This morning, I woke up feeling something that I haven’t felt for four years: hope that my son would come to adulthood in a country that he could be proud of.
Let’s start with Kamala Harris’ groundbreaking election as vice president. A daughter of immigrants, she will be the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to ascend to that office. Appearing in an all-white suit for her victory speech, a color symbolic of the suffragette movement, she seemed fully aware both of the impact of her election and of all those who helped her get there. She praised her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who came to the U.S. from India at age 19, and “believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.” She continued:
I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who, throughout our nation’s history, have paved the way for this moment tonight, women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.
Joe Biden also acknowledged Harris’ firsts, adding, “Don’t tell me it’s not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue. We’re reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen.” He spoke of “the broadest and most diverse coalition in history,” which included “Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American,” and stressed that “especially in those moments and especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”
He continued, “I said at the outset I wanted this campaign to represent and look like America. We’ve done that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like and act like.”
It’s up to us to help him and Harris do this. One of the first orders of business is to help Jon Ossoff (D) and Raphael Warnock (D) win their runoff elections in Georgia so that Democrats control the Senate. Yes, Biden wants to work across the aisle and would likely reach out to work with a Republican-controlled Senate—but I worry that Republican intransigence may still make that difficult. If your personal situation allows, please consider donating to their campaigns at the links above or to Fair Fight, the organization founded by Stacy Abrams to promote fair elections, educate voters, and encourage voter participation in Georgia and around the country.
Additionally, we still have a U.S. Supreme Court with a conservative majority, which is even now deciding cases that affect LGBTQ lives. As the National LGBTQ Task Force cautioned in a press statement yesterday, too:
[Trump] could still enact executive actions to drive agencies for a final attack on our most marginalized and vulnerable communities before he leaves office. We celebrate today, but we continue to stay vigilant and aware to ensure our continued safety and rights are not infringed on through the remainder of 2020. And we prepare for 2021 and beyond. And even with a new administration we are not naïve, white supremacy and prejudice is alive and well and widespread, as seen by the far too close margins in many states and nationally.
And we still have a pandemic to defeat and a climate to save, though I am encouraged by Biden’s commitment to listen to scientists.
So: lots of work yet to do. Let us go into it with gladdened hearts, though, buoyed by what we have accomplished and by the vision of a country whose leadership looks like its people. That would be a true gift for our children and for all the generations to come.