This is “Election Day 2020” and we are about 2–3 hours away from polls closing on this election season. I feel good. I feel cautiously optimistic. I know that many of us have done all we can to reach out to voters, especially voters in battleground states. Today, I do not feel as depressed, desperate, or as unhappy as I did on election day in 2016. I feel good that we will have a Biden-Harris Administration.
In 2016, I canvassed in VA and made calls to VA and battleground states. For the first time, I went out of state to be a poll watcher in Williamsburg, VA because I was so scared. I knew we would lose if we did not turn out. I saw the vitriol online. I saw the swelling support Trump was getting. I saw the disengagement and lack of enthusiasm within my left leaning community. I saw more people’s confidence that Hillary will win so they were free to vote their conscience, i.e., vote third party or stay home. I saw many on the left who were upset, angry even that Bernie Sanders did not win. I saw that many of the Bernie supporters did not care that Bernie was supporting Clinton; they were not going to support Hillary. I saw many people on the left who believed that if they make sure Hillary loses, they will be hurting her by denying her what she has always wanted.
I was terrified. I remember telling my girl Linda that she should not be so confident that Hillary will win because Trump has a great chance of winning. I understood why people were so sure he would lose. He was an admitted sexual assaulter, he was clearly a racist, xenophobe, liar, cheat, sexist and just plain crude, so obviously, people would not possibly vote for him. However, people did not pay attention to social media. People did not pay attention to online attacks against anyone who said anything negative towards Trump. People did not pay attention to the ease with which people were using racially derogatory or xenophobic terms. To me, this showed people were motivated to vote for him because he was speaking their language. He was saying what they have wanted to say but did not feel comfortable until then.
At about 4:30/5am on election day, 2016, I got in my car and drove to Williamsburg, VA to be a poll watcher. It was freezing. However, I just had the feeling that we were losing, and I wanted to do as much as I could to stave that off. I spent the day talking to people who were turned away from voting for a variety of reasons. The highlight of that cold day was towards the end of the day when my boyfriend surprised me at the polling location. He had taken the train from Arlington to Williamsburg to drive me back to his place. I think he must have heard my depression as I spoke to him periodically throughout the day.
I remember not wanting to listen to the results during the drive. When we got to his place, I left him watching the results come in and went to bed. I just could not do it. I could not watch her lose. When he got in bed, I woke up. (I still do not know what time that was) I remember asking him “did she lose?” He responded “yes.” I cried myself back to sleep that night. (Even as I write this part, I am still very emotional, and I have no idea how long it is going to take me to get over this feeling)
Although I have been engaged since 2008 and was motivated in 2016, the election of this man motivated me to be even more active and proactive. For the last 4 years, I have spent a lot of time advocating for civic engagement and encouraging people to get out the vote. I feel good about all that I have done.
During the primaries, my first choice for president was Kamala Harris. That did not happen but when Biden said he was going to choose a woman I started my advocacy to choose her. I knew, like many others that she was the right person for the role. I believe that she has exceeded all expectations and even those who were skeptical of her, have come around. So, with the choice of Kamala Harris as VP, my advocacy became even more heightened. As a result, I started a Facebook Group called Black Diaspora for Biden-Harris #KamalaHarris. I have worked with two amazing women, Johanne Foster and Tamika Bennett Watt in moderating the group page. This has been a successful tool to get information out and to motivate people to be more engaged. There is more to come with that group.
During this election cycle I have had the honor and privilege of working with the Democratic party, several groups supporting the Biden-Harris ticket and my community to ensure a victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; to ensure victory for this nation. There were groups from all ethnic communities, from Africans, Muslims, Latinx, Black women groups, women of color groups, women groups, Black sororities and fraternities and so many other coalitions. I have never seen anything like it. So, yes, I feel good because we have put in the work. Whatever happens I know that is what is supposed to happen, and it is not because we did not do our part.
Today, I feel like we are on the right track. Of course, I do not know what the results are going to be, but I have hope. I had the great urge to write this and put it out there because I feel at peace. I am praying for success. I am praying for a Biden-Harris administration. I am praying for us to have the opportunity to save the soul of this nation. I am praying for a better future for my niece, my nephews, my young cousins and all our children than what is promised if Trump is re-elected. So now, we wait with hope and prayers.