First things first, congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden, and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris!!! 2020 has been a nail-biting year for us all, much of it clinching on the results of this election. Many of us wondered if we’d be subjected to 4 more years of tyranny and idiocy under our current president, but democracy has saved the day – for now.
For five full days, many of us traded sleep and productivity for monitoring the news 24/7 on our phones, televisions, social media sites, and elsewhere. Group texts boomed, and conversations sparked worldwide on who would win the title of US President-Elect this time around. The race was much closer than polls had predicted, and unfortunately for many, there was no “blue wave” as many had hoped for. Many of us were glued to the screen, simultaneously fascinated and horrified that we, as a nation could prove to be so divided.
For many people of color, the first night of the election was uncomfortably similar to watching the results of the 2016 presidential race between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, which we all know the outcome of. This time, the win was in our favor, but in 2016, black people, the LGBTQ community, indigenous people, and many other marginalized groups, took personally the fact that millions of people could vote against the interests of the underserved.
Donald Trump supporters are known for parroting his bigoted views and narcissistic intentions. This time was no different, in that the primary issues dividing the country stem from the Coronavirus Pandemic and the approach to combating the dangerous virus. Trump and his supporters have loudly sided against science, as it relates to climate change, but also as it relates to slowing and containing covid-19. They’ve urged the opening of businesses and condoned large gatherings, and even school openings without properly providing masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), or testing.
Thankfully, more than half of the United States agrees with science, and have voted accordingly. They also agree with President-Elect Biden that this is a time to come together, rather than further the divide. In his acceptance speech, Biden assured the American people that he will aid those who voted for him and those who voted against him. That said, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made historical acknowledgements to the groups that had delivered their win as well.
The ink is still drying on the long list of firsts that Kamala Harris has accomplished with this win; she is the first Jamaican, first black, first female, first South Asian, and first HBCU graduate to grace the White House as Vice President. Harris lovingly declared in her acceptance speech that “black women are the backbone of our democracy,” in what is surely the first Vice President-Elect speech to shout-out and celebrate black women by name.
Yet and still, social media proved that many are unwilling to celebrate amidst the many issues facing communities of need here in America. The Fun Police have been quick to try to dampen the celebration on account of us “still having a long way to go.” The thing is – we can absolutely celebrate the small victories on the way to healing. The fact that we now have leaders invested in the healing of America, and particularly, in the healing of black communities, is something worth being excited about. Being happy about this win does not discount the work left to be done!
In black communities especially, we are not often given the room to bask in our joy. Part of this is psychological conditioning, and comes as a result of the very real traumas inflicted on black people generationally. But part of this is also just succumbing to the weight of these high-pressure times.
Dating back as far as the foundational labor that created the thriving of America, black people have been given disproportionate levels of responsibility in catering to this country. Even now, during this very election, it was the urban cities, home to millions of African-American citizens, that delivered the country, and Biden, this win.
Know that it’s okay to pat yourself on the back. It’s okay to set those burdens down, even if only for a moment, to celebrate this victory! It’s okay to be pumped that Donald Trump will be a one-term president, and that WE had something to do with that.
Call your folks, cheers your friends (virtually), drink, smoke, dance, run, or just embrace your RELIEF! The Biden-Harris ticket coming out on top is a win for science, a win for womens’ rights, it’s a win for inclusion, and it’s a win for progress. We won’t be duped by a sense of false contentment, instead we will continue to passionately advocate for our healing amidst that of America’s restoration.
Keep in mind that we did our part, and embrace calm as 2020 comes to a close. Your voice and vote have been heard; now rest before we continue the fight. You deserve it!