For only the second time in my life, today I was reduced to actual sobbing after it was announced that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. Unlike 2016, however, today my tears were those of relief that the era of Trump as president is almost over, that soon I will no longer be under a constant level of anxiety and stress worrying about what awful thing the president was going to do to the country and the planet in order to enrich himself. I actually felt lighter after I heard the news, as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
My tears were tinged with a not insignificant amount of sadness because more than 70 million of my fellow citizens (7 million more than voted for him in 2016!), despite the unending disaster that has been the Trump administration, were still fully supportive of him and the Republican enablers down ballot. There will be many in the media who will tap dance around the reasons for that support, especially given the votes of Cuban-Americans and Venezuelan-Americans in Miami Dade County, but there are two underlying conditions that provide all the proof I need to know that a combination of misogyny and racism is what draws them to him like moths to a flame.
The Republican Party (which many insist on referring to as ‘Trumpism’) long ago gave up any pretext that it was interested in the legislating or debating of anything beyond the appointment of right-wing judges, deregulating their donors’ industries, and maintaining their hold on power by any means necessary. Right now, the future of the Senate remains in flux pending the results of two run-off elections in the state of Georgia for the seats currently occupied by David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Trump toadies who have no business in government.
My 38 year old daughter, who with her boyfriend recently moved 1,500 miles away to Florida and just announced that they’re pregnant with my first grandbaby to replace the theoretical one whose future I’ve been so freaked out over. The texts, postcards and letters I sent to people all over the country were written with all the grandchildren in mind, the ones whose future the Republicans have continued to trash in their wanton destruction of anything that remotely resembles the democracy as we were told it was designed. We are now at a place where we cannot afford to sit back and savor the Biden/Harris victory because we have another election that is nearly as important as the one we have just won.
Georgia was in the unique position of having both Senatorial seats on the ballot this year, and both of those elections are now going to a run-off in January. With Trump off the ticket and no longer there to boost the base, both Democratic candidates, John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, have a higher likelihood of success on January 5, 2021. Our volunteer and financial efforts should be focused on these two races between now and then in order to gain the majority in the Senate (with the addition of the Vice-President’s vote) and castrate Moscow Mitch. When the only strategy the Republicans have is to obstruct every piece of legislation the Democrats create, there is only one party that benefits, and that’s the Republican and its donor class. The rest of us – all Americans, and all equally deserving of a government that puts the needs of the people over and above their own – must step up and do whatever we can to ensure that the Democrats take Senate in January and bring the awful era of McConnell as the arbiter of legislation comes to an end.
I’m going to enjoy this win today; tomorrow is the first day of the fight for the Senate. After that, we have to address the right-wing media bubble, because that’s where those 70 million who still support Trump get all their information. It’s not ever going to be possible to have any kind of discussion if only one side of the argument uses facts while the other side spews disinformation and conspiracy theories. Republicans and their media conflate freedom of speech and of the press with saying whatever you want on media platforms regardless of the facts.
We all know one or more of those 70 million people; my nephew is one of them. I love him, but I don’t know if there’s anything we have in common anymore except our surname. What I find most disturbing is that I never would have expected my nephew, with a huge circle of diverse friends, would be so easily sucked in by the Trump cult. It makes me sad for the future of his children.
My family is fractured, something that started long before Trump ran for office in 2015. When my dad was on hospice before he died in 2008, my brother and sister-in-law brought him to live with them in their house for the last two months of his life. During that time, I made sure to go over there every week, and always took him to any appointments if they were scheduled on my days off. Never during those months did either my brother or his wife ever tell me that they needed me to do more, so it was a shock to me when I found out after my dad’s death (when I couldn’t do anything to change things) how they felt. Before Dad died, the whole family spent Thanksgiving at my house and Easter at my brother’s. Since then, we spend no holidays together and it’s unusual if we even speak to each other on holidays now. My brother will tell me how important it is for us to stay in touch since our family is so small, but I don’t feel like he means it anymore. I suppose anything is possible as long as we’re all still here.
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.