The Privilege of Voting for the “Safe” Candidate

At a time that we have an absolute danger in our White House…we don’t need a revolution, we need someone who can fix what has been broken over the last four years.
~A Democrat on Facebook

Now that the Establishment has, yes really, thrown its weight behind Joe Biden, the signal has been received and trumpeted by the media, and many Democrats are falling in line. Is Trump an absolute danger? Absolutely. Is Joe Biden the answer? Certainly not. Let me explain.

Joe Biden is seen as the “safe” choice by many. He wont threaten Republicans; indeed, they share many policy ideals. He won’t threaten corporate America; he’s a safe ally. And so he won’t really bring about needed change beyond window-dressing social policies that he once voted against. I’m not trying to undermine how critical those are. We see how Trump’s Evangelical administration are trying to oppress a number of communities, including LGBTQ, black, hispanic, and Muslim people. While reversing those policies will help many, Joe’s conservative approach to economic justice will not slow the rise of extremists, particularly on the right. When Joe cuts your Social Security (by raising the retirement age, say), he won’t tweet about it, but it will be painful nonetheless.

People who say, “We don’t need a revolution” are talking about themselves. This is class privilege. If you’re middle to upper middle class, have a 401k that’s doing well, own your home, and are basically comfortable, then you can afford to say that. Why rock the boat? Let’s just get the Orange Tweeter out of office and worry about the rest another day. In the meantime, the people who deal with food insecurity on a daily basis, struggle to pay the rent or live out of their cars, work three jobs to survive, or go bankrupt trying to pay for insulin or that emergency room visit continue to suffer, and it never gets better.

For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Donald Trump didn’t come from nowhere. Neither did the New Deal. The Depression was so bad that the people basically said, “You’re going to fix this economic inequality, or we’re going to change the system.” The New Deal was the compromise that, by Franklin Roosevelt’s own admission, saved capitalism. And the capitalists have been tearing it down ever since.

There is real pain and suffering in this country. Millennials are in so much debt and have such low prospects that many are putting off starting a family. They are not doing as well as their parents did, and their parents aren’t doing as well as their parents did, as a whole. The opioid crisis is a symptom of this despair, as is the falling average lifespan. The suicide rate is rising, particularly among white men. Voting for the “safe candidate” who will do nothing to address these problems is the modern equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.”

If we continue to do nothing substantive to curb the vast economic injustice being inflicted on American citizens, the debt will come due. When the establishment continues to say, “Wait,” eventually the people grow tired of doing that and advocate for very radical change. This is how Donald Trump won the presidency. His promise to “burn it all down” sounded good to many disaffected voters. He even offered up some scapegoats to blame: Muslims, Hispanic immigrants, and others. Some people grasped onto that because the establishment (both Republican and Democrat) have not offered any real alternatives to this continual decline. If democracy can’t do it, then maybe fascism can!

You say we don’t need a revolution, but if we don’t do something soon, a revolution will come anyway. And it won’t be pretty.

Artist N.Kravchenko. Painting ”The revolution is coming“ / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Writer, painter, cat fancier, troublemaker, democratic socialist, & antifascist.

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