Today I am reminded of the famous quote from President Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural address:
“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
It is as catchy a quote as it can be, and one with good intentions, though lately I have found myself analyzing it more and more. While we can contribute to our society and strive for altruism, ultimately, a government should work for its people. What can my country do for me? Can it provide me security, a home, the guarantee of my own health? And for millions of people in the United States, purportedly the greatest nation in the history of nations, that is not the case. The United States government has failed them. We have failed them. Because while we can look to the government and see them as lazy, incompetent, apathetic, self-centered people there for a paycheck, we have to remember who voted (or worse, didn’t vote) them into office. And that’s us.
I believe the past 4 years have been a learning experience in just precisely how critical politics are. It is a matter of life and death for people around the world, not just in one’s own country. What affects one nation will affect another, and in the United States, the world looks to us because we are a superpower with technology, culture, and arms. And with great power comes great responsibility. Sadly, we have failed our own people time and time again, and once again, we have failed the world. It is a vicious cycle.
I’ve seen many disheartening or tone deaf posts, ranging from “It doesn’t matter who you voted for!” and “We survived four years of Trump!” However, that is not the case. Many people did in fact, not survive. 4 years later, and we still have not guaranteed healthcare for every citizen. The rate of fatal police shootings has risen every single year, surpassing 1,000 last year. The Black population makes up 12% of the population, but make up 25% of fatal (mind you, just FATAL) police shootings. Hate crimes, especially violent ones, have risen to staggering new heights, the highest in decades, and among the most frequent in US history. 3,059 people died after Hurricane Maria, and no federal aid was effectively given, culminating in a worse federal response than Hurricane Katrina. 545 children will never see their parents again, thousands have gone missing, and 7 have died in our custody. Our staunch allies in the Middle East, the Kurds, were abandoned to die and ISIS prisoners were able to flee, a decision that even many troops disagreed with, as the US troops simply needed to stand in place and not engage in combat to prevent the Turks from entering. Not to mention the fact that we almost went to war with Iran needlessly.
237,000 of our citizens have died from COVID-19 and around 1,000 die daily, the equivalent to nearly 80x the victims of 9/11. To make the point clear, the average mortality rate for US soldiers in WWII fighting to the death in the world’s deadliest conflict over several years was 304 per day. And many other survivors will suffer lifelong complications, ranging from premature cardiovascular failure to myocarditis to pericarditis. And because we did nothing, this pandemic spread around the world even worse than it needed to, and despite having 4% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the cases. The president himself (and many of his followers) contracted the virus and survived, and people are still unable to realize that one of the world’s most powerful men who had access to the best healthcare there is, barely managed to survive.
So, if you are here, you have survived. But we should, as human beings, have an inclination to do the right thing. Whether left or right wing, most people do not like authority, but I believe that most people will also agree that we want what is best for one another. But there is thinking what is best, and what is actually best, and I hate to inform you if you think otherwise, but reality has a liberal bias. Every single great strive in US history was made by progressives. Names and titles don’t matter, so much as ideals, and those who have actively fought to better the lives of their fellow person are the progressives. To say that modern Republicans are the party of Lincoln or that modern Democrats are the party of the KKK is a gross misunderstanding of history and a twisted distortion of factual history, which is easy to explain. But of course, because of the failure to improve the US education system, we have people that will say that. We have people who do not understand the simplest terms, such as “feminism,” “fascism,” “socialism,” or perhaps most importantly, “empathy.”
Joe Biden himself claimed he is aiming to be a “transitional president.” He was spurred to run after the President of the United States refused to condemn Neo Nazis who had just killed a woman protesting Nazis on American soil. Something that would shock many of our relatives, my own included, who fought and even died to prevent this. Biden believed he had the best chance to get a dangerous demagogue out, and took the shot. He barely succeeded. Tragically, Democrats seem to love to cater to the questioning and insecure independents who have to question whether or not they would vote for the worst president in US history, rather than boost their own massive party. The numbers of liberals far outnumber conservatives, and that is the reason the Electoral College is so precious to them. And yet, while Democrats might be on the right side of things most of the time, they do not know how to deliver that message more clearly or perhaps more importantly, how to win. And I am already seeing the DNC congratulate Cindy McCain for flipping her late husband’s state of Arizona, rather than thank the Native and Latino voters in the southern part of the state who came out and voted. They voted blue because that area is a multicultural area that borders the state of Sonora, Mexico, and the indigenous, Latino, and White community coexist and depend on each other, and rallied together to reject the hatred that was needlessly thrown their way, disparaging their neighbors. So, this is a teaching moment, more for the Democrats than Republicans. Many Republicans are too far gone, and they are not the focus of this. Let them mourn the destruction of the pathetic cult of personality they formed.
