Reasons to remain optimistic

Because a friend called me Mr. Sunshine the other day, with some irony (for one thing, I avoid the sun, I hate that life source which has caused me multiple operations to remove cancers from my nose) I feel an obligation to set out a few reasons to feel hopeful and to act with optimism and determination.   Particularly about taking those two senate seats in Georgia, the ones that will allow the democratic process to move forward without the deliberate, cynical obstruction that McConnell and his 51-49 will insist upon.

Terror is scary as hell — obviously, it’s terror. The threat of terror can be terrifying, as it is intended to be.   When an angry, powerful person promises an army of 50,000 armed loyalists making sure there’s no (wink wink) “voter fraud” at certain polling places — it’s very scary.   It didn’t happen, anywhere really.  There were no crowds of Proud Boys standing by, or Bugaloo Boys, or Game Boys, few of the best members of the Klan, very few of the finest of American Nazis.   The goon squads, the death squads, the terrifying, bellowing armies of the night did not appear.   A beautiful thing, speaking well of our nation, and something to be happy about.   

ONE:  We withstood the threat of goon squads intimidating voters to support a would-be tyrant (and tens of millions lined up to vote in spite of the threats)

The goon squads were as absent as the predicted rioting, invocation of the Insurrection Act, martial law, counter-insurgency forces deployed in “anarchist jurisdictions” and the rest of a would-be dictator’s terrifying fever dreams.  Of course Trump is going to do everything possible to set a thousand shit fires before he leaves office, and will certainly set hundreds, but the very worst did not come to pass, which speaks well of our experiment in democracy here.

TWO:  In spite of the relentless pressure on millions of our fellow citizens, there has been no wave of crime during this awful pandemic

The pandemic is terrifying.  Under the best government control, it would be a hard road protecting millions from a worldwide disease that is airborne, highly contagious, incurable and potentially deadly.  Under our federal government’s laissez-faire approach (that’s French for “let the powerless fuck themselves, ehn?“) a quarter of a million of our fellow citizens who didn’t need to die horrible deaths died unspeakably awful deaths.   Our neighbors and loved ones continue to get sick, thousands die.  The stress of it is sometimes hard to bear. 

We have an administration coming in that will make every effort to have us all follow the best medical advice to control the spread until everyone can be vaccinated, but the beginning of their work could be another 100,000 deaths from now, as the disease continues surging uncontrolled in many parts of the country.   

There is only this reason to be hopeful at this moment in regard to the pandemic (yes, the vaccines will be great, too, but in a few months, at the earliest — if you and your loved ones live that long):  under incredible pressure, terror and increasing desperation, Americans, particularly ones forced into official poverty and threatened with imminent homeless, have not been committing violent crimes of desperation. 

 Think of that for a minute, this lack of wild lawlessness says something very good about the basic humanity of our people here.   A corollary — people tend to help each other during public emergencies, after catastrophes, when trouble is worst, Americans always have too.  

THREE:   The incumbent Republican president lost the race in faithfully Republican Georgia.   We can get two senators to make it 50-50.

Trump’s open (and clandestine) attempts at nationwide voter suppression, although many and mighty, did not manage to swing the election to the unhinged would-be strong man.  In spite of an open criminal conspiracy to suppress mail-in voting, and widely stoked fear about intimidating in-person voters, record numbers lined up, sometimes for 8 hours, to personally cast enough votes to indisputably vote the “You’re Fired” guy out by the largest margin since incumbent Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.   

In Georgia, where the current governor was elected by a 55,000 vote margin (after purging 107,000 eligible voters who were likely to vote against him — among the more than 500,000 voters he’d purged prior to the gubernatorial election he supervised), where voter suppression is practiced fairly openly, the anti-Trump candidate managed to eke out a victory. 

 Reason to be optimistic: Americans, including a large contingent of Georgians understand exactly how crucial a 50-50 senate is to the continuation of democracy.  Every reactionary, evangelical and racist in the great state of Georgia will be driving people to the polls to vote Republican– millions will go to cast their votes for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.   Warnock led Loeffler by 7 points on Nov. 3, though he didn’t approach the 50% needed to win in Georgia [1]. Ossoff and Perdue were close, Perdue had a 2% lead (and thankfully 2/10ths of a percent less than the required 50%). 

Democracy can win this close runoff in Georgia.  There are activists, led by Stacey Abrams (who registered tens of thousands of voters in Georgia) who is mobilizing many of them, bringing out the vote, particularly those voters who never registered.  It’s going to be close in Georgia, two votes crucial for democracy or continued corrupt government dysfunction and obstruction.   

More on what you and I can do to bring out the vote in Georgia tomorrow. 

Love beats hate in the end.  Believe it, because subscribing to the opposing view leads inexorably to the end of all hope for anything better, ever.   Things that look hopeless often get better, if enough work is done.  The work starts now.

[1] 

On Nov. 3, Warnock topped a field of 20 candidates running in a “jungle primary” special election that included Loeffler, who Gov. Brian Kemp appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson in late 2019. Warnock received 32.9 percent of the vote, while Loeffler got 25.9 percent. Her main Republican challenger, Rep. Doug Collins, received 19.9 percent.

source

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