What a RELIEF!
This past week was, I think, stressful for everyone in the United States who pays attention to politics. It was also, judging from input from friends abroad, stressful for just about everyone else.
(One friend put it in a very colorful way indeed: Putain, c’est long l’accouchement, là! I’ll let you put that into Google translate.)
And yet, despite the relief, the joy and the anticipation of having a GROWNUP HEADED TO THE WHITE HOUSE, I still have a sense of foreboding.
Not All Rosy
For one thing, while Biden and Harris won with the largest number of votes cast in US history, it must be said that Donald Trump is the biggest loser.
And by that I mean that he is the loser who lost despite having an absolutely HUGE number of votes cast for him.
If people turned out in record numbers for Biden, they also turned out in record numbers for Trump.
This article by Monica Hesse in the Washington Post sums up nicely how I feel about that.
No Blue Wave
Because of the frightening number of people who voted for division, isolationism, and white supremacy, there was no blue wave to speak of.
Democrats did not take a commanding majority in the senate, and even lost ground in the house (while still retaining the majority).
This may be because of the frighteningly large number of Americans who embrace Trumpism. Or because we’re so locked into a two-party system that we can’t bring ourselves to vote for the other party.
But it could also be because the Democratic party seems to have a fundamental inability to foster a sense of unity, of being a collective.
Biden said last night that decency won this election. Maybe. But I’m pretty sure Biden won this election for two reasons: 1. Kamala Harris and 2. because he’s not Donald Trump.
Being the party of “not Donald Trump” isn’t a sustainable party platform for the Democrats.
Hard Road Ahead
And so, despite having won the election, Biden and Harris will meet some obstacles before they are “officially” recognized as president- and vice-president-elect.
The president (for that is what he still is), his campaign and the GOP have launched a barrage of law suits and complaints about alleged election “irregularities.”
He and his cronies have also refused to concede defeat, insisting alternately on victory and fraud.
What is most discouraging is how even those Republicans who are lukewarm at best on Trump are largely remaining silent on the matter, not echoing the president’s false claims, but also not congratulating Biden on his victory. (Mitt Romney is a notable exception.)
We Are Not Out of the Woods
Many people may think that we’re done, the insanity is over, and we can go back to living our normal lives.
However, we are not out of the woods.
Unless Democrats can pull off victories in the upcoming run-off election in Georgia in January 2021 (click here to send money to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization!), the Senate will remain in Republican control.
That will make it very hard for Biden and Harris to do all the things they’re talking about doing.
Do Not Get Complacent
We need to remain engaged. Keep participating. Keep informed. Keep watching the president like a hawk and demanding accountability.
Just because our man (and our WOMAN!!! KAMALA!!) is in the White House, does not mean that we can hit cruise control.
We have GOT. TO. KEEP. PAYING. ATTENTION.
Polarization is at an all-time high, political division is rife. We need to do what we can to come out of our respective corners.
We have got to figure out how we can work TOGETHER to reject xenophobia, racism and childish bullying, while listening to and trying to understand our fellow Americans.
Because in the end, that’s what we all are.