November 07, 2020

Thinking ahead

 Well THAT was interesting. I'm hoping today's results will signify the end or at least the beginning of the end of America's latest dark journey, although I think we're not out of the woods yet.

I've been thinking a lot about my walk across Spain two years ago on the Camino de Santiago. More than once I passed through what were mass graves of people like me who were murdered by Franco's fascists during the Spanish civil war of the 1930s. For the last few years, I kept reminding myself that many admirable nations had gone on journeys as bad and much worse than ours but eventually emerged.

Still there's a lot to watch out for. Lot's of people, including myself and colleagues with the American Friends Service Committee, have been thinking about worst case election related scenarios, up to and  including the possibility of a coup. We of course are willing to accept an outcome that accepted all votes but were worried about other irregularities that might threaten the integrity of the eleciton, such as voter suppression and/or intimidation.

Assuming the constitutional anchor holds, the next big fight starts next week, when the freshly stacked deck of the US Supreme Court will consider taking away the health care of millions of Americans, to the delight of West Virginia's attorney general Patrick Morrisey.  There are any number of scenarios there.

Keeping that assumption, we might be in for gridlock in Congress but will at least be spared an American approximation of authoritarianism. 

West Virginia is going to be weird in any case. But, as my late friend and WV poet Norman Jordan, who with his wife Brucella operated an African American heritage museum in his home town of Ansted for years, wrote in a funny poem, I guess you can't have everything.

On the positive side, and assuming no funny stuff, we're going to see the end of a federal department of education, led by someone who never attended any institute of public education, trying to sabotage it. We're going to see the end of administrative policies aimed at taking away food assistance of millions of low income Americans and public school students. 

Assuming parts of the Affordable Care Act remain, we're likely to see the end of federal policies encouraging states to impose bogus work reporting requirements designed to deprive people of health care. We might at least see some harm reduction on the climate change front.

There's still so much to do. Many people with whom we disagree were our friends and allies not so many years ago. The country is still tragically divided. Even with a peaceful transition, many of the policies some of us hope to see will be blocked  until that is changed.

But I'll think about that tomorrow.

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