Many are celebrating what is hoped to be the end of Trump’s presidency. And many Trump supporters are angry, claiming that the election was stolen. The majority of those who voted wanted Trump out. It’s a relief that he won’t be president for another four years, especially for those who were the targets of his attacks including Muslims, immigrants, African Americans, women or gay or transgender people.
But voting Trump out of the White House is no guarantee that the attacks are over. We can’t let the relief that Trump lost the election, turn into the belief that a Democratic administration will end the divisions and problems that led 71 million people to vote for him, including many workers and people from Black and brown communities.
There are good reasons why so many people distrust the Democrats. They raised billions of dollars from the rich to put Biden and the other Democrats in office. Their economic policies have always been aimed at ensuring the profits of the corporations and the banks, not protecting our jobs and supporting our communities. Trump and the Republicans try to fool people by saying they are different, that they represent working people. But they are the other side of the same capitalist coin.
Trump said the choice was between Republicans who wanted to open the economy and protect our jobs and livelihoods, and the Democrats whom he claimed would shut it down. Trump’s denial of the threat posed by the virus and refusal to have a public health program, let the virus run rampant, killing over 238,000 people and infecting over 10 million. And infection rates continue to soar, reaching the highest daily number last week.
2020 has been just a preview of what this system has in store for us — pandemics, economic crises, climate disruption, and more. And who is asked to sacrifice? And who are the ones to pay with their lives? Whose lives have been severely impacted?
During this pandemic, while workers went to work and faced unsafe working conditions so food and supplies could be delivered and transportation could function and hospitals could provide care, the rich retreated to their yachts and second homes with their servants. They benefitted from government bail outs, while they kept production running. Since the start of the pandemic the total net worth of America’s 644 billionaires increased by $931 billion!
Trump may have been voted out, but the racism, the nationalism, the attacks on immigrants and others he attacked will not stop. Those policies are not simply the outgrowth of Trump’s right-wing politics, they are the foundations of a system that profits off the exploitation of workers and the destruction of the environment. The ability to impose these conditions on us rests on keeping working people divided. If we stay angry and continue to blame each other for the problems we face, we are unable to use our collective power to fight against the wealthy 1%, who are responsible for our conditions today.
The politicians have us playing this game of choosing which team we are on. But neither of the teams they offer is ours. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans represent our interests. They both share the responsibility for what has happened with COVID and with the economy. These crises will continue if we leave things in their hands.
We can’t continue to be fooled into waiting and hoping that any of these politicians will make things better for us. They represent the interests of those who benefit at our expense. We can’t afford to be fooled into putting our future in their hands.
But there is another choice in front of us. We can find the ways to come together. We have much more in common with each other as workers than with the Democratic or Republican politicians who say, “Vote for me, I will set you free.”
The changes we need are possible, they have come in the past and they can come again. They have always come about when ordinary people organized and depended on our own struggles. We are the 99%. We have the power and possibility to change our situation if we come together.
If ever there was a time we needed a united fight for our future – that time is now!