#BidenHarris2020: Measured Joy, Cautious Optimism, and Tempered Celebration

Today’s announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the official President- and Vice President-Elect has brought with it waves of emotion across the country. This fifth day of post-vote tallying symbolizes a culmination of what so many of us have desired since 2016: A hope for a better future.

While we celebrate this pivotal moment in the sociopolitical history of our country, we cannot (and should not) ignore the sobering reminder that our electoral maps have elucidated so plainly and so persistently: Racism resides at the core of this nation. White supremacy lives in the blueprint of the sociopolitical architecture that renders Black bodies disposable. Patriarchy drives the sociocultural motivations of policy and practice that leave women, femmes, non-men, and queer individuals unprotected and marginalized. And capitalism continues to inspire the socioeconomic infrastructure that disproportionately burdens the welfare of the Black and brown. Even in our relief, or jubilation, and our celebration, these are realities that we must continually acknowledge.

While we know that forces of racism, sexism, capitalism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other interwoven oppressive structures did not begin with the 45th presidential administration, they have undeniably enjoyed an emboldened resurgence. These oppressive structures form the building blocks of the United States. To be Black (and Queer) in America means that I am constantly reminded of this reality. As much as I would like to savor joy in the promise of a new tomorrow, I cannot divorce myself from the reality that my rights will forever be politicized, that my humanity will forever be questioned, and that my existence will forever be marginalized. 

Donald Trump is, objectively, a scourge. He and his regime have ushered immeasurable hardship to so many. From the miscontainment of a pandemic, to the caging undocumented immigrants, and to the spearheading continued disenfranchisement of the poor, the Black, and the brown, his regime has done nothing to promote progression toward improved life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Yet, 47.7% of the nation’s votership elected the continuation of his presidency. Over 70 million Americans unabashedly chose to reinstate a president who proudly touts a leadership mired in neo-Nazi and fascist ideation. Four years of this presidency have shown that this allegiance is far deeper than political affiliation. The 47.7% voted to sustain flagrant dehumanization, unyielding disenfranchisement, and obstinate oppression in honor of white supremacy. 

It isn’t just in the South. It isn’t just in the small towns. It is everywhere. 

Graphics and Results provided by Associated Press

Were it not for the tireless and persistent efforts of grassroots organizers, the increase of young votership, the surge of mail-in ballots, and the success of Black, brown, and Native representation at the polls, Donald Trump would have undoubtedly entered into his second term. 

While the Biden-Harris victory has offered a symbol of disruption to status quo and of hope to imagine a new reality, we also have to sit with all of these layers.

As if a continued acknowledgement of the United States’ inexorable relationship with oppression isn’t enough, we must also acknowledge the fact that Biden’s and Harris’s political careers suggest a tenuous promise of radical shifts regarding the social, structural, and economic prognosis of the most marginalized. Examinations of political histories of both newly-elected democrats reveal a prevailing alignment to a white moderate sentiment. The 45th administration leaves many remnants in its wake, with presence in the supreme court, the in house of representatives, and the senate. In the fight toward paradigmatic disruptions to the status quo, an appeal to the white moderate will leave the 46th administration ill-equipped and scantily armed, and I fear that any promise of progress will be swiftly undermined and easily compromised. While I am hopeful that the promises of the Biden-Harris campaign will be realized, I am yet apprehensive. 

Family, while I hope you can sustain joy in this moment, that you can celebrate, and that you can carry a promise of a better future in your hearts and minds, I know many of you share my sentiments. For those of us who are sitting with a multitude of thoughts and feelings, I see you. May we continue to navigate this complex and magical existence together.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.