When I heard that Biden had been declared the president this morning, I felt a cold wave of depression come over me.
Not a fetal-position-on-the-bed-all-day type of depression, but being overcome with real sadness.
Yes, Trump will be gone (at least from the presidency), but that has not been the only goal of the broad Left. He will still be around (even if it is in prison), and so will his cult followers.
Almost half the country, 70 million people, with whom we have to share a country, will remain, completely-bonkers, alternative-reality Trumpies. What does that say about our country, I ask in a despairing tone?
Well, for one thing, it says that we are a “yin-yang” nation, a nation of courageous activists creating change, whether it is the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century, or the labor movement in the 1930’s, or Black Lives Matter today. But the “yang” is an enormous population of Americans who, throughout our history, have created the need for such liberation movements in the first place.
That is hard for me to live with. I am 66 years old, and I still cling to the hope that people will be kind and rational when presented with evidence. Such hopes die hard. That we have so many Americans who are racist and vindictive is a national tragedy.
The likely failure to achieve a Senate majority has been a hard blow, and will make it even more difficult for the Left to make many gains (and that is true in Minnesota, as well).
Barack Obama, in his first two years, enjoyed a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.
My recollection is that there were two items in particular, in bill form at that time, that even a Democratic majority with a Democratic-held White House could not enact: national LGBTQ rights legislation, and labor law reform that would have made it much easier to form unions in this country.
The Left went to sleep after Obama was elected, thinking that all was well now with him in the White House.
We can’t make that mistake this time. If this all sounds too bleak, we can’t pack up and slink away, either.
But not having the Senate (and a reduced majority in the House) will make progress that much harder.
There have been issues—low-hanging fruit, if you will—that could have seen some progressive movement next year: LGBT anti-discrimination measures and union rights that I mentioned above, as well as passing parts of the Green New Deal, and maybe even a public option as the first step to Medicare-for-All (now that Joe Lieberman thankfully is out of the picture).
But they will have to go up against that mix of Mr. Turtle and Dracula himself, Mitch McConnell.
Maybe I am being too optimistic about what a Democratic majority could have accomplished.
And yes, we still have two run-off elections in Georgia which will decide the Senate majority, but I am not holding my breath. In the past, Democrats simply have been too damn lazy to show up for special elections.
But can we ever be shed of these illogical, racist, mean, vindictive Trumpies?
Unfortunately, no, but we can continue to build a mass, multi-racial, working-class organization that will move heaven and earth to build a better world.
And we can rejoice with the DSA victories across the country in this election cycle. Like dealing with the reality of depression, where it is OK to let it sit for a while in order to “own it”, maybe pessimism of the mind can exist a little while longer before the optimism of the will can take over and move forward.
Kim J (DSOC/DSA member since the early 1980s; former TCDSA co-chair)
So Why Am I So Depressed?