Dear President Biden,
I’m still checking in with the news a couple of times a day, but I’ve been making the check-ins briefer in an effort not to let myself get lost in the various mucky rabbit holes of our body politic. We’re a flipping mess. And yes, we would absolutely be more of a mess had DJT been re-elected, but any illusions that things would shift decidedly towards hunky-dory with your win have long been dispelled.
It’s great that the infrastructure package may well be enacted, but our lack of movement on voting rights, gun violence, global warming, and the steady ratcheting up of violence– over masks, over Christmas parades, over Black lives – all feel like The System is full steam ahead operating as designed. Scared, exhausted people are likely to tamp down change efforts and retreat in the face of rageful, violent people who righteously or cynically (or both) assert their power. And, all of us have trouble seeing that we’re just tools, cogs that are helping The System operate as designed.
You said as much the other day in your comments about Rittenhouse’s acquittal (as relayed by CNBC):.
““I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said outside of the White House. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it,” the president said.
Shortly afterward, the White House issued a written statement by Biden.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” Biden said.”
It’s telling that you initially stressed how The System is operating as designed — “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it” only tossing out the “feeling angry and concerned” bit later in writing, no doubt after your handlers told you how hurt and pissed off your base was likely to be over your first run at it.
I get it – The System really did work as designed in this situation (and it’s likely to work as designed in trial of the three men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, but we’ll see). The stand your ground self-defense laws in WI (and elsewhere) are flexible enough that a White male teen who illegally possesses and carries an automatic rifle across state lines and then claims he shot three (“non-victim” per the judge’s orders ) people because he feared for his life is a legal, plausible defense. The System worked – and works – as designed.
We do the “blah, blah, blah” talk about incremental changes to address our globe warming ways while the Man in Charge – you – lobbies to release extra gas and oil reserves just to tide us over for a bit and bring those pesky, poll-killing, prices down (). The System is working as designed.
We push ‘Black Friday’ shopping sprees to goose the economy because it’s the American way and our system – The System – absolutely depends on keeping all us hamsters on the acquisition/discard wheel. Never mind that it keeps us stupid and trashes the planet – hey, it’s a good deal, can’t pass it up.
I know I’m being snide and I’m a little bit sorry. Actually, I’m a lot sorry – I really just want to write to you about the two eagles we saw this past weekend and the spawning salmon and the copious amounts of black mud Dachshund dog, Buddy brought home with him from the hike to see the salmon. I started this letter with such good intentions to keep it light and I just couldn’t.
Maybe next time. We’ll see.
May we all be safe from our flipping messed up system.
May we all be willing to step back and take stock – for real.
May we find the strength and courage to redefine, remake The System so that it’s life affirming for all.
May we accept that the hamster wheels are about to come unmoored.