A Crisis of Political Will
Going back to business as usual will lead us down a darker path.
After the trauma our country has experienced these last four years, Washington cannot go back to business as usual. It was this brand of austerity in our politics that got us into this position in the first place. Make no mistake, if the Biden administration is not transformational, another Trump-esque candidate with more competence and ambition is sure to come to power.
In a time when many Americans are in dire straits due to the pandemic, our leaders blatantly lied about $2,000 checks for votes and demonstrates our inability to have strong political will. The fact of the matter is that a nation with a robust education system that provides adequate housing, healthcare, and justice for all does not end up with a president like Trump. Our society has become polarized because government has forgotten the goals of America’s founding fathers—forming a more perfect Union.
A body politic that remains reliant on incrementalism leaves the American people behind and our democracy in potential disarray. The use of economic grievances to fight the culture war has been a norm in American politics since its founding—Republicans blaming Black and Brown people for their economic shortcomings and Democrats exploiting identity politics to further corporate influence is why we cannot go back to business as usual. It has been instilled into a great amount of the White poor working class that maintaining a racial hierarchy benefits them most because they get a set amount of privileges that are simply not allowed for Black and Brown people.
While this may be unknown to some, maintaining a racial divide has always been in the interest of the American elite and it is going to take an incredible amount of deprogramming to bridge this divide. Economic populism has been and will need to be at the front and center to kill the culture war and recognize just how much more we have in common. History has proved that whenever America has made an investment into its people, it has become a stronger and much better nation.
During periods of transformational change such as Women’s Suffrage, Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement, America acted boldly and instituted the kinds policies needed at the time to form a more perfect Union—an investment or a correction of the record to be on the right side of history. This is why it is concerning that the same sense of urgency during previous times of transformational change is not present in our leadership, which leaves us at risk of going down a much darker path. If we do not commit to a process of truth and reconciliation with our nation’s history, we will forget all that was fought for to get to this point.
As a result, healing and unity will take a nationwide effort to get more involved in our own communities and holding leaders in government accountable to us, the people. Trump was a mere symptom of the problem of racism, classism, and sexism and it is how we deal with the challenges of inequality bred in these ‘isms’ moving forward that will determine if we have the political will and courage necessary to build a better nation. It is critical for us to always remember how we got here because going back to business as usual will only assure us of our downfall.
– Peace be unto you.