I think former Obama Aide, Van Jones, said it best, “The Democratic political victory might still come. But I believe people wanted a moral victory tonight.”
After 4 years of an abominable president, democrats felt that a resounding moral victory was not only needed, but deserved. However four years
after this awful nightmare began, as the vote trickled in the country, democrats felt the all too familiar feeling: this is all out of our hands.
And how could we not feel that way, swathes of hardcore, card-carrying California democrats are forced to sit in living rooms drained of all hope, hoping with everything they’ve got that more people voted in Grand Rapids than did last cycle.
But alas, every four years half the country is disappointed. But this time it is different: not because Trump is a uniquely bad president (which he is,) not because his financial rhetoric disproportionately serves the ultra-wealthy, not because of the truly inexcusable things he has said about women, but because fundamentally something is broken within our democracy.
Our current system awards small rural states with an incredible amount of both electoral power, and sway within congress; these states tend to be more conservative. But, importantly, a tendency towards fiscal conservatism is extremely important to a healthy democracy; too liberal an economic agenda will pull any nation into too much debt too quickly and fiscal conservatives provide a necessary check on the grand designs of a liberal government.
But America now is in a predicament of our own design, the Founding Fathers provided a framework to govern a growing nation. Because our natural wealth was immense and untapped, they were concerned with how to manage ever-expanding coffers. America took advantage of its system and built up inconceivable wealth and influence all while maintaining the highest standard of living. All because of the foresight of the Founding Fathers.
But this is not where we are right now, our wealth is being outpaced by a booming China, our standard of living is quickly being overtaken by European democratic socialists, our global influence has been squandered by decades of mismanaged foreign engagement, and our democracy is crumbling under the pressures of our own division.
We are no longer the underdog, nor a nation that started from scratch and is now on top, we are a world power slated for decline, and it’s time we all start acting like it. We need to deal with the most pressing threats to our democracy first.
We cannot stand for foreign election interference, direct or through misinformation; we cannot stand for racial inequity; and we cannot function without an unbiased media.
Foreign interference hurts us no matter what, and under a respectable administration, all accounts of it would be looked at with utmost scrutiny. Empowering disenfranchised Americans is the fastest way to build a booming economy. And the presence of an unbiased media gives the people their single largest check on government, the war on the media that President Trump has waged has put that check in the most precarious position it has ever been in.
We must deal with these holes in our democracy not to maintain our position as a world’s power, not to fill our coffers and regain the title of “the wealthiest nation,” nor to bolster our military, we need to fix our democracy so we can deal with our most important battle so far.
Climate Change is the most pressing threat to all of our futures, with four more years of deregulation on climate we will see disastrous consequences for every American. We are running headlong into the reality where farmers can’t grow; natural disasters continue to get worse and worse; and the number of environmental refugees grows drastically.
Without a decisive win in the White House and broad control of both houses by an extremely aggressive environmentalist coalition, the United States will always be behind in climate policy.
And that is why the holes in American democracy are so important. The free and fair system of the 1700’s was not built to the specifications of our moment in history. We need a government that is less focused on maintaining what we have and more focused on building a better system for tomorrow. A government willing to take big risks, to bet on Americans, from Mid-West manufacturing to Silicon Valley engineering; a government that wants to be ahead of the game when it comes to everything including renewable energy; a government that will fight for the rights of all of its citizens; a nation that booms with pride and worthy exceptionalism; a nation that offers those huddled masses a dream brought in liberty and steeped in centuries of steadfast devotion to the idea that the opportunity for prosperity is a right.
But we don’t live in that America.
We live in an America where the stakes for both parties feel insurmountable, where compromise is virtually impossible, and both parties are more interested in stopping the other than they are in making truly positive change.
But at the end of this cycle, when all the votes are all counted, the lawsuits settled, and the Electoral College has voted, it will be ever the more clear that no one won. In the end, we will just have one lonely old man who can’t fix the system that elected him.
As young people, as Americans, as the future, we need something bigger.Share