A Week in the Life: November 8, 2020

This has been the longest (and most meme-filled) week of my life. I have many thoughts about the election and what comes next, so my post today will focus mostly on that, but I’ll include some of the usual stuff at the end—I know you’re only here for the cat photos.

Election Thoughts

I’ve spent pretty much this entire week staring into the abyss with my internet friends on twitter. Sharing memes and talking through it all on election twitter really helped me get through. We were worried on Tuesday night, laughed about Nevada memes on Wednesday, cheered for Philly on Friday, and switched from doomscrolling to joyscrolling on Saturday.

A Biden/Harris Victory

On Friday, when Biden’s win seemed like a sure thing, I heartily enjoyed all the Philadelphia and Gritty memes making the rounds. It’s maybe a little unfair that the last states counting votes get all the credit for winning the election, but I can’t be mad at Philly when they’re out there in the streets grooving in support of democracy. You love to see it.

a painting depicting the French revolution with the woman in the center replaced by Philidelphia mascot Gritty
liberté, egalité, gritté

I found out that Biden and Harris won around 8:30 Saturday morning. My friend Mike was the first to message me about it and I had to check the AP to confirm because I was in shock that the election finally ended. I spent most of Saturday slack with relief. I kept sighing and, as the day progressed, I felt less and less tense. I was getting rid of strain I didn’t even know I had and I think I’m still not done working through these emotional callouses. I almost cried last night watching Biden’s “we did it” speech. Biden is a perfectly average, competent politician, but I was so moved with relief that we’re going to have a president who isn’t a sociopathic asshole and a leader who I can stand to look at and listen to. The bar is super low right now. I feel like we’re getting out of an abusive relationship. America needs someone nice and stable for a while.

I know that Biden as president isn’t going to solve all of our problems, but it’s going to make our fight a lot fucking easier. The Biden campaign has announced that they’re going to start passing executive orders to right some of Trump’s wrongs as soon as he takes office. Thank god.

The “Four Seasons” Press Conference

Plenty of other people have already covered the hilarity that is the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, but I am compelled to comment on it for posterity. It’s the hardest I laughed in four years. If you missed it, the Trump campaign apparently set out to hold a press conference at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia but, through some sort of mix-up, ended up holding the press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

It’s the perfect, bizarre ending to what has been an insane presidency. The catharsis of laughing at this has been wonderful. How perfect that this would-be authoritarian is closing out his tenure in front of a garage plastered with campaign signs. I will laugh about this for years to come.

A picture of an alien from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The alien is known for only speaking in metaphors. The caption says "Four Seasons Total Landscaping when the campaign ended"
This is now part of our cultural vocabulary

Republican Hypocrisy Strikes Again

It took about five minutes after Biden was declared the winner of the election before conservatives started telling Democrats that they need to be nice. I seem to recall in 2016 that conservatives were telling us to “get over it” when we were distraught about what four years of Trump might bring. On Tuesday, when it looked like Trump would win, conservatives were already tweeting shit like “cry more, libs.” That’s not how this works. You don’t get to tell people to empathize with their abuser—and what has Trump been as a president if not an abuser. Furthermore, what have conservatives lost other than the right to gloat? I know this will sound condescending to conservatives, but I mean it sincerely: I want policies that will improve everyone’s lives. That’s where the Democratic party should be heading. In contrast, Trump’s and the Republican Party’s policies since 2016 have worked to tear people apart and make lives worse. We’ve seen a ban on people coming from majority Muslim countries, families separated at our southern border, an an absolute unwillingness to slow the spread of coronavirus. Our lives are worse after four years of Trump, but conservative pundits have the audacity to lecture us about compassion? Can you imagine the reverse? Of course not.

Picture of Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first picture is him with a hand up indicating "stop" and the text "reconciliation & healing." The second he is pointing and incicating agreement with the text "motherfucking consequences"
motherfucking consequences!

