Broken Barns: US Inauguration Overshadowed by Deep Structural Ills
While many in America took a collective sigh of relief, an activist and journalist warns of complacency
On a day when I saw so many celebrating I felt like a bucket of cold water. Yes, there is some modicum of relief in knowing a profoundly unstable man has been removed from a powerful office. I cannot however, partake in the elation.
I am brought back to memories of growing up in rural Upstate New York, the ancestral home of the Seneca people. The sight of broken barns stays with me. The rise of industrial agriculture decimated the family farm economy that supported and dignified the region for generations. The community I grew up in was driven into the glimmering but passionless service economy as well as the correction system just to make ends meet. It was this demographic of the downwardly mobile, rural American that composed a pillar of support for the Trump movement.
While Trump may be out of offi the conditions that gave rise to his support are still in place, and as many have pointed out, a more savvy and connected Trump successor could easily resurrect a populist right-wing movement.
In a Biden Presidency, the barns are still broken. It is my fear that with a new administration, a "liberal" president, a critical segment of the population might fall back into a sense of complacency concerning the material conditions that made the MAGA movement viable and condemn us to relive 2016 in the not-too-distant future. My faith is entrusted with the energetic movement builders who fuel Black Lives Matter, The Climate Strike Movement, and the drive for indigenous sovereignty.
In one way or another the last four years were a breaking point for many of us, but like a party goers glow stick, the break is necessary in order to shine.