The past four years have been a true test of perceptions and realities, namely my perception that things can’t possibly get worse and the reality that, oh yes, they absolutely fucking can. That being said I am, uhhh, slowly adjusting to the reality that MOTHERFUCKER EXTRAORDINAIRE DONALD JOHN TRUMP HAS FUCKING LOST HIS RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. JOE BIDEN HAS WON AND DONALD JOHN TRUMP WILL NOT SERVE A SECOND TERM AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
DONALD JOHN TRUMP, EVEN AMID THE SHITSHOW OF GERRYMANDERING AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE AND MAIL-IN BALLOT RESTRICTIONS AND LEGAL CHALLENGES AND ATTEMPTED COUPS AND JOE BIDEN’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND THE DEMOCRATS AND THE SUPREME COURT AND THE ENDLESS COUNT, HAS FUCKING LOST.
OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like HOLY FUCK. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Honestly I am… I am thrown. Break my fucking neck. Are we sure this is happening? Like can this really possibly be true? (Yes we are, and yes it is.) In a matter of months, Donald Trump will no longer be the president. His fucking awful family will no longer have center stage. Mike Pence is going. Sometimes life is good!
Let me take a moment, just to feel this. Just to let this understanding wash over me. We have all been through hell and back again and back into hell and back again these past four years. We have been ruled over by a gang of fascist criminals. Everything bad in the human spirit has been celebrated, and everything good has been trashed. We’ve been through the Muslim ban, and the death of DACA, and Charlottesville, and mass family separations, and throwing paper towels after Hurricane Maria, and “get that son of a bitch off the field,” and the longest government shutdown ever, and “shithole countries,” and countless mass shootings including Parkland and El Paso, and the Mueller report, and pepper-spraying protesters, and Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, and Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos and Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani, and Iran (REMEMBER IRAN????), and, of course, COVID. All the lies and corruption and bigotry and cruelty and horror and misery and dread and exhaustion, and now, some of it will ease. That’s something to cherish.
And can you imagine how much more Trump would have amped up his racist, xenophobic, transphobic, misogynistic policies just knowing he had nothing to lose during a second term? Just how much more outwardly evil his administration would act and how much more people would suffer had he been allowed to continue for one more term?
I’m also thinking about the QAnon conspiracists and white nationalists and people like the fucking McCloskeys (REMEMBER THEM???) shaking in their fucking boots, horrified that their way of life is becoming obsolete… Wow. It may just be obsolete in presidential symbolism, but oh mY GOD IS THAT THE SOUND OF A DEATH RATTLE?? GOD PLEASE LET THIS BE A DEATH RATTLE!!!!!! TRUMP IS SO FUCKING PISSED OH MY GOD. THIS FUCKING LOSER!!! LMFAOOOOOO!!!
Well, that was nice. I also now must gravely report that Donald Trump’s loss comes with a seemingly-endless myriad of caveats. Joe Biden winning is not, per se, a victory for many people — specifically not the people on the margins whom many liberals and moderates think they were “voting for” when they voted for President-elect Joe Biden.
Many of us who voted for Joe Biden did it so that Donald Trump would no longer be in power, and it is very nice that he will no longer have access to that power in the same way that he does now as president. But what that gets us is simply an end to the specific brand of pain and harm that Trump’s reign brought to countless people, some of which will take an immense amount of time and effort for Joe Biden to undo, if he even wants to. The systems that allowed for Trump to take office and do that harm still exist.
The systems that Trump took advantage of when he and his white nationalist henchman Stephen Miller attempted to essentially get rid of all modes of immigration still exist. The systems that Trump took advantage of when he sent out ICE’s SWAT teams and the National Guard to terrorize people protesting against racist policing and police brutality still exist. The systems that allow Joe Biden to outwardly care more about violence against Walmarts and Targets than the extrajudicial murder of Black people, and not get mercilessly bullied, or even mildly chastised for it, is still in place. The systems that allowed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to fight to jail parents of truant children are still in place.
Electoral politics will not lead to the liberation of people who are, and will continue to be, punished by these systems. It helps somewhat, but all we need to do to see its unacceptable limitations is the fact that that our only way out of Trump was through Biden, a candidate who promised to not ban fracking, and told people to go vote for Trump if they didn’t like his immigration record, and denied people’s Blackness for criticizing his work on the 1994 Crime Bill, and created a whole campaign around this idea that good Republicans exist and we want to walk side-by-side with them instead of building out our own leftist coalition of change-makers.
Now that this person will be our president, the change continues with us organizing outside of this electoral machine in our communities, in mutual aid and prison and police abolition. For months, Biden’s supporters, or even just the people who voted for him out of fear that Trump would win again, have said, “We can push him to the left.” I’ve never been sure that those people were interested in actually pushing Biden left, or that they would show up to try and do so, or will even be capable of doing so, but I can only hope, hope, that they will stick to their word.
Many of them, I cynically believe, will not, because it’s easier to believe that Biden is a nice guy who will not commit all the harms that Trump has done. The truth is that, yes, some—though, if Republicans keep the Senate, not many—things will get better, but Biden’s government will continue to jail people and deport people and separate families and support racist policing. He will just do it while wearing aviators and holding an ice cream cone.
That being said, outside of that “push Biden” pipe dream, we can build upon and further mobilize the communal systems that neighbors created in response to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, and even after the ICE workplace raids and the systemic family separation policies, and the Muslim ban. So many people are still hurting from the pandemic, and from the other crimes against humanity committed by Trump, and need not just charity, but long-term coalition building and support. So many people are still doing that work, and I hope that we can all find a place to exercise these political and community efforts in a way that counts.
OK, take another deep breath. Loosen your shoulders and unclench your jaw. Trump has lost his re-election. In the immediate aftermath, his supporters will probably just fucking lose it, if this “Brooks Brothers riot on steroids” reaction to the election count is any indication. They may want vengeance, or blood, and many of the loudest of them are white supremacists and unafraid of using the weapons they proudly show off, large trucks included. I don’t write this to scare you but to be realistic about what these next few days, or weeks, might look like. Take care of yourself and the people you love. Do what you need to do to stay safe, whatever that means and looks like to you.
But also remember that we should be happy right now. One of the worst people this country has ever produced is being removed from office. Some of the worst people who have ever had power in this country are losing that power. That is not everything, but it is something, and it is real, and it is good. The fight continues, but let’s celebrate too.