The Realities of Election Stress
Maggie John relays her overwhelming relief at the outcome of the US Presidential Election
I held off writing this article until the result of the election was confirmed. Of course, this took a lot longer than I think anyone anticipated but now it is certain that Biden and Harris are President and Vice-President Elect, I think the whole world can breathe. We are saying goodbye to Trump and his homophobic, sexist, racist ways (the list goes on) and welcoming Biden and Harris with open arms, as we see not only the first female Vice President but the first black Vice President and the first Asian-American Vice President.
Arguably this election had more riding on it than any other election in history. We’re living in increasingly uncertain times. America is one of, if not the most powerful countries in the world and its actions have an impact on a global scale. As we navigate our way through a global pandemic and a climate crisis, it is more important than ever that everyone is on the same page.
On election day alone, the USA recorded 102,831 new coronavirus cases which is a strong indication of Trump’s inability to act as president. This was reiterated by his behaviour when he contracted the virus and was truly frightening. The effects of Covid-19 are still relatively unknown and the leader of the country should be setting an example. When you google ‘Trump’s opinions on the climate’ you are hit with terrifying headlines such as “Game over for Climate if US Votes for Donald Trump”. These ideas truly reiterate the fear and hope Americans and the rest of the world had riding on this election.
I think the only way I can describe how I felt following the election, as a non-American, was a feeling similar to holding my breath. This election was riding on so much, and the fear of what could have happened had Trump been elected for a second term didn’t bare thinking about.
I woke up on Wednesday morning, which feels like a lifetime ago now, with a pit in my stomach, anxiously checking my phone for updates. At that time my heart dropped: it was too close to call and the possibility of another four years of Trump was becoming more and more likely. The prediction polls were not accurate, and Trump had done far better than the pollsters predicted he would, and Trump was claiming victory. Trump’s disregard of democracy was unbelievably alarming. On November 5 he tweeted “STOP THE COUNT” with absolutely no appreciation for the democratic process; how could this man possibly lead the USA for another four year? On the contrary Biden tweeted “Every vote must be counted” encouraging trust in the democratic process.
Despite the intensity of the past few days, I believe we can all agree that this election his not been all doom and gloom. In the face of bigotry there has been a record number of Native American women elected to congress, New Mexico became the first state in history to elect all women of colour to the US House of Representatives, the US elected its first transgender state senator and its first black gay congressman. Stacey Abrams’ effort to encourage voter-registration in Georgia has proved successful, transforming Georgia’s electorate and as I mentioned earlier, not only are we witnessing the US’ first female Vice President but the first female of colour Vice President. We have witnessed the making of history.
After all the anxiety and uncertainty of not only this election but the times we are living in, I am truly hopeful that a corner has been turned and it can only get better from here. We have witnessed history being made and rather than dreading what the next four years are to bring, I am rather excited to (hopefully) witness more history being made.