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relief, sadness, and determination

The election of Donald Trump was the first time I had ever felt threatened by the outcome of an election. The US definitely has problems, but, sorry, Mitt Romney and John McCain were not scions of a new White supremacy as many might like to say. But Trump was the first candidate of a mainstream party to openly advocate ideas that, I thought, had been relegated to the dustbin of history. He essentially wanted to close the US enitrely to migration, wanted trade wars with China, and was happy to dog whistle genuinely violent racist groups. I never bought into the most hysterical talk. For example, I openly laughed when a friend of mine seriously argued that Trump would start a nuclear war. But still, Trump was a serious problem.

I briefly felt relief when it became clear that Trump had been voted out but very soon there after, sadness set in. The person who was voted in had supported some incredibly damaging policies. For me, Biden’s biggest mis-step was voting for the Iraq War. This is no small thing. The war took the lives of nearly 5,000 American troops, wounded thousands more, and devastated entire nations. And this is not isolated. On some of the biggest issues, Biden has been on the wrong side of history. He supported the 1994 crime bill, which many believe made law enforcement needlessly punitive, and, in the 1980s, was one of the politicians who began the process of turning Supreme court nominations into a zero-sum, winner takes all political battle. And of course, it is not clear what Biden did, if anything, to try to halt or slow the massive wave of deportations that occured during the Obama administration. The badness of Trump, or the diversity of the Democratic ticket, does not wash away those stains. I feel no pride or joy and I didn’t dance in the streets.

However, if you can stop thinking of politics as a television show where knights in shining armor defeat dragons, you have a more expansive view of the world. On Tuesday, a number of jurisdictions legalized narcotics, essentially nullifying the War on Drugs. That is clearly a good thing and it was made possible by local activists who spent the time and energy to campaign for those referenda. I think a very deep approach to politics is to recognize that the reality television show known as Congress and the White House does have its place and those folks weild genuine power, but that really substantial social change can be acheived in other ways. You won’t get awards or millions of Twitter followers, but if you helped your state vote to end drug prohibition, you have directly improved thousands, perhaps millions, of lives. And that’s more important than just about anything you can do in politics.

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Written by fabiorojas

November 9, 2020 at 12:44 am

Posted in uncategorized

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