Now that the Democrats have somehow managed to grab onto the reins of power by their fingernails, some of us are already writing off the Biden administration by declaring that they will blow this chance to remake reality.
Revolutionary changes, whether they come from the right or the left, are always ultimately destructive to the body politic because revolutionary changes always generate counteracting forces that shatter whatever progress the revolutions have achieved.
This has been true in every revolutionary situation, including the American revolution. The nation we ended up with wasn’t exactly the nation that the revolutionists of 1776 pledged their lives to create. The Constitution under which we now live was forced onto the American people by a Constitutional convention that was supposed to revise the Articles of Confederation, not replace it.
There were just as many things wrong with the Articles as there are with the Constitution itself, but the Articles were freely adopted by the Colonies while the Constitution was imposed through power politics…and one of the things that the Federalists traded away during that dickering was the abolition of slavery.
We live in a society that is built on a foundation of unpleasant facts, including widespread injustices. Some of those injustices have been addressed over the past two and a half centuries but many of the injustices that were built into our society during its foundation remain unaddressed.
I am a lifelong atheist and a rational anarchist. I believe that all governments are repressive and that all governments are designed to squeeze the poor for the benefit of the rich. I believe that the rich are only rich because they have stolen their wealth from the poor.
As a culture, we have been brainwashed to believe that great wealth comes from inspiration, innovation, and hard work. The truth is that luck plays a bigger role than inspiration, ruthlessness plays a bigger role than innovation, and that the hard work is done by the underpaid working people, not by their landlords and their bosses.
Every billionaire is a mass murderer because they have not distributed their wealth to the people who helped them earn it. If you have billions of dollars while people are starving to death, you’re a monster, pure and simple. Tell me about their foundations and their institutes and their good works, and I will tell you that they are spending their blood money to salve their consciousnesses, to make the world a little less unequal so that they don’t have to face the facts of their guilt.
On the other hand (there is always an other hand), without the concentration of wealth into capital, the industrial miracles we have achieved would never have come to pass so that our standard of living is built upon the suffering of others and we are all complicit in that oppression as we enjoy the benefits we have received from centuries of both wage slavery and outright indentured servitude.
ANARCHY AND CHAOS
As a self-confessed anarchist (who is nevertheless aware of the incongruities that make anarchism unacceptable), I have to decry the misconception that confuses anarchy with chaos.
Anarchists are idealists. They believe that people will do the right thing because they want to do the right things, because we are born with the desire to do the right things. Maybe that’s true, maybe not. Leaving aside the problem of how to figure out which things the right things are, what is true is that our culture corrupts that natural generosity from earliest childhood. We are taught to compete, not to cooperate, to take what we want instead of sharing what we have.
What we saw in Washington on January 6 wasn’t anarchy. It was chaos. Unfortunately for my anarchist ideals, chaos is what anarchy always descends into.
Anarchy is a condition in which everyone looks out for everyone else. Chaos is a condition in which everyone takes for themselves everything they can lay their hands on.
When the Democrats take power on January 20th, they will not be ushering in a socialist revolution. The Biden administration’s job is to repair a broken nation by undoing everything that the Trump administration did to destabilize this country.
That’s a huge task, in and of itself, but Joe Biden isn’t coming into office with a mandate to make radical changes, not when he won this election by the thin margins he eeked out in four key states, along with two very close but decisive run-off elections in Georgia.
For millions of Americans, Joe Biden will be an illegitimate president, just as Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush were considered illegitimate presidents by millions of Americans. He has to operate within the context of that reality because the alternative is an inevitable return to authoritarian politics.
Joe Biden won this election by seven million votes. He received 81.3 million votes out of the 156 million votes that were cast, or 51.2 percent of the vote. However, there were 239 million ELIGIBLE VOTERS in 2020, which means that Joe Biden is a minority president because he was endorsed by only 34 percent of the electorate. Donald Trump was endorsed by only 31 percent of the electorate. Those who didn’t vote aren’t the silent majority. Their non-voting condition speaks volumes about the widespread disaffection from our current system of government.
Because he is an experienced politician, Joe Biden knows that he has to move slowly when it comes to making radical changes. He also knows that the real test for his administration and for the Democratic party is just around the corner because the 2022 by-election is only 22 months away…and it is THAT election that will determine the future course of this nation.
If the Democrats pursue a radical agenda during the next 22 months, they will lose big in 2022. They will lose seats in the Senate. They may also lose the House. They could lose several governorships. They could even lose several state legislatures. They may sustain these losses regardless of whether they pursue a more radical agenda or a less radical one, a situation that I call The Obama Dilemma.
The Big Mistake that Barack Obama made during his first term in office was his attempt to fix the medical system during his first two years in office, spending all of his political capital to achieve one of his most cherished personal goals. This was a mistake because he ended up with a compromise health care reform bill that no one really liked very much…at the cost of losing control of the Congress during the 2010 by-election.
Mr. Obama may have calculated that he wasn’t going to be able to hold onto the Congress UNLESS he implemented a radical health care program but he was wrong about that. Successful presidents go slow during the first two years of their administrations because history tells them that the president’s party almost always loses seats in Congress and in the state governments during the by-election years so they try not to rock the boat. (The first one hundred days of Franklin Roosevelt’s first term were the exception to the rule, but the exigent circumstances required the imposition of the radical agenda that Roosevelt brought with him to the White House as it was embodied by the visionary presence of the nation’s first female cabinet member, Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Perkins.)
This year, a more cynical political calculation is required. Losing either the House or the Senate in 2022 will be a calamity for the United States because it will open the door for another Republican demagogue in 2024 to take the place of the one we have just unseated. Losing both Houses of Congress would be the ultimate disaster for Biden, the Democratic party, and the nation.
The Republican party has proven itself to be incompetent at delivering or maintaining a workable government. Nixon, Reagan, Bush II, and Trump have each wreaked their havoc on the nation. The Republicans have just spent four years in an orgy of raping and pillaging the American economy, running roughshod over personal liberties, and attempting to impose an oligarchy in place of a democracy. They cannot be allowed back into power. Anything we say or do that weakens the Democratic administration now taking power will help the Republicans to regain power.
So, when we start picking apart the Biden administration on the basis of his picks for high-level positions in his administration, we are setting the stage for a debacle in 2o22. When we start demanding radical programs from an administration that won the recent election by promising a “return to normality,” we are greasing the skids for another disaster down the road.
That disaster takes the form of a Constitutional Convention.
The Radical Right inside the Republican Party has been working toward taking over state legislatures and governorships for the past 24 years with just one goal in mind: to rewrite the Constitution to fit their prejudices. Losing the 2022 by-election could also allow the Republicans to pick up the seats they need to realize their dreams of calling a Republican-dominated Constitutional Convention against which we, the people, will have no recourse nor any means of succor from the totalitarian state the Republicans will impose upon us.
Coming up to the plate with a radical agenda during the first two years of the Biden administration will provide the spark that will ignite the powder keg of angry barbarians that Donald Trump has left behind himself.
This is why the Great is the enemy of the Good, because attempting widescale reforms (the great) during the next two years may very well come at the cost of losing control over the government of, by, and for the people forever more in 2022, and might set the table for that Republican Constitutional Convention, the thought of which should terrify you unless YOU ARE ONE OF THEM. That’s why half a loaf is always better than none. That’s why you can’t always get what you want but, if you try sometimes, you just might get what you need.
That’s why I will be supporting the Biden Administration and withholding criticism unless the offenses become too obnoxious to be ignored. Knowing Joe Biden as well as we do, I just cannot see that happening.
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