Last night my boyfriend Jack noticed I was scrolling Twitter, to his surprise.
"You're still on Twitter even while you're banned from Twitter?" he exclaimed.
"Yeah, I can read, just not interact," I explained.
"But why? Twitter is already so anxiety-inducing."
"Well, if I want to keep up with what's happening, it's either that or watch the news."
The truth is that while the timing is garbage, most of the time being only able to look at Twitter but not touch is lowering my anxiety and blood pressure. The pressure is off. There's much less feeling that the things other people are saying require me to respond or act. There's something meditative about reading and not being able to chime in, no matter what the provocation may be. I've said time and time again that the most important skill one can cultivate on social media is the ability to sit on one's hands when one has nothing to say or it's not one's place to say it. I'm here at this point, in part, because I let that skill fray.
I have been keeping up with events in US political news, though I find I struggle to put my thoughts into essays as opposed to firing them off in bite-sized chunks as they occur to me.
One thing that seems very important to me is that there is a -- for now -- slow trickle of GOP figures who are recognizing Biden's victory (or at least Trump's loss) and either calling on Trump to concede or making it clear that in the near future he's going to need to. None of them that I have seen, as of yet, are especially close to Trump, but once the dam starts cracking, the cracks don't get smaller overtime. Someone's going to be the first big defection from Trumpland and I think it's going to happen in the next week. We know Donald Trump has been threatening to fire his subordinates over jobhunting; I imagine a similar threat is implied or understood when it comes to concession talk.
As an update on my newsletter about Boris Johnson from yesterday, we have this scene where he evinces genuine excitement at the prospect of dealing with Joe Biden (or perhaps at the prospect of not dealing with Trump) and even refers to Trump as "the previous president".
I'm not particularly excited by the idea of Boris Johnson being on our side, nor do I trust him as far as I can throw him, but I suspect his genuinely relieved at the idea that he won't have to cover for or be tarnished by association with Trump anymore. Whatever awful things he has planned for Great Britain can fly much lower under the radar in a world where the US media forgets who he is, which I expect will happen about five minutes after Trump is out of office.
Joe Biden was not my first or second pick for the Democratic nominee but I'm starting to think he was absolutely the right person at the right time, as he's seen presidential transitions from both sides and is already familiar with the workings of the White House and our national security apparatus. Accordingly, the GSA's stonewalling of his official transition hurts him (and us) much less than it would any other potential president-elect this year.
He'll also be in a better position to assess the damage once he's settled in. When things aren't working right (or at all), he'll know what's missing or broken. He'll remember the way it was supposed to be. And he might know who to talk to about getting it fixed.
As I said on Twitter (prior to the descent of the banhammer), I think he's striking the right tone by not waiting for permission to be presidential. I do wish that we had more voices in our institutions willing to speak openly of how what Trump is attempting is a coup but I feel that just as it was not right nor necessary for Biden to proclaim his own victory before there was a critical chorus of independent media voices projecting it, I don't think he's the right one to be leading that charge. If he's the one who pushes the coup warnings, then in the eyes of our media it becomes a partisan issue, with two men who both have a deep personal investment arguing with each other about who is going to be president.
But if Biden basically ignores Trump, only talking about him when he's asked and then speaking of his efforts in dismissive terms, he avoids legitimizing them and shows the people of the republic that he is focused on problems and solutions: pandemic, economy, climate, etc. As much as Biden is doomed to disappoint everyone who hopes there's something to the frothing anti-socialist fearmongering the GOP constantly attempts against us, he's very good at performing presidency and I think that just may be what the moment calls for. Absent any legal powers, the best check that the president-elect can offer on Trump right now might be a contrast, where we can look at Trump alternately golfing and sulking while planning his next superspreader campaign rally for an election already more than a week in the past, and look at Biden leading and being presidential.
If push comes to shove, if it does come down to the nightmare situation that I've outlined on Twitter where two claimants to the presidency emerge and the federal gunhavers are all declaring that it's a political dispute that they can't get involved in, it's hard to imagine the bulk of the public and the institutions that matter not lining up behind the person who has been successfully acting like a president for the past few months.
Thank you for reading!
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