Hermione Luck – Where Do We Go From Here?

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

Where Do We Go From Here?

November 15, 2021


Here is why the Governor’s race in Virginia was so important – the winning candidate, Glenn Youngkin, found a viable Republican formula to beat the Democrats, where he was able to tacitly acknowledge Donald Trump, while remaining sure to keep his distance. The viral subjects of Fake News and a stolen election were clearly avoided.

His main issue involved a parent’s’ role in the classroom, which has catapulted to become a new flashpoint in American culture as we revisit the sociology of Scopes vs. Tennessee.

What was the key to Youngkin’s win? His campaign tapped into the political reality that Joe Biden won the presidency because of an anti-Trump vote with moderates, especially in suburbia, especially with females. And with Trump not on the ticket, a lot of those voters switched back to the Republican alternative because a lot of people want an alternative, any alternative, like really really bad … and Joe isn’t giving it to them.

But let’s face it, the man has enjoyed little help. Covid and its variants, food prices, gas prices, claustrophobic quarantines, supply chain bottlenecks, the black hole of federal debt, China and Russia enjoying their turn at schadenfreude.

Then as icing on the half-baked cake that he’s trying to serve America, poor Joe is saddled with a pathetic Democratic party that continues to perform its circular firing squad routine to the delight of conservatives … the progressives seem intent upon making ‘holier-than-thou’ an art form and pissing-off everybody in the room, while the moderates can’t keep their pants from falling down as they bend over to look for votes.

For me, Biden is the nation’s sacrificial lamb. By 2020, Trump had thoroughly torched the landscape, his biggest sin being that all by himself he somehow made truth negotiable. By the time Trump ran for re-election, as if we’d all been to war, healing became a viable campaign issue for the entire country.

The country clamored for compromise, and indeed the country did need Joe Biden once. But I think we all understand that the country isn’t likely to re-elect him if he chooses to run, mainly because the economy seems to be benefitting only Wall Street and as a Covid society we essentially remain at war with one another.

It isn’t that Biden and Harris have failed. This would have happened no matter whose grandfather we elected. It’s more a matter there was only a snowball’s chance in Hell for a Build Back Better compromise in the first place. The infrastructure bill that emerged from the House is a reminder that promises made when running for office usually reach the finish line like a survivor from a shipwreck plucked from a sea of bickering Congressional self-importance.

So where do the Democrats go from here? Is Biden a viable re-election candidate? Where do the Republicans go from here? Do they really need ‘Trump the candidate’ as opposed to ‘Trump the mouthpiece’? Where does the country go from here? Is bi-partisanship permanently vestigial? These questions are interesting, even relevant, but the bottom line as far as I see it, is how do we begin to right the ship. Where do we go from here?

I wrote a column recently that I shelved because I felt it was too corny. Identifying as a progressive myself, the word corny often meant, you know, Republican. Walt Disney material. Snow Whiter than white. Then again, I thought to myself some of my best friends are Republicans, which sounds enlightened except for the fact I don’t have any best friends.

Here’s that column.

Whether it be Black Lives Matter or Make America Great Again, we’ve been a country of slogans since the first Americans claimed No Taxation Without Representation.

That initial slogan masked our humble beginnings, that we were a country of cast-offs, a country determined to have a different future, a country that felt it had a special destiny, a destiny that made it exceptional.

The fact that Americans are attached at the hip to the vision of being the greatest country in the world, that they are inherently ‘exceptional’, is well-documented. We’ve never strayed far from that opinion of ourselves.

In fact, it’s part of what annoys the rest of the world – not annoyed because we have the strongest military that ever waged a war, but more along the lines that we think we’re pretty much better than everyone else, not just great but the greatest, not just good but the best, you know, the top of the heap … exceptional.

Well, humanity is definitely a heap, that much is clear. And most any culture that’s been on top of their respective heap, or considered themselves exceptional, has experienced a painful fall. Egypt, Greece, Rome, Spain, Britain, the Dutch can attest to that sobering reality. So what can we do about it?

One starting point might be to drop the self-congratulatory shout-out of claiming to be exceptional. Even a significant number of Americans are getting tired of the routine. Obviously, we have major unresolved issues, and we’re currently discovering that these are the kind of issues that sap the life out of greatness.

Maybe it’s time to put greatness on the back burner. Maybe we need a different recipe to achieve our goals. What about making America grateful again? And from there, get on with business. You know, like including everyone.

We seem to have misplaced something important somewhere along the way … the kind of perspective that includes a certain pause, a certain humility … glad I’m here, glad my kids are here with me … I accept there’s work to be done, and I’m ready to chip in. The kind of perspective that demands results. Results. Which puts us where with Congress?

Let’s be capable and not culpable, and maybe when we’re done, we’ll simply let history decide if we’ve fulfilled our expectations of ourselves.