Op-Ed: The Fight Isn’t Over, But Let’s Make Sure We’re Fighting The Right Folks
By Sam Youngman & Adam Parkhomenko
We were right between “fuck you” and “Joe Manchin” when we saw something wonderful.
There was Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation’s first woman vice president, first Black vice president and first South Asian-American vice president, swearing in Lloyd Austin, the nation’s first Black Secretary of Defense.
We didn’t know how to feel. Here we were in the middle of cussing a Democrat who appeared to be standing between a hurting America and real relief when something really really good happened.
Just as we were shaking that off and ready to get back to cussing and fuming, things got even more confusing.
Chuck Schumer beat back Mitch McConnell’s latest attempt at obstruction, finally securing the ability to start leading the Senate under Democratic control.
And that was after the articles of impeachment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed at lightning speed had been carried over to the Senate.
And then it hit us — the people we fought for and voted for are getting shit done. Big shit! It just doesn’t feel like it because the mess they have to clean up is so big.
Before he had even been in office a week, Biden had overturned the Muslim ban and the zero-tolerance family separation policy. He’d ordered 200 million vaccines, ended private prisons for DOJ use, laid out concrete plans to fight white supremacy and racism — including killing that grotesque 1776 report — confronted Putin over half a dozen critical national security issues, rejoined the WHO and the Paris climate accord, announced a massive relief bill that would drop a giant bomb on income inequality and child poverty, helped a few amazing people smash some barriers and and oh yeah brought his awesome dogs for us to all adore.
And that’s not even a comprehensive list. Joe is bringing real change, and he’s doing it with urgency. It’s just not easy to see when the problems are so big and the progress doesn’t feel fast enough. It’s more than that though. It’s that we’re still dealing with the remnants and trauma of Trumpism, we’re still on edge and we’re still bracing for punches and eager to throw some back.
After four years of political combat and endless assaults on everything we hold dear, some of us are still in a fighting posture. And as far we’re concerned that’s a good thing for the most part. After all, the bad guys are still spoiling for a fight.
Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are still in the Senate working against America. Kevin McCarthy has decided it wasn’t Trump who was to blame for the terrorist attack on the Capitol but instead the whole country. And Mitch McConnell cowered behind Rand Paul as he voted to end the impeachment trial before it even started and give Trump yet another free pass.
We’ve been through hell these last four years, everyone is pretty raw and the only messages we’ve received from Republicans so far is that the terrorist attack they incited that got a cop killed wasn’t that big a deal and they’re going to continue to worship at the altar of Trump.
How could a good Democrat possibly exhale or refrain from directing f-bombs at the gentleman from West Virginia?
There have been moments these last few days when it would have been easy to look at the continued Republican obnoxiousness and treason, the endless pandemic winter or the just the size and scope of the challenges in front of us and to wonder if we even really won anything.
But we did. We won everything. And things are slowly but surely changing.
Our leaders — Pelosi, Biden, Schumer — have earned our patience for now. It’s just that after four years of drinking from an open firehose of horrifying shit, we’re all out of patience and just this side of desperate for some accountability, some comeuppance or just some good ol’ fashioned fucking vengeance.
We have to remember that we’re the smart side that actually believes in governing, and real governing that creates real change takes time. Something that can be done in a day can usually be undone in a day too. It’s why Republicans couldn’t just get rid of Obamacare, and it’s why Trump’s wall is only partially erect (Yeah, we did). It is a good and awful system, but we’re the side that believes in it and doesn’t put horns on our head and attack the Capitol.
In other words, we’re not Trump. It’s easy to break shit. It’s hard to put it back together. Especially if one were inclined to build back better.
Tragically, millions of Americans don’t have time to wait. For many, time has run out. And for some, this was true long before the pandemic came along. This is not the first time the reality of suffering Americans has collided with the reality of a government that is built to sprint at a snail’s pace. It is a problem that is only compounded by the relentless awfulness and obstruction of the Republican Party, and that seems like a good damn direction in which to point our fighting stance.
In the meantime, let’s give our people a little leeway and get their backs as they step into the leadership voids and start turning this big boat around.
We still have the same enemies. That hasn’t changed. And impeachment will be a good reminder of that.
As a country, we’ll be able to reckon with the evil that attacked our Capitol and killed Officer Brian Sicknick. There will be a trial even if we might not get the accountability we want and that our democracy demands.
Then we can go back to the painfully slow and important work of cleaning up the messes left for us, making this a more perfect union and combatting Trumpism.
And if there’s time, maybe some cussing at U.S. senators.
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