The Crisis Is Not Over

Published at 08:42 on 21 January 2021

Not by a long shot. Everything that Biden talked about being an issue in his inaugural speech (e.g. COVID-19, climate change, race relations, lies/polarization) is still very much an issue, and none of these issues have magically vanished.

All of these issues still threaten our major institutions, and worst of all, those institutions are themselves an issue. They are undemocratic, because they were designed to be undemocratic: they were designed by white, male property owners for white, male property owners. They have mechanisms like an unproportionally-allocated Senate and the Electoral College which were explicitly designed to limit the influence of popular power.

It gets worse: not only do those undemocratic institutions work to limit the power of left-wing politics, they fail to work to limit the power of extremist right-wing politics. Perversely (and counter to original intent), they enable it: Trump would have never won in 2016 in a system that reflects the will of the popular majority.

So the system will continue to resist any attempts to change either itself, or the other crises that it needs to get busy on addressing. COVID-19 is likely an exception to this rule; Biden should be able to address it mostly by fully applying already-existing anti-pandemic tools. It also may be possible to punish powerful individuals responsible for the failed coup attempt (the question is whether the will to do so can be found inside the system).

But as for the other crises, they will continue to work to destabilize the general situation, and the mechanics of the overall system will work to see that right-wing voices get disproportionate influence and power.

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