In April of 2020, sirens blared carrying those ill with COVID-19 to hospitals in New Jersey and New York as they were just hitting their peak number of cases. During this time, U.S. President Donald Trump went on television and social media, saying multiple times he believed that the pandemic would simply “go away.”
On November 6, 2020, Dayvon Daquan Bennett, a rising rapper who told stories about his life and struggles, was shot and killed along with another individual. The next day, the U.S. elections were called for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Celebrations broke out across cities and some suburbs with people cheering, dancing, chanting and waving “Black Lives Matter” flags.
These were just two instances that represented a common theme in U.S. society this year of people replacing reality with their own ideology. As liberals celebrated and congratulated Black people for helping Democrats win, the violence of poverty ripped through Black and Brown communities. Months of protesting in defense of Black lives and against police violence culminated in activists, politicians, celebrities and academics telling people to vote for a prosecutor who laughed at the idea of jailing poor people because their kids missed school. They also told people to vote for a man who gave an impassioned speech defending one of the toughest “crime” bills in U.S. history, claiming some people are “beyond the pale” of helping. Do we really expect that this violence will cease or get better with the inauguration of KKKamala the KKKop or Joe “lock ‘em up” Biden?
The reality is that policing will become more violent, the prison population will increase and little will be done to redress systemic issues. The U.S. economy continues to fail while the government does nothing but funnel more money to the rich. Poverty is skyrocketing. As people become more desperate, crime will increase and the police will be given more impunity to do as they wish. Hence, why Biden’s plan is not to defund the police but to increase their funding. He recognizes that in an increasingly unstable U.S. society, there will be a need to crush the poor, who’s resistance (either organized or unorganized) will continue to grow. A mass delusion took place in which many went out to celebrate their “victory,” but this “victory” will include more violence domestically and internationally.
On the other hand we have Republicans, more specifically Trump supporters, who since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have either denied its existence or its significance, even as they and their families die of it. Reality slaps them in the face, yet they adamantly deny the slap ever took place. When Trump lost the presidential election, his supporters were quick to take to the streets demanding, in some cases, to stop counting ballots, while in other states they demanded the counting continue. In one rally just a couple days ago, Trump supporters took to the streets chanting “We want Trump.” It is clear that the only acceptable results to them are ones that result in a Trump victory. The reality of a Trump defeat had never crossed their delusions as a possibility.
Mistrust in the U.S. electoral system is understandable, as every election demonstrates that fraud and vote suppression occurs on both sides of the aisle. But going out of one’s way to threaten polling places and workers, demanding that the counting of legal votes stop and doing all this without ever presenting a shred of evidence is not only mistrust, but an active attempt to shut down institutions in order to get one’s way. Since the institution in this case happens to be the “democratic” institutions of the U.S., regardless of how “democratic” they actually are, it demonstrates the authoritarian nature and ideology of millions of people in the United States. It is not that their ideology conceals some sort of authoritarianism. It is that they are explicitly asking for an authoritarian system. Just like how the reality of the pandemic did not fit into their worldview, neither does the possibility of the U.S. electing or having Biden as President.
While many in the U.S. of all colors and ideologies have managed to delude themselves, the rest of the world has to face the reality of increased U.S. imperialism. Biden has no plans to scale back sanctions or wars, open up cooperative talks with nations, or tackle climate change. Trump also had no plans to pursue any of these goals. Trump’s last four years leading U.S. foreign policy was a mixed bag of embarrassing failures coupled with maximum pressure campaigns to offset failures. The reality is that Trump has been a massive thorn in the side of the U.S. imperialists because of his defeats, but Biden, a known supporter of the Iraq War, will save U.S. imperialism. As Biden himself puts it, bring the United States “back in the game.”
At the end of Bennett’s song, “What It’s Like,” he describes how arresting officers treated the lives of those that they imprisoned as a game. Each conviction was “their work.” Make no mistake: these delusions surrounding the election, the celebrations and the protests, the months of activism culminating in what was really a defeat, was at the end of the day just a “game” to so many people. They ignored the “work” of Trump, Pence, Biden and Harris. Their “work” involved mass deportations and incarceration, bailouts for the rich, war, sanctions, and terror, while offering nothing to the people. Meanwhile, those who supported either candidate got to show off how “woke,” “good,” or “patriotic” they were. While many played this game, millions of others in the U.S. did not because what really does a Biden or Trump presidency mean to someone who just lost their house and job? These are the two worlds that we are currently faced with today. The delusions of hundreds of millions in the imperialist U.S. that their candidate will bring significant change versus the harsh reality that capitalism does not change with an individual and that it will be the global masses who will have to struggle against imperialism to bring about radical transformation.