By Phoebe Weinstein
New York City, New York
2021 has begun with the same political fervor as its predecessor—though this year seems to be turning blue. In highly-anticipated runoffs in Georgia, Senators-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have made history as the first Black and Jewish Georgian senators, as well as the first Democrats of the state in such a good position since 2005.
Impressive turnout of the Democrats in Georgia has now evened out the Senate seats, balancing the red and blue. However, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s position leans Congress toward the Democrats. The duality of a blue Congress and blue White House is an exciting prospect for those left of center; however, it is important to remember the kind of pendulum swing American politics has always been.
The presidency of Barack Obama was a beacon of hope for the left, until those furious with his tenure elected Donald Trump. Looking further back in history, the rise of progressive reform in the 1960s was juxtaposed with a subsequent rise of conservatism. As a two-party system, America continues to swing back and forth between the right and left. It is worrying how reactionary our public sphere has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be. A prime example of this reactionary behavior—stemming from these feelings of opposition and internal divide—is the terrorism of Wednesday’s events.
With the conclusion of the Georgia runoff and the certification of the Presidential election results in progress, domestic terrorists bearing Nazi symbols, Trump campaign merchandise, bombs and Confederate flags stormed into the Capitol Building in an insurrection. Some of these people were found roaming the hallways, searching for senators. January 6, 2021 will inevitably go down in history as a day of treasonous insurrection and alt-Right terrorism. It is a testament to how dangerous the two-party system is: someone like Trump—awfully bigoted and influential—can rage before a crowd of people and, with the umbrella of the far Right, unify millions of people under hate and make it feel like a team sport.
The Georgia runoff is a fantastic win for progressive America. It is also, however, a warning sign: the left cannot allow itself to flounder in its current successes as it has in the past. Arguably, President-elect Joe Biden is a moderate white man who will likely not stir the pot too much. However, the events of Wednesday cannot be ignored. It is dangerous to get lost in the guise of progress—especially when there are domestic terrorists grown in our country and rallied to insurrection by a man our nation elected to office. As we must always in the wake of political successes, be grateful and reinvigorated by a win. But be wary of the reactionary; be wary of a progressive façade; be wary of how the two-party system can make a violent, terrifying game of teams in a Republic that governs over 328 million people.