/Harris ticket may prevail, although many of us have the uncomfortable sense that we may have seen this movie before.
The frantic exhortations about this being “the most important election in history” might have some validity, except for the fact that the Democrats offer nothing as an alternative to Trump other than a return to everything that got us into this mess to begin with. For many decades now, up until this very moment, they have paid lip service to everyday working people, while attending to the whims of their corporate lords and masters. They have ignored each and every one of the most urgent problems that we face, from murderous cops to the public health crisis to looming economic disaster to a climate emergency that poses the prospects of near-term extinction for our species (along with much of the rest of life on this planet).
So, it is fine, I suppose, for people to encourage us to vote for this garbage as a temporary respite from outright fascism. But it is dishonest, and sickening, for them to ask us to place any other hope in a Biden Presidency, or in the party that he leads.
I have spent most of my life as a political activist. I volunteered on my first campaign as a teenager, when a friend of our family ran for State’s Attorney in the county where I grew up. I was a “Yellow Dog Democrat” for more than 30 years, always voting a straight punch in the general election. I’ve marched, and I’ve donated, and I’ve phone banked, and I’ve walked precincts and I’ve organized. I’ve drank the Kool Aid, and I’ve served it up. I’ve been a jubilant winner on election night, and a dejected loser.
We have come to the point where there’s not enough Kool Aid on the planet to make any of this palatable, and there can be no jubilee in sight.
So, where might we find any glimmer of hope in all of this madness?
For me, any path forward falls outside of the realm of electoral politics. Although I cannot find it in my heart to discourage a vote for Biden from my friends who live in states which will be legitimately contested, I absolutely refuse to place any faith in him or his party to lead us into the light, either in the weeks to come, or in the imaginable future.
We have to find the way ourselves, and we have to start by looking in the right direction. That direction is not right, nor left, nor forward, nor upward nor onward.
It is inward.