For 2022 to be the year it can and must be, an ordinary New Year’s resolution is not enough. So let us turn to the radical catechism of the founding of America: Thomas Paines Common sense.
The pamphleteer’s call for revolutionary action was not directed towards a new year – although it was published on January 10, 1776 – but towards the struggle for the formation of a new nation.
Now that the nation is showing signs of aging and struggling to unite around more than a general malaise, Paine has exactly the stimulus that is needed. “We have it in our power to start the world anew” said Paine. “A situation similar to the present has not occurred since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is imminent. “
As the progressives look to the work of 2022, they would do well to renew their acquaintance with Paine’s message.
The year that ended December 31st was marked by compromises, concessions, cynicism and of course an attempted coup. Add to this the ongoing threat of Covid and the new inflation threat, 2021 could easily be remembered as a major disappointment.
This calculation does not bode well for 2022.
But that is not the correct calculation. Why?
The coup was initially averted. The 2020 election results were certified during the evening sessions of Congress that followed the turbulent events of January 6, 2021. And a new president and congress began turning the ship of state back towards good governance on January 20th.
The rotation, however, was awkward and incomplete. Yet it offers the prospect that we might ultimately achieve the promise of economic and social and racial justice, sustainability and peace.
This may seem like distant goals at this point, as the destroyers of democracy are busy manipulating cards, implementing voter suppression programs, and suggesting that partisan allies override the rules for conducting free and fair elections. We certainly argue about whether the will of the people will be the law of the land. In 2021 it was brutal, in 2022 it will probably be even uglier.
So why be hopeful?
Because the opponents of democracy would not fight so hard if they thought the future was theirs. The truth is that they are scared, as every insane gossip from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar and Lauren Boebert makes clear.
On the eve of the January 5, 2021 elections that would bring control of Congress in favor of the Democrats, Trump rallied Georgia voters on behalf of Republican US Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. “If these two don’t win” warned Trump“And if we don’t take the presidency, you have a country that would be ruled by Schumer, Pelosi and Biden. The Georgian people will be at the mercy of the left wing, socialists, communists and Marxists. ”
Loeffler lost to Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Perdue lost to Jon Ossoff, a former intern for the late US Representative John Lewis. The Senate turned to the Democrats. And Trump lost the presidency to Joe Biden.
In 2021, the Democrats took control of the presidency and Congress for the first time since 2009. Biden’s lead over Trump exceeded 7 million votes, and the Democrat, who proposed a new New Deal, won five states that had gone to Trump just four years earlier. One of those states, Georgia, has elected two Democratic senators for the first time in decades and is now on the verge of electing a progressive woman. Democrat Stacey Abrams, as governor.
And since Trump began his authoritarian transformation of the Republican Party, three more – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – have elected Democrats as governors, lieutenant governors and attorneys-general. It is reasonable to assume that they could all keep these positions in 2022. And in two of those states, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Republican US Senators could be replaced by very progressive Democrats.
It is not guaranteed. Midterm elections are tough on the ruling party. But the prospect terrifies Republicans, who know the arc of history bends against them.
GOP advocates of extreme gerrymandering and voter repression recognize that they cannot win honest elections, and that fact appalles them – as does the billionaire class that sponsors their campaigns. They fear policies that they can no longer control in the interests of their own selfish and narrow-minded interests.
They fear that a robust democracy could create a more just and just future. That’s why they absolutely want to dismantle it.
The desperation of those losing power should inspire progressives. This is a year in which we hopefully fight for this just and just future, trusting that in 2022 we can start the world anew.