Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Morning After


Today, after the declaration and the speeches last night, I'm feeling very positive.  As a doctor, and as an aging man, I understand the relief when you finally see that turd circling the porcelain bowl, and you look forward to breathing freely and eating without pain.

Will we simply revert to the past, let norms reappear, the same old people?  I doubt it.  We will have scars, but we will also have muscle regrowth, maybe some bone regrowth, new tissues.  I generally don't like ID politics, but it has a place.  The women are right - little girls need to see someone like Kamala there, to reify in themselves that they are not second class citizens.  Same for the other identities who have been shadowed by discrimination.  It's important.  The new cabinet will be something!

The policies now will take center stage, and rightfully so.  That's the muscle regrowth.  But the bones of democracy need to be made stronger, so a smarter and craftier would-be fascist leader doesn't emerge.  This was my attempt to point a way toward that:  Or, if you just want the executive summary:  Trump gave us the MRI of where the holes are; now to fill them.

I would add to the list that I offered in the posts that we now need to act in selected places similar to what the Allies did in Germany post WW II – de-Nazification.  ICE, CBP, some police departments, most police unions.  That means identify, reeducate or remove, and indict where indicated.  Plus new rules, and especially new education.  My Assistant District Attorney stepson says it's the indoctrination.  They strip them down and then build them back up "the police way."  What that way is needs to change.

And for continuing entertainment and endorphin release, let the trials begin!  We need a balanced commission to spotlight all the depredations without being susceptible to charges of partisanship.  I want an American Nuremberg!  I want a Trump wing at Sing-Sing, or Leavenworth. Nothing say wrong better than jail.

And we'll have to find a way to deal with pardons.  I wonder if my suggestion of a constitutional amendment to require that pardons to bear the co-signature of the Speaker of the House, and to forbid pardons in the lame-duck period, will get legs.  Long shot, but desirable.  

The new policies that emerge will be different and leftier than before.  The most urgent is COVID-19, where scientists will take over, CDC will be repopulated, and a sustained march to federal drums will ultimately work. In the meanwhile more focused, nuanced, and intelligent economic support will be needed. We'll have to see if the Senate is willing without adding poison pills. It will be messy and depressing, but we'll have to remember how it used to be, and bless the change.

That's the urgent. The ultimately most important to deal with is climate change. Here, Biden will have to find a way to package the general idea of Green New Deal – making money by doing the right thing – without the lefty label. He'll have to convince energy companies that they are indeed energy companies and not oil and gas companies. If he helps them find a way to make money doing the right thing, they will bend the legislative branch the way they always have. Exxon solar panels installed by newly trained rural laborers could go a long way.

It's interesting that the most urgent and the most important – COVID and climate change – both turn on the same hinge – yes, it's important, but what about the economy? Ways will be found with proper leadership, which is what's been missing. Grab them by their money and their hearts and minds will follow.

For general domestic policy, I remember what Martin Amis said in a book on Russia decades ago.  He listened to an older Russian woman who was listening to the young, who said, "They are saying, no one should be rich.  When I was young, we said, no one should be poor."  When I listen to the vitriol Elizabeth Warren spills when she talks about the rich, her eyes flashing, I understand what she must have experienced when she looked at the terrible policies of selfishness and the self-congratulation of the money lenders, but nonetheless, I am repelled and fearful.  Vitriol and bile do not good policy make.  I'm glad it was Biden.

For a general guide, I think it makes sense to update the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want.  My policy guide could be called:

The Policy of Nobody

Nobody should be a second class citizen.

Nobody should be without health care.

Nobody should lack education because of money.

Nobody should be food insecure.

Nobody should lack shelter.

Nobody should lack possibilities.

The future should be good.

Budd Shenkin