The Obligatory Election Essay

This is probably going to be shorter than most of the pieces I plan to write for here. I wasn’t actually going to have this be my second essay for the site. I hadn’t actually written anything for the 2020 election. I think that was partially because I had no idea how it was going to go, the thought of it stressed me out, and I also didn’t want to jinx anything or tempt hubris by making predictions. I’ve been focused on just surviving the election itself before doing anything else, stocking up on food and alcohol and waiting out the storm in my room the last few days.

Now it appears Joe Biden will in fact be the next President of the United States. There are still ways Trump and his supporters could try and rat-fuck this situation, so we’ll see if he goes out with a bang or a whimper in terms of his reaction to all this – and if the chuds and the fashies limp away for now or cause trouble. But currently, it appears that Biden has solidly won.

I won’t get into my personal feelings on Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Democratic Party as a whole in this piece. Needless to say, my feelings are a mixed bag and predominately negative. That being said, I still think beating Trump is a good thing and anyone who somehow thinks this is a loss for leftism and that a Biden Presidency is just as bad as a Trump one really needs to log off for a bit and take a breather and reassess things. Yes, we still have a lot of work to do. Yes, we need to keep organizing. Yes, it will be a hard and long process. But for now, I’ll take this victory – and it is in fact a victory. It shows that things are not destined to always get worse.

Sure, this election has its discouraging parts. Like the fact that, even though Biden still won by a healthy margin, over 70 million people – more than who voted for Barrack Obama in his landslide 2008 victory against John McCain – still voted for Trump despite everything he’s done in the last four years. Or the fact there are now QAnon believers who will be sitting in Congress.

But there were good things for the left as well. Out of the 29 candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America this election cycle, 21 won their races – including two sitting Members of Congress and two new candidates. A number of progressive ballot measures also passed, such as the $15 minimum wage in Florida.  This all happened despite a Democratic party who consistently wishes to write off the left wing – and that looks like it won’t be changing any time soon. While there is good reason to be discouraged about certain outcomes, we also have a lot to be happy about, celebrate, and motivate us to further action going forward.

All that being said, this is supposed to be a blog about foreign policy and national security so now I should actually get to that part instead of still rambling about domestic politics.

As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had said before the results of the election were finally called, no matter what the outcome was we were going to need to keep organizing and making our voices heard and power known – not just for future elections, but for other important causes and struggles. This is all very true, and to that I’m taking the chance to tack on my rallying cry of  “please don’t forget to work on foreign policy and national security too!”

I wasn’t actually expecting to harp on this point again so soon after my initial essay setting the stage for this blog, so I apologize if this sounds repetitive. But, this is going to be a repetitive point anyway throughout all my writing here, and I felt I was squandering an opportunity if I didn’t make the most of these events while they were still fresh in people’s minds.

Leftists are already thinking about the future and what we’ll need to do to strengthen the movement and make this country and the world a better place. That inclusion of “the world” is not just a throwaway line. If this election made one thing obvious, it’s that the rest of the world was hanging on it even more than they usually do during a U.S. Presidential race. There was and still is real fear about what comes next here in America and how it may affect people where they live too. Both for good and for ill, we’ve seen how events in the United States can ripple around the world. For ill, in how an off the cuff Trump tweet or comment can cause crises, and for good when we saw how movements like Black Lives Matter spread across the globe.

As leftists continue to fight for real change for the better in this country, they need to learn more about the rest of the world and how our actions impact it. This will need to go beyond the ways those who do think about this conceptualize it – usually along the lines of solidarity with movements and activists in other countries. Leftists will also need to learn about and better understand diplomacy, statecraft, intelligence, and even war – all things that we will still need to deal with if we ever really hope to govern someday, as they’re not going away.

National security and war subjects in particular leftists will need to need to become more knowledgeable on going forward. These have been realms that have typically been dominated by groups such as tankies, campists, and disarmament proponents – which I’ve already ranted about before so I’ll leave alone for now. I understand why many leftists either lack knowledge in this area, are uncomfortable with it, or both. But that has to change. When I spoke of the people around the world, worried about the outcome of the election, I wasn’t speaking just about those who were afraid of what might happen to them, but what may not happen. There are also marginalized groups fighting against oppression, or smaller states at risk from larger, aggressive, authoritarian neighbors. If we are going to be good leftists in a situation where we can actually govern, we will need to know how to wield all the levers of power and that will include war.

Likewise, leftists need to better understand the military and its servicemembers. Like with war in general, I understand why many leftists often take a hostile attitude towards the military and its personnel, given some of the actions of the military in the past. But leftists need to understand how important it is to bring servicemen and women into the fold as they have done with other groups. We need to understand the challenges and struggles that military personnel face, like how they are recruited to begin with and how they are treated. We need to understand how valuable their perspectives and skills are, and how important engaging with them will be for reshaping and rebuilding both the country and the military to be better and more just in the future. Keep in mind, many more servicemen and women are sympathetic to the causes we fight for than you think. After all, Bernie Sanders beat every other candidate for President – including Donald Trump – in political donations from active duty troops during the primaries. The military is something we will still need if ever elect our theoretical President Leftist. We need to put in the work now to understand it and its service members and start to change it for the better.

Alright, its late on Saturday night, I’ve had a bit to drink, and I’m tired, so I’m gonna cut things off here. I promise the next one of these will be a more in-depth analysis of something different, but I just wanted to get these thoughts off my chest while everything was still fresh. Aside from posting this essay, I’m spending the rest of the weekend tuning out from politics and giving myself time and space to be happy. I highly suggest the rest of you do the same thing.

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