There was unbridled joy among the revelers who took to the streets last week to celebrate the victory of the Biden-Harris presidential ticket. They danced, sang, and chanted giving themselves over to a communal expression of giddy — sometimes goofy —exuberance. But a lot of the celebrants also told all who asked that their display of happiness was based on something else — a profound sense of relief. A collective exhaling that many feared would never happen.
I recognized that feeling of relief, but exhaling? Not sure I can do that just yet.
How can I when the post-election moving forward that should be taking place is stalled while a recalcitrant sore loser refuses to concede? I assumed President Trump would not go quietly, although I didn’t believe that he wouldn’t go, period.
I wasn’t even alarmed in September when he told reporters “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens “when asked whether he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power. I was one of the naive folks who dismissed that as Trump rhetoric, another daily dose of crazy that has been par for the course for nearly four years. So, I bypassed all those pointy-headed think pieces warning that he wouldn’t concede and might refuse to go. Instead, I paid close attention to the widespread voter suppression and the millions of voters who risked their health to make sure they had a voice in defeating the president.
In the days leading up to Nov. 3, I fought a 24/7 queasy stomach, a symptom of the massive anxiety I didn’t shake until Saturday’s electoral count put Biden-Harris over the top.
That fleeting moment of relief was quickly replaced by a familiar emotion — anger. Not toward the man in the Oval Office who upwards of 77 million Americans voted to evict, but toward the disingenuous cohort of sycophants who continue to support an emperor with no clothes. They know better, and yet out of some misplaced loyalty or fear they damage our democracy by fomenting distrust of the election process. An election process they have readily validated for the Republicans who won seats in the House and the Senate and in state legislatures across the country, but who are now hypocritically questioning the results at the top of the ballot.
It’s unconscionable, but people with no shame can’t be shamed. The president taught them that. President-elect Biden can make all the healing overtures he wants, but I don’t know how he can work with this crew, all of whom pledged — no, swore — to represent the people but instead have chosen to support a nascent coup.
I planned to leave my rage at the polls. But here I am hurtling from relief to rage while my government is held hostage by someone who’s demonstrated he could care less about the consequences of his actions. Playing golf while states overwhelmed with COVID infections build out extra hospitals and call in more refrigerated trucks to house the bodies. The courts have dismissed dozens of the president’s claims of voter fraud for lack of evidence. Too bad his Republicans allies have decided to back the real fraud, perpetrated against American voters.