Don’t Let Your Political Fervor Die With The Trump Administration.
Biden is infinitely better than Trump, but he’s far from the progressive victory we’d hoped for.
When the 2020 presidential race was called for Biden there was dancing in the streets in New York City. In Astoria, drivers honked their horns to celebrate while little old ladies shimmied in their windows, banging tunelessly against pots and pans. It was a discordant display of joy, one that a few talented folk managed to twerk to.
I love me some patriotic twerking, but in the wake of a Biden-Harris victory I felt a bit odd about all the merry making. I felt like I was watching the celebration through a foggy window. Peeking in I could see the party-goers, hear the revelry, and bask a bit in the glow. I just couldn’t bring myself to go inside.
This celebration feels like a good-bye party, it feels as if everyone’s getting ready to clean up and go home. As if the scope of our ambition was merely to rid ourselves of Trump and, now that this country has elected Biden, we’re done here.
But I’m not done, and you shouldn’t be either. We are, as ever, in the long middle stretch of the race to a more equitable future.
Now, I’m not begrudging anyone their sigh of relief or their joy. I spent the majority of last week rapidly switching between MSNBC and CNN. Constantly refreshing my New York Times app, tracking each vote dump with bated breathe. When I wasn’t doing that I lit candles and set intentions. I sat in conversation with Georgia for hours, pleading for blue votes. When it flipped I punched the air, then I promised I’d plant a peach tree if it managed to hold — still waiting, albeit with much more patience now that a run-off is inevitable.
In short, I went a bit nutty.
All that to say yes, these celebrations are certainly warranted. It has been a horrific four years and I’m learning to practice gratitude for every good thing. Joy is fuel for the hard stuff and it’s important that we fill up often. So, in the spirit of joy here’s a list of the things that I am presently grateful for, in no particular order:
1. The Biden-Harris ticket earned the most votes ever achieved in a presidential election.
Right now the Biden-Harris ticket is leading by 4.5 million votes. That is such an incredible display of investment from the citizens of this country. This race was tight, despite the lead. For reasons that don’t belong on my gratitude list, so I’ll digress for now.
2. Kamala Harris is a massive symbolic victory for Black and Brown women.
Gosh, I have so much to say about Harris. Regardless of the complexities here, representation matters and this is a massive leap.
3. Trump’s appointees are going to be replaced by far more competent individuals.
Thank goodness. Now Ben Carson can go back to whatever he was doing before he invested his time as HUD secretary cutting aid programs for the poor and while spending taxpayer money playing interior decorator. He’ll be free to go mucking about with brain matter and grain silos or whatever.
Betsy Devos is going to be replaced by someone who was actually a teacher and will invest in public schools, instead of charter schools that are designed to serve only the more affluent — and whiter — students.
4. Biden’s pandemic response promises to be more aggressive and science-based than Trump’s.
Again, thank goodness. His very doctor-y Covid19 advisory board along with the promising performance of a new vaccine from Pfizer are small bright lights at the end of a long awful tunnel. Truly, this is the first time I’ve allowed myself to imagine that we could have this virus under control by 2022.
5. Trump is a violent man who inspired his base into violence. I’m grateful that he will have less opportunity to do so in the future.
This is more of a wish for the future than a conclusion. I don’t know how Trump intends to behave for the next 70 something days until he leaves the White house. I do hope that he doesn’t spend his time trying to further incense his base, they have a habit of protesting with their guns and I’m praying this transition comes to pass non-violently. Also, I’m quite certain Trump wasn’t playing about those Proud Boys. The more distance we put between this country and his administration the better.
So you see! That’s five whole things I’m thrilled about!
I’m not a joyless creature intent on ruining your day. I’m your friend. At least, I have been for the last four years. Since that day in November 2016, when so many of you felt for the very first time that your government didn’t care about you anymore. When you felt like you were on the outside, we were right there with you.
I’m urging you, now that you feel safe again, to remember that we are all still out here. Your black friends, your LGBTQ friends, and your immigrant friends are still out here. We have been with you every step of this journey and now, that we see you caught up in all the joy of this moment, we’re curious to know if this is where you’ll leave us.
I’m just your queer black friend, sitting in the room watching the champagne corks fly and wondering quietly when y’all are gonna start talking next steps for de-funding the police now that we have a ‘top cop’ for vice president. I want to hear less pundits joking about taking the next two years off and more leading serious conversations about localized anti-racism efforts, abolishing ICE, and protecting Roe V Wade.
I wanna talk about the climate and gun control. I wanna talk about how are we are going to reunite those traumatized kids in detention centers with their parents, and how we are going to protect and repay those families for the irreparable harm we’ve done.
Let’s talk about how Trump in this election received the second most votes of any candidate — right behind Biden. Because liberals keep trying to frame this victory as a massive repudiation of Trump when, in actuality, this race was won on a razors edge.
It worries me that people are so thrilled with this victory that they are willing to lie to themselves about the state of things.
What your queer, femme, and BIPOC friends need is to know that you’re still paying attention because all the issues we’ve faced in the last year haven’t magically vanished. We still need you. Awake and invested. We need to know that your celebration isn’t a goodbye party and that you are still committed to fighting the good fight. Even when that fight doesn’t center you.
So take care of us now. That’s all I’m asking. Reach out and let your friends and comrades know that you haven’t checked out. Invite them into the party and toast to the work that remains to be done. Savor the sweetness of this hard won moment, get some rest. Then get back to work.