Like most sane Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and pretty much any other member of the global community, I found myself feeling relieved on Saturday when the election was called for Joe Biden. I pulled my car over on the streets of Nashville and joined a dancing crowd as soon as I got the message from Matthew Barlow saying it was over. Granted, my dancing was on par with Elaine’s from Seinfield, but it was pure joy and I didn’t really care how stupid I looked.
I was happy and I was relieved. I wasn’t relieved because my life was going to be terrible under Trump. I am a straight white Catholic male; I was going to be just fine. I was relieved because my brother-in-law will no longer have to look over his shoulder for ICE agents, that my gay friends will be able to rest easier knowing they have a chief executive who respects their humanity. As a progressive, I could realistically hope that the new president, though far from a progressive, will be willing to work with progressive lawmakers to weave progressive ideals into passable legislation.
The future looked bright, and even brighter once Vice President Elect Kamala Harris took the stage on Saturday night and gave a speech that was just so goddamn moving that I ugly-cried along with the girl was giving a Lyft to – all the way from her house to the bar where she was going to to celebrate the election. Every single person who got into my car in Nashville that night was elated. We were no longer living in fear, we were living in hope. And that hope grew when Biden took the stage and spoke in complete sentences.
Just think: We have someone about to assume the highest office offive in the land who capable of speaking in complete sentences and avoiding non-sequiturs in a way that we have not heard since Barack Obama.
(Side-bar: My biggest regret is the fact that I was so racist and ignorant during the Obama years to appreciate the man. But I do now!)
Then my hope evaporated in a cloud of worry. Biden said “we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,,, We are not enemies.” I have to ask: then who are they, if not the enemy?
How is a person who voted to lock children in cages not an enemy of humanity? How is the businessperson who voted to put their third car and second house above my access to healthcare not my personal enemy? How is the person who voted for a president who accused my dreamer brother-in-law of being a criminal, and a “low-IQ” person not my family’s enemy? How is someone who supports a president who boasts about raping women not the enemy of everyone woman I know? How is a voter who cast a ballot for a president who rolled back LGBTQ+ rights not the enemy of the LGBTQ+ community? How is anyone who still supports an administration that is now undermining our democratic process not the enemy of this country?
I supported Biden and Harris with my vote and I support them now, but I categorically reject this whitewash of our recent hstory, and I hope the majority of Americans let them know that they reject it as well.
If we want to live in post-racist society, we must reject all forms of hatred and bigotry. Even if it means refusing to reconcile with friends, family, and loved ones who voted against the humanity of their fellow Americans.