The spontaneous public demonstrations of joy over the dethroning of Donald Trump and the triumph of the Biden-Harris Democratic duo resembled those from nations where a dictator was unseated, rather than a U.S. election. It was a type of social depressurization that was just as longed for as it was delayed, and the nationwide image, in unison, turned out to be a product of the power of rescuing a kidnapped nation. In other words, that jubilee was the most palpable proof of a recuperated democracy.
In 2008, for example, Barack Obama’s victory was inspiring for a country that still suffered from the ravages of the lies years earlier, which had led to the war with Iraq and resulted in an international discredit of this society that seemed interminable. But what happened on Saturday, when the media announced Biden’s win, was more like a collective catharsis after the four years of anxiety and uncertainty on various fronts that the Trump presidency has meant to half of U.S. Americans.
However, it still remains to be seen what will happen with Trump over the next two and half months he remains in office, because to this day, and surprising none, he has refused to accept defeat and continues to consider himself a “victim” of a fraud that only exists in his feverish mind, in that of his enablers, and the 70 million U.S. citizens who voted for him. Even still, there are some in his same partisan orbit who are already starting to distance themselves from the rejected president, and well they should, before it ends dragging them into political extinction, then professional denial and social rejection for having backed someone so contrary to the multicultural spirit that animates today’s United States as a true 21st century nation.
Some 75 million U.S. citizens, on the other hand, gave their vote to Biden and he must understand that before him is a titanic duty, as he tries to govern a divided nation with a Congress to this day still divided, until the two runoff elections for Georgia’s Senate seats are decided in January. Unification, reconciliation, and convincing your fellow citizens of the necessity of moving forward has to be, of course, one of the top priorities of the Biden White House.
The president-elect also leads a group of Democrats that has its own differences between the more moderate sectors and the more progressive. The latter was responsible for mobilizing women and minority voters in their favor, such that they hope that their demands on matters of social and racial justice, equality, and immigration, among others, are addressed and resolved. And here is where it is necessary to emphasize that the future presidential agenda cannot take even one step backwards, especially because expectations have grown in a society that, day by day, is not content to just hear campaign promises in order to win their votes, but expects their timely resolution. The ballot boxes, in this sense, are the way to success, or also failure.
On Saturday, Biden and Harris did not forget to refer to the weight of these groups’ vote in guaranteeing their win. Biden referred to the African American vote, especially that of women, in his rise. “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours,” he said. And the Latino vote was also decisive: although the Cuban and Cuban American vote in Miami-Dade County favored Trump, in Florida the Latino vote went for Biden. The fact that Trump made gains among Latinos and African Americans compared to 2016 is also true, something for the Democratic Party to ponder, especially in the case of Latinos.
That is, it is time for the political parties, the analysts, and the commentators to stop manifesting this vote as “homogenous” or “monolithic,” when we are as ideologically diverse as we are in national origin. That is why the stereotype of “the Latino” seems even caricature-like, used to craft shameful campaign propaganda, in meetings with cultural clichés taken out of context, and linguistically lamentable messaging, as well as the anachronism of slogans in a new century that requires much fresher political references. The new generations, of course, must take this on, through their new battles and also their new goals in a society that will ultimately end up in their hands.
And although our interests are also diverse, we agree that immigrants deserve fair treatment. Therefore we hope that a Biden Administration will immediately tackle the priority issues of restoring DACA for Dreamers and TPS for a half-million citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, and other countries, two measures eliminated by Trump. We also hope that the asylum laws will be reinstated.
And it has to be this way, because there has been a formidable resistance to the avalanche of attacks and crushing attempts emanating from none other than our own governmental officials, in such a way that it is now a question of reaping the harvest of all the efforts that have been made to counteract the type of “scorched earth” policy that today’s White House has put into practice against this country’s minorities.
At the end of the day, Biden doesn’t have it easy, since first he has to deal with a pandemic that Trump ignored, downplayed, and mocked, despite the more than 230,000 deaths from the virus, the millions unemployed, a stagnant economy, and the sinister reappearance of a new supremacist wave that refuses to accept the current realities of the United States.
And this all, we repeat, in a nation clearly divided.
On Saturday Biden also said that the moment to heal had arrived. It remains to be seen if, upon removing the cancer that Trump has been to this nation, the healing beings and, with it, the possibility of advancing an ambitious and complicated legislative agenda that speaks to all sectors. All this with one eye on the possibility that this cancer has already metastasized, because another demagogue could always emerge who appeals to the frustrations of certain voters, and perhaps the next one will be smarter than Trump.
The lesson learned in those terrible four years of Trump cannot be ignored.
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