I have been meaning to post all week. I was meaning to post all last nervewracking week. I have been meaning to post since Saturday when everyone was dancing in the streets except my neighbor at Trump Corners (corner of County Road 28 and County Road 28B if you happen to be in Niverville and care to see the sights) who has instead dry-cleaned and rehung his “No More Bullshit” flag.
Then came the pasteboard denial of craven elected Republicans. Then came redbaiting by Democratic moderates; then progressives’ logical, logistical, statistical rebuttal (in short: seven moderates lost, while every swing-district progressive won); then moderates’ ad feminem retorts; and meanwhile the low hum of scraping and groveling for a seat in the Federal cabinet we’re told will be named by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, only two weeks away: when each of us will sit in sanitary, socially distanced gratitude for turkey with all the trimmings and none of the respiratory threat. Well, perhaps not socially distanced at Trump Corners, unless reality miraculously sets in. One must keep hope alive.
Meant to post, as I say, so why not? Dread. Dread of 73 million disillusioned acolytes, pickups beflagged choking highways coast to coast, necks dangling little gold N95 masks to recall their defrauded hoaxed rigged undead messiah, keeping hope alive. Dread that all the effort and sacrifice and wretched compromise in the interest of protecting the slimmest chance of a more perfect union sometime in the future would waste away in futile talk of unity, virulence biological and cognitive, and the ingrained habits of the once senior Senator from MBNA (they sell credit cards), our President-elect. He’s already named Ron Klain as chief of staff, much of whose household income derives from his wife’s service to the Waltons of Arkansas: not an encouraging sign.
It is so, so, so likely to get worse before it gets better, and for years, even should re-enfranchised Georgians send a Jew and a Black preacher to the Senate and force Yertle to tug that globby head back under his minority shell. As Bruce Springsteen prophesied in Philly (of all places!) on Election Eve 2016, it’s gonna be a long walk home.
There’s the virus, where I suspect Biden will make slow painful progress. Then there’s everything else. Paychecks. Crumbling bridges. Private prisons. Huddled masses yearning to be free, and not only foreign-born, but fellow citizens. And sickness, sickness unto death.
Which brings me to the current byword, “healing”, and back to the house at Trump Corners.
I’ve never seen those folks, who I’m sure would be friendly enough (until they saw the magnets on my car: One still says “Bernie”). But me, I wish them well. I wish them health, a decent income, a planet with reasonable weather, low oceans, air they can breathe, and all the liberty they want that doesn’t impede or deny anyone else’s or cause anyone else to die, whether of COVID or a cheap Walmart bullet. I wish them happiness and peace of mind enough that they’ll nevermore let themselves be had.
That would be healing. It won’t come from one more read of Hillbilly Elegy (or an hour with the new Netflix movie). It won’t come from fretting over polarization. And, to my brothers on the left, it won’t come from pretending that Trump—-with his rallies; his cult of personality; his dog-whistled, AK-47-toting thugs; his diversion of government power to personal ends, to crush personal (not political, like Nixon) enemies; his privatization of Justice and the GSA; his exile of the Bureau of Land Management and contempt for that least impeachable of agencies, the National Weather Service; his hacking at national parks, plunder of national forests; his coddling of tiki-torch Nazis; his intercontinental shakedowns (in both directions: Burisma, Erdogan); his rhetorical division of us all into “Democrat” (evil, incompetent, radical) and Republican (law abiding, patriotic) clans; and beyond all, his systematic corrosion of the influence, the possibility, the very notion of empirically grounded fact—-is no worse than Bush 2, Dick Cheney or Barack the Deporter.
It will come from justice. It will come from the kind of justice that reaches the heirs of Rodney King, shitkicked by cops so long ago there weren’t yet cellphones (it so happens the Handycam which caught that primal scene went on auction last July, six weeks after Rayshard Brooks was murdered at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, three weeks before Jacob Blake, the floor price set at $225,000. No one bid.), and then reaches beyond. Justice reaching folks who don’t think they need it, like they think they don’t need unions, like they don’t get how global economics and their own longed-for standards of living will keep that factory from ever coming back, like they don’t know they’ve been conned by a real-estate sharpie from Queens. Justice for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ and guys selling loosies and overeducated logorrheic Jews, justice flowing like a mighty river right to the banks of Trump Corners. Justice that doesn’t merely augment privilege with guilt, but erases it.
That’s not moderate. That’s Medicare for All and a Green New Deal and protecting the vote and reforming campaign finance and strengthening public education and defunding our bloated, militarized, demonstrably challenged-to-maintain-the-peace police.
Such justice is not blind, but all-seeing and compassionate. It’s not ideological, not partisan, not wrapped up in identity; least of all is it pie in the sky bye and bye. It’s legislatable. Can believing in Q or in heaven some day beat three meals, healthy kids and a fair shot?
The flag at Trump Corners is right: No more bullshit. No more triangulation, no more secret deals, no more ginned-up fear, no more status-quo-ante “moderation.” If 78 million of us could breathe deep and agree on Joe Biden, we can insist he follow one deeply immoderate northstar, and it’s not “healing.” It is justice, justice that wipes away dread, justice so powerful, so beneficent, so small-d democratic that the other 73 million can see why.