For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to make my peace with the notion of a President Biden. I don’t begrudge President Trump’s efforts in the courts to possibly change the results—the Democrats took similar measures after the 2016 election—but I doubt he’ll succeed.
I still haven’t made my peace yet.
It would help if I could believe that Biden won fair and square. If Biden was this wonderful candidate, so much better than Trump, the election should have played out as a shining example of how elections are non-partisan in their execution. But that isn’t what happened.
An election is supposed to be a social experiment: you poll the voters and the results are what they are. But Biden’s win feels like an engineered result: from Biden’s non-campaign, to the suppression of news items unfavorable to him, to making President Trump look like a blithering idiot at every turn, to the post-Election-Day shenanigans, it’s happening by design. The fix is in.
But if I suspend disbelief for a bit and presume that what happened was in fact a free and fair election, that’s even more troubling. It means that the electorate has decided that we’d rather not be a free country anymore. It’s better for the government to take care of us: we can’t manage it ourselves. Then again, if you vote for Republicans, you must be an evil racist.
It took me a while (a couple weeks after Election Day!) to realize that this year’s Presidential election isn’t really about Donald Trump or Joe Biden: if the candidates had kept their personalities and Twitter habits and families and foibles, and traded policy positions, the news media would be going on about how wonderful Donald Trump is, and I’d have voted for Biden. The difference is more stark than it has been in any election in my life, even going back to when I was three and didn’t know what a President was.
A vote for Trump is a vote to stay true to the ideas the United States started with over 200 years ago, ideas which made us the most prosperous and successful country on Earth. We haven’t always been true to those ideas, but have so far followed them more often than not. In general, the difficulties we’ve faced have been in proportion to our divergence from them.
A vote for Biden is a vote to reinvent the United States as a corporatist, authoritarian nanny state bent on telling us all what to do—for our own good!—and making our lives miserable if we don’t do it. Big business will still be free to do as it wishes, but small businesses and independent thinking are too disruptive and will be sat on.
Nevertheless, the reinventors won: now what?
When I imagine the worst, I anticipate that within two years I will be dead, destitute, imprisoned, or will have my life changed in some other way for the worst. But that isn’t realistic: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not the Khmer Rouge. I expect that taxes will go up, particularly corporate taxes, so I will go back to running my business not to be profitable.
More practically, things will slowly get worse. If you weren’t fearful and suffering before, you will be made so now. The ongoing Covid emergency won’t end, even with a vaccine, because it serves the purposes of the leadership to control the population.
But we can only be fearful and suffer with our own consent. Abraham Lincoln remarked that ‘most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ For my part, I’ll carry on, trying to eat well, sleep well, and not stress out over events. And I’ll enjoy, as much as I can, the cool parts of my work and the companionship of those around me.
That’s all I can recommend for anyone, for now.