On Saturday, Nov. 7, I woke up in relief. Relief that seemed so desperately needed. For the first time in years, I had a sense that everything will be okay.
I will admit, I celebrated Joe Biden winning the presidency.
The same man who I dreaded voting for. The same man I went back and forth when deciding if it was morally okay for me to cast my vote on.
This was my first time voting for a president. During the last election, I was too young to vote. For the last four years, I have been ready to make my voice heard through my vote. But when it came down to Joe Biden, I was less than enthused.
He is a centrist. He would rather side with conservative than progressive leftists. In fact, he has made it extremely clear that he is not progressive. He criticizes the ideas of socialism, including implementing universal health care and defunding the police, among other ideas that young liberals and leftists align themselves with.
Hell, his environmental plan was less than subpar until Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders stepped in. And even with the improved environment plan, which gives Earth a chance at staying habitable thanks to progressive liberals, Biden still openly supports fracking.
His whole campaign, Biden tried harder to gain votes and support by appealing to “never Trumpers” and other white voters instead of focusing on those voters who ended up winning Biden the presidency.
Black women won Biden the presidency. Progressives won Biden the presidency. Young people won Biden the presidency.
And, in addition to his lack of progressiveness or appeal, Biden is an accused rapist with a history of inappropriate touching. How could I vote for someone who I advocate so hard against? How could I say “Believe survivors” and “I voted for Joe Biden” in the same breath?
It was hard to vote for Biden. I went back and forth for weeks when deciding if I should vote for him.
Am I a hypocrite? Probably.
But ultimately, I decided that it seemed like the utilitarian thing to do. To vote for Biden seemed to maximize well-being, to do the most good for the most people.
With that being said, I understand why others feel differently. I get why they didn’t want to cast their vote on the “lesser of two evils,” because ultimately, Biden is still bad. Just not as bad as Donald Trump.
But regardless of my opinion of Biden, regardless of Biden’s policies or past, I still voted for him. And selfishly, I celebrated when he won. Selfishly, I was relieved when he won. I felt like I could breathe again. For just one day, things were okay.
Do I think it was wrong to be relieved and celebrate? Not necessarily. After the year we have had, I have felt hopeless. After four years of a Donald Trump presidency, I have felt hopeless. But just for one day, I felt hopeful: a feeling I have not had in a long time.
Many believe that because Biden won, life will go back to normal. This may be true, but how great was normal actually?
“Normal” is police brutality. “Normal” is racism. “Normal” is the prison industrial complex. “Normal” is sexism. “Normal” is rape culture. “Normal” is homophobia. “Normal” is bombing and imperializing other countries. “Normal” is the succession of the rich and big businesses while the middle to lower class struggle to make ends meet. “Normal” is frequent school shootings. “Normal” is limiting immigration and putting kids in cages.
It was easy to blame Trump for all our problems. It was easy to blame Trump for all the hate in our country. But let’s face it: Trump’s first campaign and presidency encouraged hate. He made people more comfortable to express it. But that hate, for the most part, was already well and alive before Trump took office.
To assume or believe that all the problems that erupted from Trump’s presidency will leave with him is foolish. Although he failed to get reelected, he still received almost half the votes.
Half the country voted in support of hate. Half the country voted in support of racism. Half the country voted in support of sexism. Half the country voted in support of the rich. The problem is more prevalent than ever.
The bad will not go away just because Joe Biden won the presidency. Black people will still be murdered at the hands of racism and police brutality. Systemic racism will still benefit those who it was designed to benefit—white people. Families will still struggle between working multiple jobs just to put food on the table and pay rent on time. They will struggle when expenses arrive, such as medical costs and higher education. Immigrants will still struggle to gain citizenship, being kept in the cages that were built not under the Trump administration but under the Obama administration, when Biden served as vice president.
Normal was not good before. So why are we trying to get back to it?