Still a ways to go

Things are definitely looking up right now, but we certainly aren’t out of the woods, and the fight is still to come.

Note: I am going to be discussing American politics here, which butts up against the comment policy. Keep in mind that this is my own personal site and not a public platform (so the first amendment doesn’t apply), and neither bigotry nor conspiracy theories will be tolerated, regardless of which “side” you’re on.

Also I’m just some random software engineer with a blog and a tendency to ramble and no real background or credentials in politics. Take this for what it’s worth.

CW: US politics

In the immediate term, there is of course the fact that Trump wants to make “every” vote count, meaning the votes that go in his favor. He’s already stacked the deck in his favor with the supreme court; it remains to be seen whether SCOTUS will pick up whatever garbage case he brings to them and what the results of that will be. Expect a repeat of the protracted mess that was the 2000 election. Not to mention an erratic, temperamental child who still has a few months left to do a lot of damage, regardless of the outcome.

For at least the next two years we also still have a Republican-controlled senate, and it’s pretty likely that Mitch McConnell will still be the majority leader. McConnell is, in my mind, the most dangerous person in American politics right now; he’s the one who led both charges to stack the SCOTUS to the ridiculous supermajority of unqualified judges that we have for the next who knows how long, and with a Republican-controlled senate it’ll be pretty much impossible to reverse that, even if Biden chooses to add seats to the SCOTUS (which will still need to be senate-approved).

At the executive branch, we have Biden. He’s… not great. He’s a step away from the cliff, at least, but what we really need is some real change. During the presidential campaign Biden has expressed a bit more progressivism than he has in the past, and I hope he holds to that. I also hope that Harris influences him towards policies that benefit people rather than maintaining the very broken status quo.

We’re also going to see a crapton of political unrest. Biden is at least good at addressing people in a calm, reasoned manner, and I don’t know how well it resonates with the rabid GOP voters but he’s at least sticking to a message of how we’re not enemies (or at least shouldn’t be). I have mixed feelings about this messaging; Democrat concessions and compromise are a big part of how we got to this point in the first place. But I’m hoping to see the left actually bring more people over to the line of thinking where we need to work together in ways that benefit everyone, and eschew personal selfishness and short-term thinking. Biden at least is pretty good at the diplomacy necessary for that. But the give-and-take compromise style absolutely needs to stop; when the two come in conflict, Democrats only give and Republicans only take.

In the much longer term, it’s excruciatingly clear that we need to get away from a party-based system. We should be using ranked-choice or instant-runoff voting, and voting on candidates based on their positions and ideals, not their party.

I’d also like to see government be more local; what’s good for one region isn’t necessarily good for the whole nation. A return to true federalism feels warranted1, and that’s mostly because I feel like government just doesn’t scale very well. At the same time I feel like maybe some of the states should be consolidated together, or something? Or maybe add another level of hierarchy or something, with states reporting to provinces. We should also either grant proper statehood to our territories2 or give them the right to self-determination. Heck, grant statehood to DC while we’re at it.

Giving people more of a say in the workings of government would be good too. The people should be able to veto decisions made by our representatives and lobby them to make better decisions in the first place. We should also be able to initiate a recall or impeachment, not only of elected officials but of appointees, particularly SCOTUS justices. And we need to get corporate influences out of legislation!

Also: It’s important not to blame “red states” for the problems. Remember, many red states are only red because of voter suppression and extreme misinformation. I do believe that people fundamentally want to help each other, but something has gotten lost in the noise. And there’s plenty of noise coming from both major parties!

I don’t think we’re anywhere close to starting to heal as a nation. At best we’ve stopped falling into the wood chipper. Can what remains be pulled out in time to not hemorrhage to death? Time will tell.

  1. This is probably the most conservative view I hold, and it’s not like modern conservatives actually believe in federalism. They only seem to want states' rights if the rights are the ones they agree with. Self-governance is only a valid approach if you let other people self-govern too. 

  2. I’m also against colonialism and I’d really like to see this country make a lot more concessions to the victims of such. Expand the “reservations” (and stop calling them that, for fuck’s sake, they should be seen as nations), give them true sovereignty and reparations, and treat them as allies who we’ve done grievously wrong. We have a few hundred years' worth of apologies to start on. Not to mention the lasting legacy of slavery, and all of the horrible shit we’ve done in the Middle East and South America and Cuba. 


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