There were tears of joy. Family members and friends calling, emailing and texting each other. Popping open a bottle of bubbly with two neighbors (socially distanced, of course). The knot is gone from the pit of my stomach. My step is a little lighter. (not so my body). Joe Biden, the youngest man ever elected to the U.S. Senate has become the oldest man ever elected President. Number 46, to be exact.
The blue wave did not happen, the Senate has not changed leadership. But, please, let’s allow ourselves a little time to exhale. Donald Trump is that which he so mercilessly mocks: a loser. In January, the narcissistic, boorish, race-baiting, divisive, money-grubbing, ignorant, contemptible trampler of laws and norms will be hightailing it to Mar-a-Lago or one of his properties abroad (where there is no extradition treaty). Joe Biden, a decent, experienced, empathetic, solidly grounded man will take Trump’s place in January. We don’t have to be embarrassed before our children and grandchildren or other countries, for that matter. We wish POTUS-elect good luck. We wish him good health.
Biden has pledged to be President of all Americans, irrespective of whether they voted for or against him. Nearly half of the country did not vote for him. Indeed, more people voted for Trump this year than in 2016. Biden’s task of bringing the deeply divided nation together will not be easy. Democratic exuberance over possibly taking control of the Senate may well prove unfounded. More probably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be an obstacle to Biden’s nominations and programmatic promises, and Biden supporters will have to be patient. Change won’t happen overnight.
And the transition won’t be pleasant. The President has promised a scorched earth legal attack starting Monday morning. It’s not going to be pretty. And, even if his legal maneuvering fails, he can still create havoc between now and January 20th. Even afterward, Trump himself will probably be tweeting from the sidelines, keeping his supporters in a constant querulous state. Trump may leave, but Trumpism lives on. But at least we won’t have to get up every single day anxious about what vile, divisive message he had tweeted overnight, or what egregious thing he would do during the day.
The country has a daunting agenda of critical needs, beginning with tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crises. Reversing Trump’s environmental damage and many other issues will be top priorities. Democrats have a load of work to do, starting with the two Georgia Senate races and their run-offs on January 5th.
Of these, we will have much more to say. But today, let’s just enjoy the celebration, the feeling of vindication, and the taste of hope that we’ve been missing for four long and troubled years.
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