Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Day After They Called the Election: A Subdued Jubilation


"What Makes America Great." Artist: Michael D'Antuono
"What Makes America Great." Artist: Michael D'Antuono


On Saturday, November 7, 2020, they called the win for Biden-Harris.

A quiet relief filled me, followed by the sobering certainty that most Americans - no, wait - followed by the sobering certainty that a majority of white Americans will fall back into a comfortable somnolence, relieved that things will return to the old normal.

In the old normal, many of us white Americans walked in the special dream state that families of alcoholics or emotional and verbal abusers live in. Where a frothy fog of amnesia settles in, even just a day after our abusers vomit their vitriol on us. Where we want (need!) to dismiss, discount, and deny how wounded all of us are - the targets, the abusers themselves, the bystanders, and the upstanders, so that we can avoid the pain of change from the known to the unknown, in addition to the inevitable, virulent backlash from our abusers (or their proxies).

With Trump dethroned, COVID will still be with us, to be sure, but all the rest of the stressors - Black Lives Matter, children in cages, Karens and Kens, the Wall, Defund the Police, protests (riots!), imprisoned refugees, all those things that make us feel uncomfortable, they will submerge into a dormant state, like a chicken pox virus, the itchiness gone, the red spots faded, thus ignorable. Won't they?

Besides, didn't we settle on Biden because he represented a comforting familiarity? Didn't we approve his selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate?! We are pro-woman! We are anti-racist! We did our duty by going to the polls or mailing our ballots and voting Biden in, and now we can relax, right? 

We need the answer to be yes because it is so hard to stay awake, and so easy to follow old scripts. We're mentally and emotionally exhausted after 1500+ days of unrelenting emotional and verbal violence rained upon us by the garden-variety abuser at the White House.

We need the answer to be yes because change - systemic change - that raises the water level so that all of our boats can rise - demands discomfort, uncertainty, fear of losing the security of our accustomed spot at the table, having to listen to voices we didn't hear before, of having to learn new rules, and of making mistakes while learning new rules.

It's a truism that most of us don't change until our backs are against the wall and the wall is on fire. 

Our wall is on fire. To go back to sleep is to miss our appointment with history to change the future. 


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