By Gurnam Singh | OPINION |
Today, in the USA, we are seeing history in the making. And that is not about the inglorious departure of the most criminally incompetent President in US history, Donald Trump. Nor is it about inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46 President, the career politician who has finally managed to secure the top job.
No, the really historic thing about today is the inauguration of Kamala Harris, who will not only be the first ever female Vice President of the USA, but the first black woman.
There are many things wrong about the USA, such as its history of slavery and racism, it’s imperialism, its many disastrous military operations, it’s obsession with neoliberal capitalism, it’s terrible inequalities, and failings of the system, that were so horribly exposed by Trumps criminality.
Yet, as a profoundly multicultural, multiracial, diverse nation made up almost wholly of migrants, the USA represents a microcosm of the whole world. It is a nation made up of many ethnic groups, languages and belief systems. In some sense, it is an experiment on how to build a diverse, cohesive, just democratic society. For sure there are many imperfections and in this sense, the USA is an ongoing work in progress.
Amongst Lefties, like me, it is fashionable to trash the USA. To be honest, I do cringe at some of the absurd materialism that one associates it with! But, the truth is, as the most powerful country in the world, economically, militarily and perhaps even culturally, the USA is too important to fail. Whether we like it or not, its stability and ongoing development towards a more equal, just, stable and democratic country is in all our interest.
Let us hope that with a new team led by President Biden is able to bring the people together by focussing on the needs of ordinary people. I have no doubt the vast majority of the people of the USA, or for that matter the whole world, simply desire the basic things in life, namely, health, welfare, education, security and means to secure a reasonable quality of life.
The world is presently very much at a crossroads. Just as we were focussing on the challenge of climate change, COVID 19 virus arrived leading to an epidemic that has resulted in terrible suffering. It has also seriously destabilised the global economy leaving most countries struggling with recession. There is a real danger of a global depression and all the social consequences that will bring. We also see the rise of reactionary politics across the world. Extremist majoritarianism that seeks to blame minorities, refugees and migrants for all the ills, is definitely looming large in most democrats countries.
All I can do is pray and hope that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the new administration will have the courage and conviction to do the right thing, to bring people together and to focus on the biggest evil of all, and that is inequality. And in doing so repair some of the damage caused by Trump and become a beacon for others to follow.
[Gurnam Singh is an academic activist dedicated to human rights, liberty, equality, social and environmental justice. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick, UK. He can be contacted at Gurnam.firstname.lastname@example.org]
* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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