Yesterday, the news media called the 2020 United States presidential race for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. This morning as I meditated, I began by saying “I unlock joy. I commit to action.” After a few minutes, I admitted it wasn’t working.
With the stress of this bitterly divided election layered on top of the stress of the summer uprisings and the deep-seated inequities that fueled them layered on top of the stress of COVID, all woven through with personal stress from my job, my joy feels very limited and hard to access these days. Especially since, as adrienne maree brown noted in a fantastic and sobering video yesterday, this transition period may be the most dangerous phase yet of Trump’s presidency, especially for BIPOC folks. It’s hard to find joy when the worst may still be yet to come.
So I tried this instead: “I unlock hope. I commit to action.” That still felt hard, but it felt better. There’s a lot to feel hopeless about, that’s for damned sure. The current occupant of the Oval Office is a petulant fascist man-child who cares about no one but himself. His most ardent supporters are heavily armed and have few qualms about resorting to violence against their fellow humans if we don’t get in line. Despite the party’s talk of diversity and justice, Joe Biden is still a cishet white Christian man, just like 44 of the 45 presidents we’ve already had. There may still be recounts and legal challenges in our futures, to say nothing of the needless malarkey that is the electoral college vote on December 14.
And yet, not everything is awful. Despite COVID and nationwide effort at voter suppression, voting was at all-time highs in some areas. Stacey Abrams, Nse Ufot, Helen Butler, Rebecca DeHart, Deborah Scott, and Tamieka Aitkins (to whom we owe a massive debt of gratitude and a lot of political power) and their coalitions of mostly Black women organizers and volunteers delivered Georgia, of all places, to the Democrats. We’re going to have an honest-to-Sagan woman vice president – and a woman of color, at that. And unless Trump really, truly, stages a coup,* he’s outta here come January.
Over the coming days, weeks, and months, as we move through this fraught transition period, you may see a lot of people telling you that it’s okay to celebrate and feel joy even if you still have worries about what’s going on. That’s true, as far as it goes. But in case you need it, I’m here to remind you that it’s also okay not to celebrate and feel joy if you just can’t find it in you. But maybe, just maybe, you can find a little hope here and there. And a little hope here and there ain’t nothing.
*I know this is not outside the realm of possibility.