Believe It, You Matter: You Did This. Never Forget You Did This.
This is Sarah Jane. I write all the “Believe It, You Matter” entries (and to be honest, most of the other posts, too, but never mind). I used to bother with giving these stories Roman numerals, but, no longer.
I’m writing this on November 8, 2020, the day after American news outlets announced that Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris would be the next president and vice president of the United States.
Once word came down in the afternoon–virtually all the major orgs called it within 20 minutes of each other–dozens of American cities instantly became the sites of spontaneous block parties that lasted for hours.
Many cities across the globe joined us, dancing in the streets just like we did. London spent its leftover Guy Fawkes Day fireworks. Church bells rang in Paris* and most notably in Berlin, which pressed into service the bell given to it by Philadelphia, and which it rings only on special occasions.
[With great reluctance, I chose not to head into the nearest big city to party. My family and I have been cloistering since mid-March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I stayed home and watched it all unfold over social media.]
Only late yesterday, after hours of gleefreshing Twitter (thank you for the fine new verb, The Oatmeal), did I realize what had happened.
Saturday, November 7, 2020 was VT Day: Victory Over Trump.
When he lost, we partied as if a war had ended. Because damn if these four years didn’t feel like a war.
That’s as it should be, I think. For we who opposed Trump, it was a war, one which we felt we had no choice but to join.
A confession: I am not good at embracing wins when they happen. I’m a nitpicker, a fun-killer, a pedant. I am always seemingly in some form of metaphorical defensive crouch, worried about what weird, dastardly attack could come next.
I am writing this post just as much for me as for you.
So, here we go.
We did it.
We. Did. IT.
WE DID IT!
The magnitude of what we did might be hard to grasp, because all we can see right now is the many ways in which we fell short (ahem cough cough Senate races).
The facts of the feat were best encapsulated by Michael Carusi on Twitter on November 7, 2020:
Let’s keep in mind the significance of what’s happened here. Trump was an incumbent with a huge cash advantage and a built-in cult following. He engaged in widespread voter suppression, used every dirty trick in the book, and he still lost. That’s a huge deal.
It should be pointed out that “voter suppression”, in this case, includes GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly refusing to advance bills that would have increased the security of our elections.
Also worth mentioning: Earlier in 2020, the GOP-controlled Senate deliberately removed language from an intelligence bill that required presidential campaigns to report any offers of election help from foreign countries or entities.
And! Don’t forget, election results from the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin took longer to deliver because their GOP-controlled state legislatures blocked bills that would have permitted them to get a head start on counting.
And it took so goddamn many of us–75 million and counting, more than any who have cast a ballot for a winning American presidential candidate–to achieve this win. So. Goddamn. Many.
With all of that, Trump still got 70 million-odd votes–about eight million more than he got in 2016.
That’s troubling. Deeply troubling. It shows us the work isn’t done, isn’t anywhere near done. But that’s not what this post is about.
This is about thanking you for everything you did over these last four years.
If you’re here, reading this, you spent the hours after the polls closed in 2016 wondering what more you could have done.
When the polls closed in 2020, you knew you had done everything you could reasonably do.
The uncomfortably close results show that we needed every last one of you to make this work.
Everything you did mattered. Everything.
Every door you knocked, every literature drop you performed, every call you made, every text you sent, every letter or postcard you wrote, every meeting you attended, every dollar you gave, every conversation you had–it mattered.
It all helped get Trump out of office. All of it.
Never forget that. Never.
Savor this win, and savor Trump’s defeat, knowing that it was your work–your hard, sustained, dedicated work–that made it real.
You matter. Your efforts matter. Thank you.
*Since we published this story, Snopes clarified that the church bells that rang in Paris were not for Biden’s win. They were automatically programmed to call congregants to mass at that time on Saturday.
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