(Note: As of this writing, even though Joe Biden has so obviously won the election that even my cat who eats her own hairballs can probably see it, no news organizations have officially called the race for him yet. I don’t know what the hell they’re waiting for but here at my blog, we don’t bullshit around for ratings, or to spare some tiny-fingered fascist’s feelings. Biden won. He is President-Elect. Deal with it.)
(Also, this entry is scattershot as hell. It’s been a long emotional week and I’m shot, and also drunk. And more than a little angry.)
So on Tuesday night as I settled in to surf election results online, I felt a terrible sense of déjà vu. Even though Democrats had warned for weeks that the early voting returns that night would create a “red mirage”—an illusion that Trump was doing better than he was due to the initial tally of in-person votes most likely to lean Republican—and that the mail-in ballots used in large part by Democrats who were trying to avoid COVID would turn the tide, it was all too easy to recall the raw anguish of 2016 as I watched state after state seem to slip away:
“OK, Biden was probably never getting Florida. Texas was a pipe dream. So was Georgia. And…Ohio. Oh no, not Wisconsin. Pennsylvania? Really? How many more people have to die before voters wake the hell up?” Those fucking polls I swore I would never trust again after 2016 but did anyway had gotten everything wrong. Again.
The surprise Arizona call for Biden slowed the rush of despair a little, but I still felt terrible as more key states tilted red. This couldn’t be happening again, only it was.
Or was it? I watched MSNBC for a little while and saw Democratic consultants looking completely unbothered (entirely unlike 2016), and Biden himself came out around midnight to make a brief speech in which he sounded calm, confident, and assured. Things were looking good, he said.
And he was right. By the time I finally went to bed, the blue shift Democrats had long predicted was underway.
True story: Way back in 1988, I took one look at Joe Biden during the Democratic primaries and said to myself “That man is going to be president some day. Not this time, but some day.”
When Obama picked him as VP in 2008, I thought maybe my psychic brainwave got its signals a little crossed or something, but no matter. Being the veep in an historic and respected administration seemed like a good note to end a long career on.
Except that Biden himself had other ideas.
Make no mistake: Joe Biden was not my first choice for the Democratic nomination this year. (That was Elizabeth Warren, who I still think would have been an excellent president.) He wasn’t my second choice either. Probably not even my third if I’d had to game things out that far.
But I kept in mind that Trump got his dumb ass impeached trying to stop Biden from entering the race. Something made him fear Biden’s candidacy; maybe he realized that Biden’s association with a well-liked former president and his plain-spoken personality would be a serious threat to rebuild the famed blue wall in the Midwest. That was good enough for me.
And, y’know, I like Joe Biden. Is he a perfect human being? Hell no. He’s had a long career, and he’s said and done pretty unfortunate things. I know that. But I believe that at his core, he is a kind, decent man with compassion to spare. And dammit, I’m so ready for a kind, compassionate ADULT in the White House again.
However, I can’t even be fully glad Biden’s pulling a win out, because I’m disgusted and heartsick that Trump came so very close to being reelected. I still haven’t forgiven America for replacing Barack Obama with…this. Four years of racism, brutality, and proud, willful ignorance, over 200K dead from a virus the president blatantly lied to the country about, and yet millions of people wanted more of this because they could save a few tax dollars and stop someone from getting an abortion? My god. I recall the theme of Trump’s inaugural speech was “American Carnage.” I had no idea that was an actual campaign promise.
Donald Trump has been the cruelest, most hateful president I’ve ever had the displeasure to experience. Never before, and I hope never again, have I endured a president so ignorant, so nasty, and so proud of his ugly, incurious nature. He wanted to be president because he wanted the personal glory. When a genuine crisis hit this year, he had no idea what to do, and so he decided to do the absolute least in the hopes it would work out.
In these last few days, it’s become horrifyingly clear that this man who’s been in charge of the US government for four years still has no idea how any of these government agencies actually work. He seriously doesn’t know that the DOJ and the Supreme Court can’t just intervene in the election and declare him the winner. He thinks that’s what they do. He thinks that’s what they should do.
And millions of people wanted him to have four more years?
Truthfully, I’d rather spend an eternity in a place where Ronald Reagan and George Bush père et fils traded off the presidency over and over again than endure one more year of the leadership of this pathetic, loathsome excuse for a man. Whatever their faults, they at least had some sense of responsibility to the entire country. I was never a Reagan fan, but I still remember the note-perfect speech he delivered on the night of the Challenger explosion in 1986. Donald Trump would never, could never give a speech like that. That would require understanding other people and the reassurance they might need after a national tragedy and, well. Good luck getting anything of the sort from Trump.
Trump was a tacky comedy act back in the 1980s when I grew up reading Bloom County, and the 80s is where he should have stayed.
And it’s not over. Even if Trump gets dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming in January (which he is actually threatening to make happen), the overt racism and ugliness he’s unleashed aren’t going away. His acolytes are going to continue to bully and threaten black people who are just minding their own business, because their God King has emboldened them to do it. The Proud Boys and the QAnon loons are going to double down on their grotesque beliefs and behavior. Trump opened Pandora’s box. I don’t know how, or if, we ever get all that garbage back in.
Oh, and there’s the rising death toll from COVID-19. That’s probably not getting better any time soon either. I have no idea what might have happened if we’d had competent leadership at the helm last December when the virus started making its way around the globe, but I just don’t think things would have been this bad.
Again, Biden was not my first choice, but you know what? I’m glad we’ve got someone with a lot of experience and DC connections taking over. Good god, are we going to need him.
Oh, and: I’m old enough to remember when Geraldine Ferraro made headlines for being the first woman ever to be a VP candidate on the 1984 ticket. Back then, if you’d told teenage me how long it would be before I’d see a woman in the White House, I’d have thought you were shitting me. What the hell took so long, America?
I’m delighted that at long fucking last, we get to see a woman on a winning Presidential ticket, and a black woman at that. I’ve liked Kamala Harris for a long time. If I didn’t get to vote for her for President yet, I’m thrilled that she’s a part of this administration. The White House is no longer the exclusive preserve of men. Hallelujah.
One last thing: Now that the writing is on the wall for Trumpers, I’ve seen a few of them insisting that Democrats should be kind. Respectful. We should give them time to grapple with their sad feelings.
OK, so. I have so much I could say about that. So much. But in the end, here’s how I feel:
I’m not going to go around kicking Trump voters who are already down. That’s not me.
But they better not dare come to me asking for kindness or sympathy. I’m saving all of that for the legions of people who have been terribly hurt (or worse) by this administration. For the Trump supporters who’ve been kicking sand in everyone else’s faces for the last four years and are unhappy that their go-around is about to come around, I have not one single fuck left to give.