Common Dreams - November 16, 2020

Americans are hurting. States turning blue on a map doesn't fix the eviction crisis. Flipping Arizona doesn't provide healthcare for the farmworkers who are risking their lives to pick our food in the midst of a global pandemic. More rational rhetoric won't raise families out of poverty.

Like many Americans, I felt relief when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidency. White supremacists will no longer have a spokesperson in the White House; immigrant children will be reunited with their parents; the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Climate Accords.

Finally, after four long years of gross misconduct that posed an existential threat to the welfare of working people, the Trump era was coming to a close.

But, I'll be honest—my relief didn't last long.

President-elect Joe Biden is a decent man who promised to restore the "soul" of our nation, and bring sanity and civility to Washington. 

But you can't eat civility.

Americans are hurting. States turning blue on a map doesn't fix the eviction crisis. Flipping Arizona doesn't provide healthcare for the farmworkers who are risking their lives to pick our food in the midst of a global pandemic. More rational rhetoric won't raise families out of poverty.

I was raised by a single mom. We lost our home to foreclosure when I was growing up. And I can tell you: the 8 out of 10 Americans who live paycheck to paycheck are not interested in calls to restore civility. They are interested in a living wage, affordable rent, and the possibility of a college education that doesn't bury them in debt.

Going back to "normal"—returning to Obama-era policies—will not change the lives of poor and working-class families.

As Nina Turner aptly put it: "being better than Trump is a low bar."

President-elect Biden is right: the ugliness that Donald Trump represents is not who we are.

But we have to reckon with the reality that 70 million people voted for the Republican on the presidential ticket, while also passing a $15 minimum wage in Florida, supporting the decriminalization of marijuana across the country, and registering more than 1 million voters through the Black Lives Matter movement.

Biden's win was delivered by those with the most to lose, namely Black and Brown grassroots leaders who have been working—relentlessly—for years to educate, recruit, and organize their communities.

Those leaders didn't vote for Joe Biden as a favor to Democrats in power. They did it hoping to materially improve their own lives.

Now, the Biden administration must make good on its end of the bargain. ...
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