Yesterday morning, the Associated Press, among other news organizations, called the election for Joe Biden, the president-elect of the United States. Although Donald Trump has not yet conceded the race, the announcement has effectively brought an end to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, a race that will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most tumultuous in the nation’s history. Today we present thoughts from each of The Wild Hunt‘s editors on the presidential election and where we go from here.
Star Bustamonte, News Editor
The last week has felt about 45 days long. The entire country waited for the results of an election that will likely go down in the history books as one of the most contentious, and one littered with an abundance of mis- and disinformation.
We will be tempted to kick back and rest on our collective laurels about what we have accomplished, and the thought of where we may be headed as a country is almost overwhelming. But we need to pay serious attention to the lessons of this election.
We can certainly celebrate electing a biracial woman, Kamala Harris, to the nation’s second-highest office for the first time in U.S. history. Undoubtedly, this is a victory for the principles of inclusiveness and equality. The question is whether or not we hold onto this progress and continue to build on it.
If the elections of 2016, 2018, and 2020 have demonstrated anything, it is that effective representation and governance requires that every single citizen participate in the process. While some might say the 2020 election was a referendum on the Trump administration, this was not a “one and done.”
The process of our republic and democracy all but demands we continually participate, and that involves more than just voting. It requires we pay attention to policies being put forth and voice our support or opposition in ways that are legal, concise, and thoughtful.
Further, the policies that often have the greatest personal impact are the ones that originate in our own communities. In order to effect change, we must be part of the process. We must attend city and county council meetings, planning commission panels, community organization meetings or at the very least follow the transcripts of these sessions. This also can require a follow-up with letters and even in-person dialog whether it is in support or opposition.
This is how the trajectory of the grand experiment that we are all part of was designed. Our constitution, republic, and democracy are not static and separate. They are alive and continue to evolve. The real question is whether or not we can be bothered to exert the effort to make sure they evolve and grow in ways that reflect our own personal growth and evolution.
Democracy is a lot like gardening: it requires constant and faithful tending. Otherwise, we end up with a mess of overgrown and tangled plants with no clear vision of what is growing or what is being produced.
The neglect and abuse of our system over the past few years is going to require some serious assessment, major elbow grease to restore some order, and then a solid plan on how to move forward. It can’t and won’t happen in a vacuum. It requires that we all participate on some level.
Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow? Well, I guess that is up to each of us, and how we choose to engage in the process.
Eric O. Scott, Weekend Editor
“I want to make sure that we conservatives keep on fighting to make sure we don’t have a Green New Deal, we don’t get rid of gas and coal and oil, that we don’t have a Medicare For All plan put in place, that we don’t raise taxes on American enterprise that would kill the economy.” That was Mitt Romney, speaking this morning on CNN, affirming that everything that was a problem in 2015 is still going to be a problem in 2021. (Remember, he’s supposed to be one of the moderate, reach-across-the-aisle types.)
Despite the temptation to think that we have entered a brave new post-Trump era, we are in most respects shuffling back to the position we were in during Barack Obama’s second term as president, where a divided Congress is likely to prevent any major legislation from being passed. As with Obama, Mitch McConnell will have every incentive to block Biden’s legislative agenda, with the thought that inaction and gridlock will bring rewards to the GOP in 2022.
I hope that I will have to eat my words on this – the Georgia runoffs for Senate could change everything. But it looks like Joe Biden is going to enter the presidency in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 240 thousand Americans, an ongoing national reckoning on racism and sexism, and, oh yes, four years of catastrophic negligence on climate change. I would have my doubts about Biden’s willingness to push forward ambitious plans to tackle these problems even if his party controlled the Senate, but without even that, it’s hard for me to be too optimistic. And that’s not even factoring in the 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a problem Obama didn’t have.
It’s not all bad: Biden can do a lot, even without legislative support, to handle the COVID-19 pandemic in a more effective way. While another stimulus bill is absolutely necessary to alleviate the coronavirus’s effect on working people, much of the work of containing and eventually stopping the virus can be accomplished just through embracing international cooperation again, as opposed to the Trump administration’s reckless abandonment of agencies like the World Health Organization. And when one looks at how often the Trump administration abandoned global collaboration on pressing issues – most notably, again, climate change – there’s some comfort in the prospect of simply repairing those relationships.
As I said shortly before the election, the problems that face us today are the problems that faced us yesterday. We have the most pressing ongoing crisis in decades facing us in the form of the pandemic, and the most pressing existential crisis of all time facing us in the form of climate change. Maybe we won’t be actively harming our chances of addressing these issues, but I know for certain that it won’t be enough. It’s incumbent upon us, as Pagans and citizens of Gaia, to organize and fight.
Manny Tejeda-Moreno, Editor-in-Chief
This election reminded me that liminal spaces are still challenging and still essential. No matter how often we engage with them, intellectually, physically, emotionally, or magickally, their powers can crush us. They require us to both take action and surrender, push our limits and recognize them. No one liminal space prepares us for the next, but, as they subside, they allow us to learn about ourselves.
Like spellwork, transformation happens when we back away and let the magick run its course. We must surrender to the work we have done. In this election we cast our vote – in my case it was weeks ago – and then we had to wait for all our intentions to join together and emerge as a consequence.
I am relieved by the central result of the election: that it is over. I am also relieved that important conversations about climate and economic justice, science, and health appear to have the ear of the president-elect and his team.
On an organizational and personal level, The Wild Hunt functions as a non-profit, but we rely on the support of our readers. When our readers – you – are struggling, we are struggling. Our writers and columnists have shared their challenges on these pages, and we recognize the universality of this year’s struggle.
There were important stories within the story of this election: the powerful rise of Black women and Black Lives Matter as a political force, Indigenous voices voting through adversity, the reminder that the Latino community is not a monolith, the amazement that a nation inundated by a pandemic still voted in historic numbers.
I still have concerns. We have a saying, attributed to the Yoruba faith but which may also have originated in the work of the celebrated Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti: “La verdad no mancha los labios de quien la dice, sino la conciencia de quien la occulta” (“Truth does not stain the lips of those who say it, but rather the conscience of those who hide it.”)
These results did not convincingly repudiate some troubling divisions in the US. We are still, as a nation, precariously flirting with white supremacy, conspiracy theories, and “alternative facts.” I also heard far too many Christian codes in the public space for my personal tastes. While most of those codes comprised the usual benign pandering to the majority religion, the occasional nugget of Dominionist theology was woven into too many speeches given within a superficially liberal and secular democracy.
I am still concerned about how culture – and specifically faith – may be weaponized. Our community remains marginal and easily targeted. We, and all our organizations within the Pagan landscape, can be hopeful, but must remain watchful.
Our liminal space will persist for the next ten weeks and then condense into a new reality. Something new has been born and we will have to wait to see what it brings.