Instead of encouraging Democrats and progressives to pretend everything is fine now, we need to have consequences for the people in charge who spent the last four years tearing down the country and the people who let them do it. As Sarah Kendzior has said, Biden “needs to spend four years identifying every official who was complicit in the Trump admin corruption. They have to be named, outed, and permanently banned from power. they can’t let it go.” If not, we’re going to be sucked into another round of Trumpism (with whoever ends up being his ideological successor). Americans need to see their lives improve. That’s not going to happen if we don’t root out the people who have caused this suffering.

Worries for the Immediate Future

I wrote two weeks ago that the right would be unwilling to accept the election results. That seems to be true. They’re out there protesting where votes are being counted, shouting that we need to stop counting or continue counting, depending on how things are going for Trump. In Sacramento, trumpistas are out protesting in front of the capitol. This seems like an extra-strange choice given that Biden beat trump by a gigantic margin here, but I don’t think most of these people are living in the same reality as we are.

Stills from the show "Schitt's Creek" where David and Moira argue over what it means to "fold in the cheese." The text is replaced with "The next step is to count the ballots." "What does that mean? What does count the ballot mean?" "You count the ballot"
fold it in!

A lot could happen between now and the inauguration in January. As I mentioned earlier, this is like an abusive relationship. Right now, we’re in the most dangerous part: the abuser knows we want to leave. We don’t know what he’ll do to try to stop us or hurt us on the way out. As much as I would like to put my mind at ease now that Biden and Harris have won, I can’t completely do it. We still have a lot of people who were fed a media diet of Trump’s inevitable victory. Let’s be extra careful and look out for each other for the next few months.

What Next?

One positive outcome of the Trump presidency is we have learned to be active citizens. We know now that you have to participate in democracy and fight for the future you want. So here are some things on my radar that I’m going to push for. I encourage you to join me.

  • Georgia senate runoff: Both senate seats in Georgia are going to face a run-off election in January. This is important because right now, senators are tied 48 to 48 for Democrats and Republicans. For those of us outside of Georgia, we can provide support. Outside of donating to the campaigns, you can support Fair Fight, which is working to get more Georgians to vote. I also saw a suggestion that supporting Atlanta Mutual Aid and the Atlanta Community Food Bank can help. People aren’t going to care about voting if they are worried about being hungry or other basic needs.
  • Abolishing the electoral college: So far, officials have counted over 75 million votes for Biden and just 71 million for Trump. There are four million votes between these candidates, yet we were kept in suspense all week to make sure our arcane system of choosing a president would have enough states to go for Biden. This is stupid. We need to get rid of the electoral college and establish a National Popular Vote instead. This campaign is something I plan to read up on and put some of my energy into in the coming months.
  • Keep pestering the Democrats: We’ve done the initial harm reduction of getting Biden and Harris elected, now we need to keep them accountable to do what we want and need them to do. Biden has said he’s going to put a lot of great policies in place and I hope he does. We can’t let him give up and “compromise” with Republicans without even trying to do progressive things first, especially when we’ve seen how much Republicans are willing to comprimise when they’re in charge (read: not at all). I started making a monthly donation to ResistBot to remind me to keep speaking up. It’s the quickest and easiest way to contact my elected officials.
  • Local community work: A big part of what made this election a success for Democrats is the work people have put into their local communities to get out the vote. One organization I’m going to start supporting is NorCal Resist. They do a lot of good mutual aid work locally. If anyone knows of other organizations worth supporting or working with in Sacramento, I’m interested.

Books and Other Words

I am running low on energy after this week of election madness, so here are some quick thoughts on the books I read this week (somehow I found the will to read despite it all):

  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. This book got a lot of good press but I thought it was just okay. It was an interesting concept and I kept reading, but by the end I was like “what did I just experience.” It’s been a week and I still don’t know what to say about it.
  • The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. I liked this a lot. Alternate universes, inequality, finding your place in the world. All the good stuff.
  • Sombras de Reikiavik by Anthony Adeane. I am not normally interested in true crime but I read this because I saw it on the library’s “new book alerts.” It’s in Spanish and it’s about Iceland so I thought it would be fun. Turns out I’m still not really interested in true crime when it’s in Spanish and set in Iceland. I tried.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.