Lately I’ve been reading people who are upset at the state of the world, and are angry that it won’t change fast enough. It’s absolutely true that Joe Biden isn’t the guy who is going to change everything. It’s true that the Democrats have done more than their share to get us to where we are, and have a vested interest in not shaking the boat too much. It’s true that they won’t be leading the charge to overturn the institutions that have gotten them to where they are, as most of them have done pretty well under the current system.
Given that disappointment, many are falling prey to the “it doesn’t matter” attitude about elections. Why bother voting for Biden when he won’t do nearly enough to make the country as good as it should be?
Because improving this country is a journey, not a single step. The end game may be an ideal that we can never reach, but we need to keep moving toward it. This November, one of two old white men will be elected President for the next 4 years. Neither of them is exactly what this country needs. But it should be clear that one of them will move the country closer to where we need it to be than the other. We’ve seen how disastrous the Trump years have been, and there is no reason to think that he will mellow or see the error of his ways if he were to have a second term. He has always shown us exactly who he is.
We have to have a much longer viewpoint than just the next election. One election will never make enough change; it is a much, much slower process, with the old two steps forward, one step back dynamic. Remember how exciting it was watching Barack Obama take the oath of office, thinking that a new era of racial equality was upon us? Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out. But it did provide a glimmer of hope that will keep us moving toward our goals.
We need to start electing people who want to make radical changes. AOC is one of the young voices who is saying the right things; we need to get more people like her into office. It’s telling that she is characterized in the press as an “extremist”, yet nearly all of her main policies enjoy a large majority of approval among the nation as a whole. By electing more and more people who aren’t afraid to call out the faults in the current system, we can make some actual progress in creating a better system.