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.
I cannot sing, or dance, or celebrate. Obviously I’m not doing well with sleeping either.
I worry. That’s me - a worrier. I’ve been worried since 2016. Every time something happens, something that should be out of the realm of a normal person’s thought process (destroying the post office? Who saw that coming?) I am just bolstered in my feeling that we are all doomed. I feel like Eeyore.
Don’t get me wrong. I AM relieved. I just don’t feel safe yet. January 5 will help - or not. January 20 with nothing major happening (Defined as nothing Biden can’t undo the first day) is the goal right now.
All the kumbaya for peace and love for the other side has me on edge. I’ve seen this movie. I’ve seen Lucy and the football. I am screaming “don’t go down into the basement!” And “don’t go into the water!” While the Jaws music just increases in volume.
I’m not ready to let my guard down. I’m not ready to forgive and forget (and why is that Dems are always the ones offering the olive branch?)
In 2016, there was always the possibility that 60M people were fooled, that they took it as a joke, that they thought he was an outsider, and would be good to shake things up. That he was a good businessman.
It is painful and horrifying that in 2020 71M people did it deliberately. They knew what he was and did it deliberately. And now, with their objections, I see that they can’t stand to live in a world that does not encourage their racism, their violence, their willingness to pull babies from the breast and put them in a cage. That they are fine with a world run by and for the wealthy, as long as they can hope for a crumb. And they always have the Dems, the libtards, and the black and brown and “other people” to blame for their failings. That we will have this fight every four years, and the years in between.
Sorry, no kumbaya here. No forgive and forget. The damage is too great. The PTSD is too strong. We don’t have to compromise with the other half of the population, but it helps to know they are really out there.
I just wish I could stop grinding my teeth.
For me it’s now the morning after, and it’s slowly sinking in that “we really did it.” Months ago, someone posted online that during WW2, it took the might of the Allied forces to overthrow fascism in Europe....but who would come to save the US from descending into hell? Could we save ourselves? Would enough people see the actual danger? We finally got our answer yesterday. “Yes, we can.”
Through it all, you, Dr Richardson helped us immensely, by reminding us of other times when we nearly failed. You took up your (electronic) pen and inspired us to collectively do the two things we all have in our power—talk to each other, and vote.
I hope you take a well-deserved break now, though I look forward to reading and learning more from you as the US struggles to “build back better.”
Dear Heather, Your email each morning for the past year has been my companion during this awful year of virus and unbridled trumpism. Thank you for your efforts , the long nights, and your deep understanding of American history. Simon Rich
I will never forget that moment. Here in Delaware I had just finished filling a new garden patch with topsoil and begun to plant bulbs. It was the most beautiful fall day one could dream up, and I was sitting in the slanting yellow sunlight and transcendent calm, my hands full of black earth and pearly white nuggets of life, when my partner called from the back door, "they're calling it!". I planted over 200 bulbs today - my America flowers.
All of these little things - each time we reassert facts with kindness or write our congresspeople or *vote* - all of these pearly little things will bloom one day and we will have spring.
This is long overdue, but THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. I have CLUNG to every word you’ve written over the past year. You’ve literally kept me sane—and well informed. I don’t know how you do it, but please know that you have buoyed a vast number of weary travelers on this journey we call democracy. I know we have so much work to do going forward, but your words have girded us for the fight. I am so grateful.
Congratulations from England, decent America! The tawdry politics of recent years have stained conceptions of your country very badly but this win offers the chance for recovery. The world needs the best of you. But watch out for the lout on the golf course..
What a day full of joyous relief! It was wonderful to read and share in this group during the day.
And still there is work to do in the US Senate runoff in Georgia. Stacey Abrams has worked for over 12 years to get the state turning blue. If these 2 Senate seats go blue, then the Senate will be 50-50, with tiebreaker Vice President Kamala Harris. Ways to help include donations, postcards, and registering new voters.
Young people who turn 18 by Jan. 5, 2021 can register by Dec. 7, 2020.
List from HCR reader Mim E yesterday:
Those who want to flip the Senate by getting Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock elected might consider supporting them via these organizations:
https://fairfight.com/join-our-fight/ [This is the organization founded by Stacey Abrams.]
