In setting our expectations of what has happened and what is to come, it’s helpful to understand that the Trump governing cadre (which enfolds an entire infrastructure) has an interest in democratic institutions only to the extent that it can manipulate them to consolidate power on behalf of itself (private global-scale corporate interests).
It has no morality, in that any appeal to any ethic is solely for the purpose of manipulating the voting blocs that constitute an electoral college and legislative majority.
It has no interest in public service. Its guiding principle is not civic engagement, care for the broader good, or the needs of the country and its people.
It has no compassion for the vulnerable. It despises those who are not wealthy and powerful – and is unconcerned with their welfare. Their lives (our lives) are disposable.
It rejects critique and human growth because it considers these to be vulnerabilities.
It regards the Earth solely as a marketable commodity and takes pride in dismantling any protections for natural ecosystems.
It has no interest in truth, only in producing and selling narratives that will get it what it wants.
It’s a manipulative, carefully-crafted scam – a very successful one – that is rapidly eroding the vestiges of civil society and the democratic norms of American governance.
It’s a deliberate response to hard-won early- and mid-20th century advancements in ensuring that civil society and democratic norms actually include everybody, not just property-owning white men.
The more that we can understand it for what it is – the more we grapple with its realities, the better we can decide how to act in the face of it.
Joe Biden is essentially a moderate Republican, as were most of the Senate candidates on whom Democrats pinned their hopes. Electing them would barely budge the needle on this country’s unchecked sprint not only to the right, but to neoliberal-capital authoritarianism over the last 40 years (though it would nonetheless be a significantly less harmful outcome).
It’s a bleak assessment, but it’s a realistic one. That’s where we start from. And – no matter what happens – if we are to figure out (1) how best to protect ourselves and other vulnerable people and the Earth and (2) how to devise new strategies of effective resistance to evil’s harms, as well as new strategies for human and ecosystem flourishing, we do well to work from a realistic picture.
Our equanimity must come in part from our capacity to face this reality.