haiku, politics

Cautious Optimism

«Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick someone else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States Senator.»

~ Raphael Warnock (newly elected US Senator from Georgia) in his victory speech on 2021-01-05

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The first three weeks of 2021 gave me whiplash.

On 01-05, progressive Democrats displaced Trump toadies by winning both runoff elections for Senate in Georgia.  Knowing how badly the Dems had fared in several other Senate races that seemed close at the start of November, I had expected both Warnock and Ossoff to be swept away by a tsunami of dark money pouring into Georgia.  But they both won, by narrow margins much like Biden’s margin in Georgia.

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Great Seal of the State of Georgia

On 01-06, a mob stormed and trashed the US Capitol.  The Capitol Police had been complacent while Trump cultists swarmed into DC.  Some of the cops (and some members of Congress) may even have been complicit in the violence that Trump incited.  Yes, he did incite it.  His mild late admonition to be peaceful was meant to cover his ass, not to walk back his continued strident lying about the urgency of radical action to undo a “stolen” election in Georgia and other states that Biden won narrowly.

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© Rick Fausto

On 01-20, Biden took the helm of what remains of the USA.  Fortunately, what remains of the USA includes soldiers who remembered what they had sworn to defend and responded to the danger of an insurrection on 01-20 that would be better organized and better armed than on 01-06.  The National Guard was out in force.

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© Getty Images | Poughkeepsie Journal for 01-20

For now at least, civil war has been averted.  Fireworks were the only explosions on 01-20.

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© Evan Vucci/Associated Press | Washington Post for 01-21

We are not home free.  That Trump is a fascist was obvious after truly nonviolent protesters were driven from Lafayette Square to make way for a sleazy photo-op on 2020-06-01.  (To some observers, Trump’s fascism was obvious long before then.)  And yet, as Molly Ball wrote in TIME for [01-18/01-25]:

Despite his loss, Trump notched millions more votes in 2020 than in 2016 and spurred unprecedented GOP turnout.  …  The real threat to America may be not that this GOP can’t win elections but that it can.

Whether the USA values constitutional democracy enough to forgo white supremacy and the rest of Trump’s cult will be severely tested over the next few years.  Get ready for more whiplash.

Build Back Better
|With luck and hard work,
|we may yet build a future
|better than the past.

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