If you’re a person living outside the United States reading this, I wonder how you’re reacting to all that’s happened in American politics this year (and the previous three). Of course, we Americans can go online and dip into your newspapers/newscasts to see reaction. It is, obviously, as varied as all human interaction is. But I know that deep down, some of you know all too well the emotions swirling within us.
The undisputed majority of the American public is waking up to a new workweek this morning after collectively spending the weekend celebrating. Many Americans were literally dancing in the streets. Our expulsion of joy comes after days of fraud claims, months of lockdown, and years of political exhaustion. Did we need a release of tension/anxiety/fear/mourning? You bet your life we did. Didn’t the whole human family?
Importantly, we should all celebrate that one of America’s most enduring glass ceilings is finally broken. It’s hard to believe, honestly, that we will at long last have a woman in the executive branch. Other countries have been emotionally mature enough to handle this for aaaaages. Madam Vice President Kamala Harris’s mere presence in the room where decisions are made will undoubtedly change the narrative — because you can’t have fair representation when more than half the population isn’t even at the table. I feared this situation wouldn’t change in my lifetime. I am overcome with joy that it did.
And there’s work to do before the world gets close to a semblance of normalcy. I do hope this time that we go beyond what’s been normal because “normal” has been pretty terrible for too many people. I hope we overcome the opposition and lethargy that’s allowed systemic racism to flourish. I hope we examine our hearts and souls to see why so many not only allowed hatred to grow but actively watered the weed. And we should study our failed government responses because they should, always, illicit more than a shoulder shrug.
And it’s not all up to a new administration. The world can see we’re divided by more than political ideology. Those from countries whose governments are older than the U.S. republic have some history to draw upon and learn from. I picture some shaking their head at us in recent years. I picture some finally relaxing their tense shoulders. So, yes, I know some know all too well what we’re feeling.
Both history and current discourse prove it.