The Postponed: The Leadership Void of a Rubber Duck President

We shouldn’t expect leadership leading up to the inauguration; at least not from the political class.

The Postponed is a daily dispatch during the post-electoral purgatory between the result and the inauguration

Day 6:

This blog is a toddler but from its first day out the primordial ooze we were heavy on the idea that the “peaceful transferral of power” has not happened yet. We beg to question whether, one, if any power is meaningfully transferred and two, whether that transfer could ever be deemed peaceful. It’s a stretch to name a time where that felt remotely true for all of us. Nonetheless we are ever closer to what is imagined as some kind of change. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been positioned as more humane faces of the American imperialist project and that, to most, is a relief.

But we still have a strange period between now and the inauguration (note: rest easy, this blog will continue until at least up until that point) where the pumpkin begins to transmogrify into an orange rubber ducky. And in Kafka’s nasty transitional stank, the loser ass right-wing will do what they do: violent backlash. Ignoring the fact that, between the Democrats being all too friendly with conservatives throughout their campaigning and the GOP’s long-term strategy of court-stacking, their political futures are already assured. White people still find reasons to raise a self-righteous hell.

What remains precarious is how the lives of most marginalized will be affected. Biden and Harris haven’t inspired much confidence that the material lives of those most policed, surveilled, brutalized and murdered without impunity, will receive any further protection from their administration. We do not save each other through elections.

The networks of the political and celebrity class are threaded together by shared financial and PR interests. As likable, as charming, and as politically-minded as they may seem, the most loved celebrities pump their standoms to keep the system chugging along as it has always been. Celebrity power, like political power, is fueled by popular perception and belief. Underneath all of the “YAS and-ing” of celebrities and politicians that might look a little more like us is a fundamental conflict in priority. We do not save each other through aligning ourselves with oppressive regimes.

The Trump thing ain’t over but the music is starting to crescendo. What remains in the melodious build up, in the anticipatory void is not a question of what happens to “the soul of America.” That ship sailed a while ago, we know where it was headed, and who was stocked in the hold. It’s more asking about the realities of our situation, of the schisms between what the people desire to sustain life here — universal healthcare, the removal of prisons and carceral thinking, a government that places the value of human life over capital — and what our representatives have displayed they have no interest in providing.

So that means in their stead we have to provide for one another. My friend and spiritual practitioner, Candace Sampson tweeted a thread about the complicated ways that giving money becomes spectacularized online and how a lot of the discourse around mutual aid misses the most vulnerable populations. She made the crucial point of mutual aid not being reactionary but instead “an action of solidarity and a foundation for community.” I want to put that into practice myself.

In this moment where the realities of class separation are becoming painfully obvious, we have to turn to each other for support. Sustained support. One thing that reading Black radical literature will make very clear is that it is difficult to struggle with the people when they aren’t fed, when they don’t have a place to rest their heads, when they have no one who recognizes them as beings with immense potential for change both in self and for the people they can reach. Edifying one another through aiding — through financial help, through comfort- and care-providing, through listening and learning from one another — have all proven to be measures of survival even for the most at-risk. As much of a relief as it seems, as much of an exhalation many folks took over the weekend; the violence, both the slow, methodical variety and its more explosive counterpart, that will arise from the backlash will call for us to bend for one another. But it’s been time. Too many people have already broken.

African from Texas• Staff Writer at LEVEL • Black politics, Celebrity interviews, TV & Film Criticism • Previously: MTV News, San Francisco Chronicle