On November 20th, the nightmare that was the Donald J. Trump presidency came to a quiet, pathetic, and lonely end. I watched his sons cry on national TV as their father boarded the helicopter and flew far away from the nuclear button. I then began to cry myself as images of Kamala Harris and Joseph Biden replaced the those of the defeated Trumps on my phone.
The nightmare was over… It was really over.
Fear and dread were soon replaced with hope and inspiration as I went through a list of the new administration’s day-one accomplishments and executive orders. President Biden rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris Peace Accords. He rescinded the Muslim travel ban and extended protections against discrimination to LGBTQ+ people. The new president laid-out a clear and coherent plan to address the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic fallout.
Leadership and human decency had returned to the White House.
But as delighted as I was with the Biden Administration’s first forty-eight hours and as happy as progressives might be with its early accomplishments, we cannot take our foot of the pedal. In 2008, progressives elected a man calling for hope and change and forgot that he was a politician who would acquiesce to the political establishment if the people were not looking. And when progressives took their eyes off the ball, and muted their demands for real change, Barack Obama quietly morphed into nothing so much as George W. Bush in liberal clothing.
We would be foolish not to remain politically active, rallying in the streets, sharing thoughtful post in social media, and or by continuously engaging our elected officials. The only thing politicians like more than money is power. If we can keep the pressure up, there might be a chance that we can get some meaningful legislation passed.
Make no mistake, I am thrilled with the direction that we are now going in. It feels great to check the news without seeing the President saying or doing something that insults the humanity of the citizens of this country and puts our country in danger by screwing with important alliances. But I want to reiterate that while President Biden may be a good man who does some good things; he is not necessarily a friend of progressives.
Last week, I noted that we cannot expect much from this presidency because President Biden has inherited a dumpster fire in American culture, economics, and health. So, let’s tamp-down our expectations because we cannot reasonably expect a centrist liberal like the new president to push hard for truly progressive policies and legislation. At best, we can hope for that he will push neoliberal policies that are at least progressive-adjacent. In other words, policies that might get the country to become a little more open to actual progressivism.
Over the last years, I have always written in state of fear and anger. Today, I am hopeful, and less motivated to throw fluff to print. There is hope that we can mold this president’s policy and particularly, with Bernie Sanders as the Senate Budget Committee chair, economic policy.
But we must stay vocal, active, and wary of the current administration and hold it accountable. 2021 will be the people’s year.