This fight is not over. Not even close. The nightmare is not over, but we have a chance to wake up from it now. We must rid the circumstances that allowed a man like Trump to come into power in the first place, lest we find ourselves here again shortly. The United States tasted just a little bit of the instability that other countries have to deal with every day (many of which are because of our own doing) and we nearly collapsed. A nation the size of a continent has a lot of bases to cover, but there need to be general across the board agreements that must be adhered to, with no room for compromise. Compromise and the constant agreement to hear out the other side while they would never give us the same courtesy is what led us to this mess. But there is no need for compromise when it is for the good of all. A livable planet. Healthcare for every citizen, guaranteed. Putting the individual workers above the corporation. Not killing our own citizens in cast numbers. The most basic things need to be given. And all along the way, we will have to fight the ghosts of Trumpism along the way, as if the ghosts of trickledown economics, the War on Drugs and the War on Terror weren’t enough.
Many of you know I was not eager for Joe Biden. The man is very old, he is a Centrist, and he has a foot in his mouth. But there was no question as to who I would vote for. At worst, a bad Democrat will get little done, whereas a bad Republican will actively destroy or harm people’s lives on every level. That’s just the way things have been post Nixon. So it was a no brainer when the other candidate was the literal worst president in US history, not something I say lightly. There is no hyperbole here. Regardless, yes, Biden was underwhelming.
It’s not to say that Joe Biden is unqualified, or that Joe Biden is a terrible choice, we just need something more intense with such insanity, not “normalcy.” There is no going back. Pandora’s Box has been opened. We’re bringing a shoe to a gun fight. Yes, shoes can be used as projectiles (just ask W.) but they’re not the best choice, and they don’t give you the best odds. But as a Democrat would say, “Well, you can’t kill anyone with a shoe, so you can walk away with a free conscience!” Really? The mantra of “When they go low, we go high” cost us The Supreme Court. It cost us the ability to be taken seriously. We need to bring out the big guns and fight, not keep getting kicked in the ass harder and harder by increasingly worse Republican presidents and waste our time cleaning up their messes and have them take credit for a good economy as soon as they join office. Mitch McConnell is already demanding that Biden choose a Centrist cabinet, which Biden does not have to do, but I am worried he will play along to look nice and willing to compromise. Willing to compromise with the worst and most hypocritical politician in Congress who has done nothing but serve himself, just like his president.
So, all this being said, my point is, please get active in politics. GOP turnout was at an all-time high this election, and while they still hilariously lost the popular and electoral vote to a candidate our own party was split on, they can get another fluke like their one term clown in chief and start another circus. Yes, the Trump supporters are horrendous for a plethora of reasons, but hey, maybe if we shift that budget away from cops and the military and towards infrastructure like education and housing, people wouldn’t have to sacrifice their lives to make money, or they’d be educated enough to keep voting in good people who will actually make positive change! People need someone to fight for, not something to fight against. And you can thank the progressives, not the Centrists, for winning this election, as the Centrists lost those Senate races. Let me be clear: You cannot be in the middle or willing to compromise when the opposing side actively and openly climbs towards totalitarianism.
This is a step in the right direction, but it’s time to sprint. Are we really gonna let the tortoise McConnell beat us despite us having all the proper capabilities to beat him?
A final quote, not from JFK, but this time, from Albert Einstein, taken from his 1949 article titled “Why Socialism?”
“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.”
So, don’t take it from me, take it from one of the most brilliant minds who ever lived.
PS: So much for that wall.