Monday, January 18

During this miserable and pathetic period, we must trust in a better future | United States politics


WWe’re caught in this interregnum, between a goofy guy trying to burn down the Republic and a normal Joe, wondering what kind of rabbit someone could pull out of a hat, waiting for a vaccine, trusting it will pass.

Control of the United States Senate is at stake as Georgia voters had to the polls on Tuesday. It took 10 days to get presidential results from Peach State. Now we are again waiting for news, this time on whether Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell will control the 2021 calendar. Meanwhile, the economy is reeling along with our constitutional order.

On Wednesday, Congress is ready to consider certifying the election results. A dirty dozen Republican senators, plus 140 members of the House of Representatives, have said they will challenge the results of certain indecisive states, despite Mitch McConnell’s insistence not to do so. They called this sedition in the days of Abe Lincoln.

You could ignore it all by dipping your had into the soccer games that you no longer care about. A little drink – this is the holidays after all and there is nothing else to do, there really hasn’t been anything to do since March, so why not?

All experts say that we must remain calm and safe. But the normal Joe doesn’t raise his right hand and commit to the Bible until January 20. Meanwhile, many strange things are sucked into the void. On Saturday, Trump threatened to criminally indict Georgia’s secretary of state, a Republican, for failing to prepare the 11,780 ballots the loser needs to win. Even Rudy Giuliani couldn’t imagine this kind of plan.

Good people in nursing homes don’t know when they might get their vaccine doses. We old folks at home are in the dark with them. We have no idea how to know when or where we will get the jab. The state is working on that, they tell us. So we sit here and drink anxiety with our morning toast.

In more ordinary times, these four-year weeks leading up to the inauguration are supposed to be a celebration of the longest-running democratic experiment in the world. Instead, the president has called in Washington to protest what they believe is the grand robbery. “It’s going to be wild!” the tweeter-in-chief tweeted. Savage is not what democracy needs right now.

Then there’s the so-called Covid relief from Congress. The unemployed bartender currently forced to choose between paying rent and paying for prescriptions probably needs a lot more than $600. Maybe Biden can argue a bit more, depending on how Georgia’s vote count goes, followed by recounts and court filings. Maybe the bar owner can get a second chance with a payroll protection grant, but maybe not. Everything seems to be out of our hands.

The Iowa legislature says its priorities are tax cuts, not supplementing unemployment benefits. You don’t know what will happen in a one-party government. How far will the Republicans go? It seems that there are no limits when our congressman calls to repudiate our electoral process.

Everything should be cleared up by January 20 if everything doesn’t blow up in the next week or two. Vaccines will appear sooner or later. Local budgets and property tax rates will be set, not without pain. Fox’s propaganda machine is cracking under pressure from the rest of the right-wing looneysphere. The Republican Party is transforming day by day. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska says Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is playing with fire, one young Midwest Ivy League Republican to another.

Are these the death throes of a discredited movement of narcissism and fear, or the birth of something worse that endures? The November elections suggest the former, but we are going to play hell to get there.

Until the Bidens sleep in the White House and not in a Delaware bunker, we sit in this helpless tumult. It is about to turn. I think this will pass. Pray for hope to prevail.

  • Art Cullen is editor of The Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He is a Guardian US columnist and author of the book Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland.

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