Don’t worry, be happy

Well, I wanted Gillum and Abrams to win, and that Georgia election was filthy and I hope the NAACP sues the state. And of course I wanted the Republicans to lose the Senate but I knew it wasn’t at all likely. States like Wyoming with fewer people than Seattle (and 30 other US cities) have as many senators as California with its 30 million; we have no business calling ourselves a democracy.

But don’t worry! There’s always chocolate!

But good luck enjoying them if you have a chronic or life-threatening illness and can’t get health care, or if you’re accidentally pregnant and don’t want and can’t afford a baby but can’t get an abortion, or if you’re a recent immigrant and terrified Trump will change the rules such that you’ll be kicked out any moment, or if you were never even able to vote yesterday because the wait was 4.5 hours and your boss would fire you if you were away from work that long, or if the nature in your area burned to the ground last summer…and so on.

Yes, there are lots of good things in life that are not directly politics, but the freedom and health and flourishing needed to benefit from them are all rooted in political decisions. It’s wildly fatuous to think all those things just flow from the sky while we happily embrace them, while politics happens somewhere else with no connection to you and your kids and your friends. The point of politics isn’t how “good” it is, as in a tasting menu – the point isn’t aesthetic enjoyment. The point is that it sets the terms for how we live. It can set them such that a happy few get to revel in luxury in some Downton Abbey in the sky while everyone else slaves to support them, or it can set them more equitably. Claire Lehmann can eat all the brioche she wants but it won’t change that fact.

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