Your Relief Is Your Privilege
The nightmare is only over for some of us.
It’s mid-November, and America has made it’s choice. (Our options weren’t great.) It’s pretty clear Biden has won. Ongoing twitter tantrums aside, it’s finally possible to envision a post-Trump White House. The major networks are finally tuning him out. Foreign governments are congratulating Biden and Harris.
You might have breathed a small sigh of relief: Hopefully there will be fewer ugly tweets. There might be a sense of decorum again. It’s likely the pandemic response will be slightly less moronic. Maybe we’ll even get daily press briefings. These things are fair assessments.
Not so fair are the claims that “the nightmare is over,” “things can get back to normal”, “the darkness has passed.” These things are at best only partially true. To be more specific, they’re not true for everyone.
In other words, your sigh of relief? It leaves some people out. For every group that made gains by electing Biden, there are multiple groups for whom nothing will change, or for whom things will even get worse. There are millions of people for whom Blue Rapist is no better than Red Rapist.
Who is included in your sigh of relief?
Who is left out?
Biden’s endorsement of the legacy and policies of the Obama administration have come without hesitation. So we know exactly what won’t change:
Families are still in cages. We just elected the guy who dramatically expanded deportations.
We incarcerate more people per capita than the entire world. We just elected the guy who wrote the monstrous 1994 crime bill.
Pakistani children still fear blue skies. We just elected the guy who filled their skies with drones.
Protests for racial justice are still happening. We just elected the guy who wants demonstrators shot in the legs, and who didn’t want his kids to “grow up in a racial jungle.”
Black voters moved away from the Democratic party this election. We just elected the guy who said voting Blue was a skin color requirement.
The racial wealth gap is worse than ever. We just elected the guy on whose watch it got much, much worse.
The climate is still collapsing. We just elected the guy who won’t ban fracking, who rejects the Green New Deal, and who won’t get away from fossil fuels for “a long, long time”.
#MeToo is still demanding accountability. We just elected a guy who has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and assault.
We’re still in a global pandemic. We just elected the guy who vowed to to prohibit the richest nation on earth from providing healthcare to its people¹.
If you are undocumented, if you still don’t have healthcare, if you exist below the ‘middle class’, if you live under drone-filled skies, if your country has lithium reserves, or if you want the planet to live another hundred years — Biden brings you no sigh of relief.
To be clear, don’t feel guilty if you sighed relief. That’s not the point. The point is your relief is not inclusive. It’s not yet time to give up the fight. We must fight as hard against Biden as we did against Trump, because so many things simply haven’t changed, and likely won’t anytime soon.
It’s easy to see how post-Trump relief becomes complacency: there’s a certain privilege in being fine with things not improving much. Biden replaced Trump, and that’s as hard as some people will fight. Many who were so upset by the events of the Trump years will simply go #BackToBrunch, and fail to hold Biden accountable for some of the exact same crimes committed by his predecessor. That strange, unfamiliar sense of political discomfort is alleviated; they Return to Normal.
Unfortunately for many of us, “normal” is hell, so going back to that place does little good. If you are undocumented, if you still don’t have healthcare, if you’re below the middle class, if you live under drone-filled skies, if your country has lithium reserves, or if you want the planet to live another hundred years — Biden brings you no sigh of relief.
Again, we must distinguish relief at Trump’s loss from complacency toward Biden’s crimes. By all means, smile as [if?] President Fuckface von Clownstick sails away. But for everyone who is still suffering, the fight has just begun. Don’t stop marching. Don’t stop organizing outside the Democratic party. Please, please don’t go back to brunch.
- At this point, I can only understand American Exceptionalism to mean we don’t deserve the things that everyone else has.