I went to sleep on election night 2016 confident that I would wake up to our country’s first female president, and I awoke the next morning and felt ice in my stomach.
Many of my friends said that they cried during election night and the morning after. I didn’t cry, I just felt numb and vaguely angry.
I was optimistic that he wouldn’t do as much damage as we feared. Certainly there were the checks and balances we learned in school that would keep him from doing so much harm.
I was wrong.
He harmed us. He harmed again and again and again. He harmed people of color. He harmed transgender people. He harmed the queer community. He harmed women. He harmed immigrants. He harmed Muslims.
Donald Trump ruled the country on a white supremacist power trip.
And today, Saturday, November 7, 2020, AP has called the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
A candidate I almost didn’t vote for because I was so deeply angry at the Democratic party. I still am. I think the Democrats are more of the same establishment, but they pretend to care about minorities. They’ll put a rainbow flag and a Black fist in their twitter bios while they don’t do anything to stop an unqualified right-wing Supreme Court nominee from being shoved onto the court just weeks before an election.
I resolved myself to the fact that voting for Biden was necessary. Our two party system and the electoral college are absolute trash, but they are the trash we currently live in, so I played by the rules. I voted for Biden.
And I cried today when the election was called for him because the wave of relief across my Facebook feed, from my poor friends, my Black friends, my queer friends, my disabled friends, was so palpable that it hit me hard. And their relief, even among all my cynicism and eye rolling at the Dems, was my relief too.
The work is not done. Not by a long shot.
But for now, we can breathe, and we know that we will not have to fight against active hatred coming from the White House for another four years.
We aren’t “safe” yet. But we can pause and make plans to organize and work for a more just and equitable government under an administration that isn’t inciting violence and throwing temper tantrums
Organizers of Color Made This Possible
This election result is possible because of the immense effort of organizers of color. The phenomenal organizing in Georgia by Stacey Abrams, Helen Butler, Nsé Ufot, Tamieka Atkins, and Deborah Scott led to nearly one million new voter registrations and an unprecedented Democratic voter turnout that turned Georgia blue.
Indigenous organizing led to voter turnout shifts in Arizona and Wisconsin, which were called for Biden, as well as Montana and South Dakota, which were called for Trump — but the counties with high populations of Indigenous voters were overwhelmingly blue.
Remember when 53% of white women voted for Trump in 2016, and all the liberal white women were shocked? This year, 55% of white women voted for Trump. The success of the Biden campaign came from people of color, specifically Black women like Stacey Abrams.
Celebrate, but it’s not over
Take some time today to celebrate this win. But remember that it’s nowhere near “over.” Donald Trump was not the cause of the racism, islamophobia, homophobia, and other hatred that has been on full display over the last four years. This country is steeped in white supremacy, protections for the rich, and oppression of the working class.
We still need to talk about police brutality. We still need to talk about the school to prison pipeline. We still need to talk about cannabis convictions. We still need to talk about the racism baked into every system in this country. We still need to make an actual plan to address climate change. We still need to talk about the concentration camps full of kids in cages. We still need to talk about COVID. We still need to talk about the minimum wage. We still need to talk about medicare for all.
We still have work to do.
If you’re relieved to the point of tears today, thank a Black activist!