It’s been an exhausting forty-eight hours for those of us who have been following the US presidential election. I’d probably go as far as saying that it’s been an exhausting four years, too. So much has happened since Trump came to power that it’s easy to forget most of it, but certain things are still branded in our collective memory: the placing of children in cages, alleged reports of women forced to get hysterectomies in US migrant detention centres, the USA leaving the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the death of more than 234,000 Americans and counting from coronavirus.
And yet, at the time of writing, Joe Biden still hasn’t been confirmed as the next POTUS. The landslide victory he was meant to achieve ebbed away, as tens of millions of US citizens voted to keep things going the way they were.
The first reaction to that can only be shock and disbelief: how could anyone be okay with him remaining president when he’s someone who has made fun of disabled people, incited violence among his own citizens, and made nepotism so disgustingly visible?
Well, somehow they are, which is why Joe Biden’s victory, if it does happen, will not really be a victory: when you’re running against someone like Trump only a landslide victory can feel satisfying and actually bring about a change in culture.
And that is why I care.
I care because it scares me that one of the most influential nations on Earth has embraced a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, chauvinistic, ableist, empleomaniac like Trump. I care because we have nothing to gain from one of the largest countries in the world not caring about the environment, not believing in the science behind climate change, and being okay with spreading the rhetoric that a pandemic that has claimed over a million lives can just be ignored. I care because no politician should feel comfortable enough to make a mockery of the democratic process just to advance their chances of winning.
I also care because we are no longer confined to our immediate bubble. As we consume news from other countries, and we get entertained or shocked, I think we also need to realise that we are given the power to care about what happens to them, too. I get no pleasure from seeing transgender people being discriminated against when it comes to joining the US Army, or female reporters insulted by the President of the United States, or Black people being told they’re thugs after one of them died because of a nine-minute kneeling spree on his neck by a police officer over a fake cheque.
So while I’m under no illusion that Joe Biden will be some sort of messiah for America and the world, and while I certainly do wish that the election had been contested by someone who had fewer allegations and gaffes to their name, I do think that – at the very least – things will be done with a little more decorum, humanity and dignity should Joe Biden win.
And that, I feel, is a good a place as any to start.