Think back to those heady days of 2017. Think about the righteous anger of a people relearning what it means to be subjected to minority rule. Think of the fury directed at the buffoonish demagoguery of a wannabe strongman. Remember the wide-eyed possibilities we’d dreamt up.
Maybe Michelle would run. Or Oprah! One of these hotshot senators could do the trick, or maybe we’d finally let Bernie take a crack at it!
Now think back to the relief of November 2018. That feeling that you weren’t crazy. That reassuring sense that help was on the way, that the cavalry was on the horizon.
Now look at a photo of Joe Biden. Fuck. Try to calm down. Fail. This is, apparently, our guy.
It’s a very strange sensation, to watch the most important primary of our lifetime just kind of slip into the background. I was never a Bernie backer but his politics are closer to mine than Biden’s are, and I can’t imagine how surreal this has been for the Berners. Years spent organizing and rallying and volunteering and dreaming and then… Clyburn endorses Biden, half the field drops out and endorses him over the course of 15 minutes, Super Tuesday’s a sweep, and it all ends with a whimper as a pandemic ravages the globe.
Ok. Cool. Fuck. It’s a little bit like if your smart friend vouched for some guy 12 years ago and now, on the strength of that recommendation, that dude is responsible for saving the fucking world.
Again, it’s cool.
But after all that, we have to take a few breaths. Based on a cursory knowledge of the age demographics of our subscribers, I’m gonna guess that much like me, Joe wasn’t your first choice. Or second. Or really in your top five. And this isn’t going to be a lecture about how you have a responsibility to vote for him anyway, or how entertaining third parties is a form of privilege (read a very good piece on that here though).
This is just to say that it’s really fucking strange that the American experiment—the world’s oldest democracy, having survived world wars, pandemics, depressions, a civil war, and approximately 350 years of refusal to live up to its founding principles—now hinges on the capabilities of a guy we thought would be remembered at best as a funny uncle to the American people and at worst as a creepy uncle to the American women.
But that’s where we’re at. The world is ending, the president’s a neofascist, climate change is hurtling at us with growing speed, and a coalition that most young people aren’t part of picked Joe Fucking Biden to save us. That’s how democracy works. It wasn’t rigged, it’s not unfair. More people thought he should be the guy than any other.
Godspeed, Joe. I guess.