Today at about 11:30 am, the media called the 2020 US presidential election. The winners are the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and his running mate-- the first woman elected to the vice presidency-- California Senator Kamala Harris.
It is a new day in America.
The last four years have been a struggle for the survival of American democracy. That struggle has been no less fundamental than the Civil War or World War II, for all that our people died not from foreign artillery but in hospitals and under the knees of police officers.
A majority of Americans spoke up this week to reclaim our fundamental values: equality before the law and equality of opportunity. This was a huge win. The Republicans did all they could to disfranchise Democratic voters, yet as of tonight, Biden and Harris are ahead by more than 5 million votes, with more votes still to be counted.
This victory, the defense of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” belongs to everyone who refused to let right-wing talking points go unchallenged any longer, who called their congressional representatives, who wrote letters to their local newspapers, who filled out a ballot, who ran for office. It belongs to everyone who stood up for America as a land of freedom and possibility, rather than a land of carnage.
It belongs to you.
If there is anything the last four years have taught us, it’s that we are our own saviors.
The struggle to protect our democracy is not over, not by a long shot. Already Trump’s supporters are insisting that the vote was rigged and the election stolen, and they are vowing to fight. Popular right-wing media hosts are egging them on. Meanwhile, Trump’s term does not end until January 20, 2021, and he will almost certainly use that time to take revenge on those he blames for his loss, that is: us. The next two months are going to be rocky.
While this election saved democracy for now, the forces that gave rise to Donald Trump’s presidency have not been vanquished. America is still under siege by oligarchs who are trying to take control of the country. They win supporters by spinning a false narrative that feeds fear and fury to drive ordinary Americans apart. And, as we now know, 70 million voters are open to their narrative, even if it means children torn from their parents, half of the country demonized as anti-American, a lawless administration, a deep recession, and more than 230,000 Americans dead.
For my part, I believe that the way to defang this cabal is by rejecting its lies and returning fact-based argument to the center of our national conversations. Going forward, I will continue to do my part to make that happen.
But whatever the future brings, there is no doubt that today is ours. After four years in which we have indulged the worst of our nation, we have voted to reclaim the best.
Thank you all for this day.
[photo by Buddy Poland]