Biden Win Doesn't Mean the World Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief

Yair Assulin
Yair Assulin
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President-elect Joe Biden shares the stage with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Wilmington, Del., November 7, 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden shares the stage with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Wilmington, Del., November 7, 2020. Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP
Yair Assulin
Yair Assulin

In the wake of Joe Biden’s election as the next U.S. president, the most dangerous thing to do in the wider context of our lives is to breathe any sighs of relief, or feel as though there’s any room to let down our guard or wallow in delusions that this result provides any sort of solution.

Anyone looking at the United States and the election results there, understands the extent to which Biden’s victory, with respect to truth, reality and the impact it will have on people around the world, is almost meaningless, minor. All the emotions it arouses amount to little more than aesthetics.

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Whoever speaks of a “new America” or “change” in the best of cases is shutting their eyes to the man himself and what his election symbolizes. In the worst case these superlatives only seek to muddle the reality so that this delusional relief, etc. can go on. Does anyone really think there will be any substantive change?

For it’s worth remembering and reminding here and now that whoever thinks the political or social political reality is a function of this leader or that one, doesn’t really understand politics or society. The story is always about the context within which the leader functions hat can allow a leader to exist, grow and operate. Donald Trump, if you will, to a great extent has only taken the lid off the sewer of our fraying times. Biden, in a best-case scenario, will be the one to put the lid back on for a spell. And there are great doubts as to whether he – or anyone at the political level – is capable of doing that. In any case, it won’t prevent the sewage, whose level keeps on rising anyway – due to the technological revolution and existential changes – to overflow and flood everything in the end.

And no degree of insistent glorification, filling the media reports and public discourse and seeking to turn Biden into something he isn’t, neither this situation nor he or politics can be made into something they’re not – no amount of glorification is going to help. On the contrary, it will only blow up in our faces. Whoever is encouraging such inflated discourse is not grounded in reality and is collaborating, whether consciously or not, with all the dark forces at work at this time, from across the political map, whose only interest is to preserve the old power structure even at the cost of social dystrophy and a slide into totalitarianism.

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A failure to understand or repeatedly examine our assumptions about reality and repeatedly mark the gaps between real life and the story they’re insisting on telling us about it, without doing this, and without asking who is behind the story they’re telling us – who does it serve and where the significant events that will mold our lives are really happening – based on an understanding that in times such as ours you cannot afford to breathe any sighs of relief, and the processes taking place are deep and wide and more substantive, without internalizing this, the melting in joy over the election of Biden – a product and clear representative of a disappearing old guard – is the same as a racing car driver falling asleep at the wheel after taking a sedative at the height of the race.

And to a great extent this is exactly the spiritual legacy of Natan Zach’s poetry – from his standing up to Alterman and down his entire path. This is the source of the existential greatness of his message: the call to withstand the necessary degree of helplessness that exists within reality, to look it in the eyes as it is without fleeing it. A sense of disgust from any glorification of reality, from inflating matters, the attempt to be in touch your feelings here and now, a constant existence in a state of searching, clarifying or taking apart and repacking, of sin and repentance, insistence upon an awareness of the vulnerability of humankind, its relative fragility, always changing. The knowledge that only thusly can we grow, appreciate beauty, and survive.

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