Transitions

As I sit at my desk getting ready to build my work list for the day, the news is on the TV behind me. Trump is leaving the White House in a helicopter on the lawn. I’m strangely fixated on how Melania will manage to walk across a muddy grassy field wearing stiletto heels. Biden will be there soon.

For the most part, this inauguration will be like all others. There will be a mix of cheesy American flag-waving stuff, for sure. But there will also be some genuine relief that we’re going back to politics as normal.

For the past four years, we’ve had a reality show president. Trump wasn’t even a professional, traditional Republican, like Mitt Romney. We might not have liked Romney’s choices, but there’s no question that he would have handled the crises of the past four years much differently. Trump was a pretender. Someone playing a President Dress-Up Game, who made random, but serious decisions. A sit-com character who made real changes in our country. Good riddance to The Great Buffoon-in-Chief.

Lots of people belief that Biden will bring about great changes. I don’t. My hope is not that Biden will upend the status quo. Right now, I don’t think we need a revolutionary. I think we need a boring, traditional, and democratic president, who doesn’t post random shit on Twitter. We need a model of professionalism. We need to bring sanity back to our democracy.

My hope is that Trump becomes more and more irrelevant. But with millions of dollars tucked away in a campaign bank account and his army of crazy supporters, I have worries.

I do think we have to congratulate our democracy. It survived. It’s a bit ragged around the edges, but it survived.

9 thoughts on “Transitions

  1. It has taken me a few hours for the transition sink into my gut and am just now starting to believe it.

    “ We need a model of professionalism. We need to bring sanity back to our democracy.”

    I think that’s Biden’s plan and hopefully no one is playing the game of obstruction.

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  2. Traditional, like focused on liberal talking points while global conglomerates and venture capital strip mine the rest of the middle class, setting the stage for another demagogue in four years? Only maybe this time a more effective one?

    No, we need Joe to lean into some progressive populism and focus on regional income inequality and strengthening anti-trust enforcement along with all his other worthy priorities.

    So far I feel good about Gensler and Chopra, but not so much about some of his other picks, and every time I hear about “unity” without “accountability” I worry this is a brief two year respite.

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    1. Saw on twitter a quote from Rand Paul along the lines of “He talks about unity but if you read the speech he’s calling us insurrectionists and white supremacists.” Yup.

      Biden folks have already ousted the hack who was bent on turning Voice of America/RFERL into a Trump mouthpiece. Also the general counsel at the National Labor Relations Board.

      Maybe there will be not so much bark but plenty of bite.

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  3. By all means there should be practical goals that help people, and immediately. I’ve been reading articles about the “mistakes” of the first Obama term, and one is to not rely on technocratic solutions that result in better results in the long run rather than delivering immediate value.

    But, I do not think we can forget about the degree that a significant part of the opposition to Biden and te democrats are indeed insurrectionists who do not want participation in our multicultural democracy extended to all who live here (and, to the many who have been here since the beginning). We can try to include them, but, I don’t see what policies we can enact that will bring a Pompeo “multiculturalism . . . is not who we are” into the fold.

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  4. In other news, I am absolutely enamored with Jill Biden’s embroidered coat and dress and mask for the Inaugural celebration. I’m looking at the Gabriela Hearst drawings, but really hope to see some good pictures of Jill Biden in the dress.

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  5. https://mobile.twitter.com/chrissyclark_/status/1352987824186916865

    Speaking of transitions, here’s a representative (apparently the president) of the Fairfax Education Association (a pretty big deal district in VA) saying that they want to stick to distanced, hybrid teaching until students are vaccinated.

    Some issues:

    –The vaccines are about 95% effective (with the remaining 5% being mainly very mild COVID cases), so staff should be quite safe once they are two weeks past their second shot.
    –There is no vaccine approved for under 16s and it’s not likely that there will be vaccine widely available for 16-18 year olds until the end of the school year or after the end of the school year.
    –They have just started doing the vaccine trials for 12-15:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/22/pfizer-says-its-covid-vaccine-trial-for-kids-ages-12-to-15-is-fully-enrolled.html

    –I don’t know if there is yet a trial for under-12s. Each pediatric age category requires its own separate vaccine trials. It may take quite a while to work through even just all school-age categories. We could easily be talking 2022 before there is a vaccine for all school-age categories.

    Any teachers’ union that insists on full vaccination of school children before returning to 5-day in-person instruction is playing with fire.

    Meanwhile, on the West Coast, a whole lot of public schools don’t even offer hybrid.

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    1. Oh, yes, and I forgot to mention that a lot of low-income and minority families are disproportionately vaccine hesitant. There’s been a repeated finding that COVID vaccine uptake is highest and fastest in swankier zip codes.

      That has a lot of implications for the possibility of disparate impact if the return to full-time, in-person school is going to be dependent on students being fully vaccinated, particularly since poor and minority families are already less enthusiastic about return to school.

      This has been and is continuing to be the biggest, most unethical experiment of my lifetime.

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