I’m having very mixed feelings today. I have to admit that as relieved as I am that Biden/Harris are now running the country, as emotional as I couldn’t help but be watching, first, disgraced Trump leaving town and then the Presidential inauguration ceremony yesterday, I’m not getting my hopes up too high. My politics are Bernie Sanders-type politics, which at its core is a sharp critique of the massive and growing wealth inequality, the dominance of the obscenely-ultra-rich, in the US and the world, which is THE reason for so much of the suffering and unnecessary struggling of so many people, literally in the billions worldwide.
My politics are also those of the Christian church of the first century AD, as written in the book of Acts 2:44-45: “All who believed were together and had all things in common, they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” This was repeated in Acts 4:32: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they held in common.”
Those are radical words, fighting words if you’re a greedy capitalist who is determined to prevent any sharing of your wealth with the homeless, the poor, the least of these, working-class people.
These early Christian politics are not Joe Biden’s politics, for sure, but on the other hand, Joe Biden appears to be a person who takes his Christian religion very seriously, so maybe there’s something inside him that can be appealed to going forward over these next four years. And I mean that seriously.
Part of my mixed feelings today come from the new political world in which we now find ourselves. One aspect of that is a number of signs that it’s not just Trump’s time in the White House that has come to an end. It could well be that his disturbing hold on the hearts and minds of so many US Americans is rapidly eroding.
A very big example can be found in an article in today’s New York Times, “They Called Trump ‘Emperor.’ Now, He’s ‘Weak.’” The article reports on comments being made on a private internet channel by members of the Proud Boys, probably the most influential of the white supremacist militias who supported Trump. Here’s some of the quotes: “Trump will go down as a total failure”; “At least the incoming administration [Biden/Harris] is honest about their intentions”; “It really is important for us all to see how much Trump betrayed his supporters this week. We are nationalists 1st and always. Trump was just a man and as it turns out an extraordinarily weak one at the end.”
What about Biden reaching out to Republicans? In general that is understandable, but if achieving bipartisanship is more of a priority than taking action quickly to address the multiple crises of the pandemic, the economy, the climate and racial justice, that is a major problem. So far, through his Executive Actions, Biden seems to have his priorities straight.
It was so much simpler under Trump. We knew he was the enemy who had to be resisted in just about every single case, and he was such a terrible human being. Biden is a decent human being, and he is not the enemy. Biden is definitely an ally in many cases, but he is not going to be so across the board, particularly as far as militarism and the US empire with its 700 or so military bases around the world.
So is it a new world? Certainly not yet as far as on the ground realities. But it seems realistically possible that these four years could be the first part of the world-changing decade that it needs to be, that it absolutely must be for the health and survival of the planet and all of its creatures.
I believe if the Trump resistance stays in the game, doesn’t relax and “leave it to Joe and Kamala,” January 20th, 2021 will be the beginning of a new political world, a politics of justice and democracy and respect for the earth that keeps building and building until we truly have created, in full, a new world.
Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick