Relief, but not yet hope, since Biden became President-Elect

The families of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris join them on stage after their victory speech. (Image Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Joe Biden unofficially became President-Elect today. I say unofficially because the election results haven’t been certified and the Electoral College hasn’t voted and the House hasn’t accepted the results of the Electoral College. We’ve got until January 20 for Donald Trump to continue to try to mess things up, and I remain concerned he will.

But as I listened to Kamala Harris and Biden’s speeches earlier tonight, I had only two thoughts. First, just because they’re saying mostly the right things now, we progressives can’t afford to believe that they’ll actually do what they’re saying. Biden and Harris are not progressives. They’re barely even liberals. And as such, the liberal policies that the country needs to move forward into the 21st century will only happen if we hold their feet to the fire until they implement liberal policies. There is a huge amount of work to be done, and it’ll take more than two Democrats who are barely left of Reagan to do it.

The second thought was that I half expected to hear a gunshot and have one or both of the candidates-turned-elect collapse, dead from a bullet fired by a QAnon Trumper determined to trade his life for the life of either Harris or Biden.

How fucked up is that?

So many people I know have been expressing that, after four years, they finally feel hope again. I want desperately to feel hope again myself, but I don’t. Hope is beyond my reach right now. Right now all I feel is an oppressive, crushing sense of foreboding. Maybe it’s the pandemic. Maybe it’s the number of people who can’t accept the shitshow that has been the Trump presidency to date and voted for Trump again. Maybe I’ve simply been fighting so long and had my soul crushed by the fight not mattering too many times. Maybe I’ve stared too long into the abyss and lost something of myself to it in the process. I don’t know.

I do know I’m jealous of anyone who can feel hope right now. My inability to feel hope today makes me feel… damaged somehow. Like I’ve had to stopper my feelings for so long that bitter cynicism is all I can feel right now.

Maybe that feeling of hopefulness will come on January 20 after Trump is gone. Maybe it’ll come sooner than that if the rightist violence I expect doesn’t materialize. I hope so. But until then I’ll simply have to find what little contentment I can in wary relief.

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