For four years I have been holding my breath.
When Trump won in 2016 and Britain voted in favour of Brexit I felt my heart starting to crack. Since then my hope and belief in people has been challenged time and time again.
I was brought up to believe that there were consequences for your actions. If you do the wrong thing then you have to pay the price for it. However over the last four years I have seen some of the most ruthless, sadistic and morally bankrupt people cause pain and suffering to the very people who they are meant to serve.
Trump has divided the United States into a truly polarised nation where civil discord is rarely seen and where supporting the president wasn’t patriotic, it was racist, bigoted and misogynistic.
Just this past year alone we have seen a President sit back and do nothing while a quarter of a million of his countrymen died from a virus that could have been contained (see New Zealand). He has defended and refused to denounce white supremacist groups and has done nothing to address the systemic problems that have led to widespread BLM protests. Remember George Floyd’s ‘I can’t breathe’. I am not so arrogant as to think that the UK is any better than the US on these issues but like the annoying side-kick the UK seems to spend a great deal of it’s time following the lead of the US. Therefore Trump’s very position of leader of the free world has felt like an incredibly terrifying, daily reality that left a great of us fearful of what the future would hold.
When the 2020 campaign began in earnest (after the primaries) I was concerned. I have never been a die hard Biden fan – I really love me some Bernie Sanders, but I was willing to put aside my more extreme socialist ideals (like free education for all) and support the Biden campaign. When. he selected Harris as his running mate of course part of the reason for choosing her was that she was mixed race (Black and South Asian) and that she was a woman. It was of course a good strategy but it was also a really smart choice because she is a fantastic candidate. She has a great deal of experience in politics. She supports the affordable care act, she helped bring in marriage equality, she believes in reforming the broken US justice system and she is working to expand the access to childcare for working parents. She believes in all this and so much more. I was still concerned but not because of the candidates on the left but because of the one in the White House. What would he do? What crimes would he commit to stay in power? What would he do if he lost?
Today Biden and Harris were declared the winners in the US Presidential Election. Today all of us who have felt the pain and suffering caused by the world’s shift to the right over the past five years have been given a slither of hope, a glimpse of a brighter future, a tickle of the turning of the tide, a brief opportunity to breathe again.
Let’s not be naive, much work still needs to be done in the US as well as here in the UK and around the world. Trump still needs to concede. We must be ready to fight again tomorrow but for today let’s smile, let’s celebrate, let’s cry tears of joy because we have waited a long time for the oxygen we’re breathing today and we deserve to enjoy it.