“You cannot treat the 21st-century Republican Party as a legitimate negotiating partner, or a principled ideological opponent, because it has abandoned all principles, possesses no clear or consistent ideology, and does not respect the legitimacy of democracy. Biden’s pitch to voters seems to be that all of that was caused by one evil man with weird hair and terrible manners, and if we can get him out of the way, everything will go back to — well, to what, exactly?” –Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
Because of the pandemic and a mostly functional Democratic trifecta at the state level, New Jersey became a vote-by-mail state for the 2020 election. So I have already voted. Because I’m not a dipshit unaware of my white privilege, I voted for Joe Biden for president. And since I’ve already done my patriotic civic duty, I get to opine further on yet another disastrous aspect of his terrible, lazy campaign: the unity promise.
As cynical as I can be, there was a small part of me that held an iota of hope that Biden would wake the fuck up and see the urgent necessity to run a policy campaign. Like, we’re in hell here dude, maybe talk about how you’re going to make that better? Alas, no. At every turn, we’ve gotten Decency and Unity and Bipartisanship and manufactured bullshit shoved down our throats. Biden keeps touting this empty, nonsensical (and frankly offensive), promise to “unify America.” What’s even worse is that a number of loudmouthed social media users seem to have bought in, and are abusing anyone who points out its obvious and inherent flaws.
So. To anyone who claims that Biden is going to unify America: Tell me how. Name the concrete actions you envision Biden taking that will result in unity. Answer some simple questions:
What will happen to the alt-right, including the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, and QAnon, after Biden is inaugurated? Please take into account that QAnon is, without a doubt, headed to Congress in 2021 when you answer.
Do you think they all move to Russia or something? That a Biden victory will shame them into silence?
What about the forty-ish percent of Americans who maintain full-throated support for Trump? What happens to them in the face of electoral loss? How will Biden unite us with them? Or is he going to unite them with us? Which option would he choose, and how would he accomplish that?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but obviously I think unity is all magical thinking. Here’s why.
First of all, uniting this country – or any country – isn’t actually possible. Fascism is not a 1940’s European blooper, it’s a pervasive human condition. You cannot wish fascists away, and you definitely cannot offer them a seat at the table.
To offer fascists a seat at the table is to give them the entire table.
These are a group of humans with a higher-than-average propensity for violence and self-absorption, a need for rigid black-and-white thinking, and an inability to deal with complexity. They are motivated to keep the white, patriarchal status quo in order, and they have zero qualms about stampeding whomever they must to make it happen. Thinking they will compromise in any way is a fool’s errand. I’ll reiterate because it’s so important: when you give fascists a seat at the table, you are giving them the entire table.
And that’s why it’s utterly offensive for white, straight, male Democratic leaders to use the word “unity.” The Democratic Party’s base is women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ folks. This shouldn’t need to be said, but: we don’t have to unify with people who want us marginalized and dead! It is outrageous that the idea would even be mentioned once, let alone be the entire underbelly of a presidential campaign.
Second of all, “I’ll Unite America” – in this political era?! – is just the stupidest fucking campaign promise a Democrat could ever conceive of making. Why, WHY, would you stake your entire campaign on a promise that is fundamentally impossible to fulfill under the best of circumstances, and which the opposition party can so easily make you break? All Republicans need do is keep fomenting chaos and riling up their alt-right base to make Biden look like a dishonest, incompetent doofus. Congressional Republicans can trip Biden at every turn with one hand tied behind their backs. Given that Uncle Joe literally thinks these contemptible assholes are his friends, they’ve never had an easier assignment.
Every time a liberal or progressive asks tough questions of their candidate or their candidate’s die-hard supporters, we’re accused of being divisive and hateful. Au contraire. It is NOT divisive or rude or hateful to criticize elected officials; it’s an essential component of democracy. They work for us. And if a die-hard supporter believes in this unity campaign thing so much, they should be able to answer some basic questions about how it would concretely work instead of yelling insults. Biden is engaging in what the kids these days call an unforced error. He’s setting himself up to fail, which will get real people marginalized and killed. It needs to end, now. We cannot in good conscience play along with his dumb fantasy.
I’ve been saying this for months now, and I’m still saying it: Biden doesn’t want to BE president, he wants to HAVE BEEN president. He’s done literally not one thing to convince me otherwise.
I keep harping on Biden, despite also voting for him, because I think it’s of utmost importance to walk into this election horror show with clear, fully open eyes and minds. We mustn’t paper over his fallibilities, but instead always demand he fight for us and do his job! And no, his job is not to find common ground with fucking fascists. It does no one any good to pretend he’s someone he’s not, whether that’s a closet progressive, a decent person, or a popular politician. In truth, he’s none of the above. Harsh realism is the only way to the other side of this nightmare.
Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Frittata
- 16 oz. Brussels sprouts, divided
- 8 slices thick-cut (but not slab bacon), chopped
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 10 large eggs
- 2 tbs creme fraiche or sour cream
- 2 tbs grated Parmesan
- 8 oz. Gruyere, shredded
- Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- Strip the outer leaves from all the Brussels sprouts. Trim the base off half of them, then quarter them. Set aside. Take the remaining half and carefully pluck off the large leaves. Try not to tear them (although it’s hardly the end of the world if you do). Set the leaves aside separately.
- Place a 10” cast iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered and the bacon bits are crisped. Shut off the heat. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but about 2 tbs of the bacon fat (save it though!).
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt in the butter. Add the quartered Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently, until they are softened and browned in spots. As you stir, bits and leaves will fall off. This is not a problem. Once the sprouts are cooked, add the shallot, garlic, and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add salt and black pepper to taste and shut off the heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the creme fraiche, Parmesan, plus salt and black pepper to taste.
- Return the skillet to medium-low heat, then pour the egg mixture evenly over the veggies. Don’t stir or touch it. Let it cook for a few minutes, just until you can see the edges starting to set. They will bubble a tad bit. Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts leaves on top of the frittata, and then cover them with the shredded Gruyere. Some bits of leaves will stick out. This is a good thing.
- Place the skillet in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggs are just cooked through. The best way to test this is with a paring knife inserted into the center. If it’s not done yet, eggy liquid will bubble up and your knife won’t come out clean. You know it’s done when your knife comes out clean and when it feels like you’re slicing through cooked egg. You know, because you are.
- Remove the frittata from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. You can cool it all the way to room temperature before serving if you’d prefer. To serve, you can either slide the entire frittata onto a cutting board, or just slice out wedges straight from the pan. Either way works.
- Just so you know, I got those clean slices because I cooled it to room temperature for photographing it. (This is a trick of food photographers, she whispers, they especially do it with lasagna, don’t tell anyone I told you!) If you slice it hot, it’s likely to fall apart on you a little. Still delicious!