There is also this new Facebook group that you can join:
Taking back our democratic process!
I danced with my wife and sons in Times Square today. Thank you Heather Cox Richardson for helping us through this time. You are a buoy of sane in an ocean of cuckoo.
Inspiring! All of it! HCR’s letter, the speeches by Harris and Biden, people dancing in the street like VJ Day, the way I feel this morning. Biden’s speech was the most honest, from the heart, most inspired, statement by a politician in my almost 70 yrs. He had no notes and I didn’t see a teleprompter.
I think we’d almost forgotten life without despair, without fear.
There is still much to do, but, by God! it feels good to be alive this morning, this new morning in America.
Dr. Richardson, yesterday in celebration of the Biden victory, you posted on Facebook the video of the late Pete Seeger, Seeger's grandson Tao Rodríguez-Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen singing "This Land Is Your Land" in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the Obama inauguation ceremonies in January 2009. I would like to relate the story of that performance because I think it's cool. The story is told by historian Will Kaufman on the fascinating YouTube video "This Land Is Your Land: The Story of an American Anthem."
Kaufman tells the history of the song--that it wasn't really popular until it was published in an elementary school music book in the 1950s. And they only published four of the seven verses that Woody Guthrie wrote. The other three were probably considered too "radical" to include.
Fast forward to the Obama inauguration. The inauguration committee approached Bruce Springsteen and asked him if he would be willing to sing "This Land Is Your Land" at a Lincoln Memorial celebration during the inauguration ceremonies. Springsteen said he would do it, but only if Pete Seeger would be willing to sing it with him. So they asked Seeger and his reply was he would do it, but only if he could sing all the verses.
So they did. Well, they sang all three of the more controversial verses, slightly modified (by Springsteen, I believe); they did leave out one of the four better known and more innocuous verses, the one that begins, "When the sun came shining, then I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling..."
The video from the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite live performance of the song. The multicultural choir doing the background singing helps make it for me. THIS is America! Thanks for sharing it.
I’m enjoying this victory weekend, and then I’m going to look for a volunteer opportunity that puts to good use my innate skills (communicating and educating) to educate others about US civics.
It’s my belief that not enough of our fellow citizens understand our system of government; further, it’s my (perhaps naive) belief that enlightenment can work like a balm.
What worries me, though is the three-headed monster that is systemic racism, systemic misogyny and opportunity/income inequality. Until and unless specific and decisive steps are taken to address each, our fractures deepen and the next American oligarch awaits her/his/their election.
I felt like I took my first deep breath today. Watching and listening to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, with my daughters, was like Christmas morning came early.
I watched Van Jones on CNN shortly after the call and his tearful emotional release did the same for me. Four years of trying to pretend life is normal wears on a person. The weight of that burdened lifted and has given me strength to move forward. Last night seeing Joe and Kamala gave me comfort. Funny, that calling them by their 1st names seems normal because they are so real. ❤️
Thank you for your inspiring words. You help people see. On CNN today Anderson apologized for recently using words to negatively describe Donald Trump. “That’s not the type of person I want to be.” Van Jones cried as he expressed his joy and relief that Joe Biden is now president-elect. Such strong emotions. In my opinion Donald Trump has done this to us. Filling us with fear, disgust, and even hatred. Even though I Know I will worry until January 20, 2021, today I feel relief and joy. Dancing in the streets and church bells ringing all over Europe. Today is a good day.
To the familiar American refrain of "Where were you in 1963 when you heard JFK had been assassinated," may now be added to "Where were you in 2020 when you first heard Trump had been defeated?"
The reign of Trump has been a national nightmare. I often found myself these last two years especially asking whether this was what it was like living in Nazi Germany during WWII, cringing at the thought of what another four years would bring to the last shreds of democracy in American.
Yes, we just dodged a huge bullet, but there will be so much work to repair the damage done. America's experiment in democracy is still alive, though badly bruised. It is time to once again to come together and reassert the ideal. And that my dear friends and fellow citizens is now "the only game in town . . ."
November 7 was my birthday and I couldn't have imagined a better present.