Together We Rise!

All of Us Need All of Us!

For those of us under, say, the age of 40, Saturday’s election results may not have been quite as momentous as they were for those of us getting up there age-wise. I’ve watched my relatives in their teens, 20s and 30s as they’ve grown up, and their experience of diversity and inclusiveness is a lot different than mine was.

Having friends who are multiple skin tones, are queer, possess various levels of able-ness, deal with difficult family health circumstances (or whatever else “minorities” face) is not such a big deal for a lot of these young’uns. They’re incensed when their friends are underrepresented, and the youth of our nation have been real leaders in the fight against racial injustice, climate disaster, school shootings, and sexism, misogyny, and trans/homophobia. Just under sixty million youth in the U.S. are ages 10 – 24. That’s nearly 20% of the population, and they are the ones who will be called on in the future to fix a lot of messes recently created. Those who were able to vote in this year’s election did so in huge numbers, and I am so grateful to them.

I’m also grateful to voters of color. I predict that the final tallies, particularly from Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, will show us that people of color made all the difference and were responsible for ultimately putting Democrats over the finish line. And what a long and winding road it’s been!

Sad Fact of U.S. History

After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment “gave” African American men the right to vote in 1870, but Black women were still disenfranchised. In actuality, the men were, too. Reconstruction didn’t last long nor did it reconstruct much for either the poor or people of color. So after a brief period of hope, by the late 1870s the campaign to vigorously disallow Black voting was in full swing and lasted for about 100 years after. The poor, Native Americans, Asians, Latinos, and those of mixed race were also deterred from voting.

When we think about it, the 19th Amendment that “gave” women the right to vote under the Constitution only went into force in 1920. Women have only been voting for the last 100 years . . . but that’s mostly been white women. Why? Because just like the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment did not get rid of state laws that kept Black Americans (and pretty much all people of color) from the polls. Between literacy tests, poll taxes, and overt violence, most people of color of all genders, ages, and residential location in the U.S. were effectively discouraged from attempting to vote. Not until the late 1960s did the U.S. start seeing Black citizens at the polls in gradually increasing numbers, and that was mostly because of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which actually took many years to make real inroads on behalf of communities of color. The road was long and wearying.

Gracefully Fulfilling the Hopes of Generations of Women!

Now what do we see? Black people, particularly Black women, along with Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and voters of various other ethnicities voting for change in 2020. While 57% of white men and women voted for the current occupant, only 42% of whites voted for Biden and my new heroine, VP-elect Kamala Harris. (See the national exit poll cited by the BBC that I inserted at the bottom if you aren’t sure whether to believe me.) Clearly non-white voters made the difference.

I am amazed and overwhelmed with joy that a woman—-a super-intelligent, caring, bi-racial, innovating person with so much energy—-is our new Vice President-elect. Thank you, Voters! Thank you, Joe Biden. Truly, we need Joe’s experience and Kamala’s energy more than ever before.

Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm would be so proud! At long last, her thwarted ambitions for higher office have been achieved for the first time by a woman of color. (Chisholm was the first Black major-party candidate to run for President in 1972 and also the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.) When I was in junior high, I followed U.S. Representative Chisholm as she fought the good fight in office from 1969-1983. She was a force of nature. In fact, you can read her biography which is called THE GOOD FIGHT. She also wrote a terrific book, UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED, which I highly recommend. Shirley’s account of her unprecedented rise from young girl in Brooklyn NY to America’s first African-American Congresswoman is the stuff that real heroes are made of.

Doug & Kamala, married since 2014

Geraldine Ferraro would also be proud. She was the first Democratic party VP nominee (with Presidential nominee Walter Mondale, 1984), though they didn’t win.

Hillary Clinton (2016 Democratic candidate for President) has to be absolutely delighted that her dear friends, Joe & Jill Biden, are going back to the White House along with Kamala and Doug.

I look forward to subsequent elections when Kamala Harris can continue her meteoric rise directly into the presidency when Joe’s done. Why not? It’s time!

It’s been SUCH a long time coming. I’ve felt so much despair and apprehension for the last four years as I’ve seen our government decimated, allies disrespected, laws broken, corruption running rampant, and people left bereft and hurting. But hope is returning, and the relief is strong.

Together we will rise–in fact, we have risen! Let’s keep it up!

22 comments

  1. Even though I am Canadian, I was overjoyed at the results. Whether we like to admit it or not, when the U.S gets a cold, we Canadians sneeze, even just a little. The entire world celebrates with the U.S.A. Maybe now we can all get to work. Together. To save the planet and the people on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Carolyn, I totally get it. We in the US are supposed to be helping huddled masses and lifting our light to the golden door . . . not causing international shock and worry. So I do hope we can get back to the job we’re supposed to be doing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Vanda, it was also around the time when Billy Jean King was moving up in the tennis world, so along with her and Wonderwoman and Della Street, I had some good women to emulate.

      Like

    • His day will come, Jessie. We’ve been in an uphill battle, but now we’re at the peak, ready to plant the flag and start making a difference again.

      Like

  2. Excellent column, Lori. Finally, we can start undoing all the horrible damage we’ve experienced these past four years. Kudos to all the people of color, the Black women especially, who have been tirelessly organizing across the nation. Now, we have one more challenge—the two Senate races in GA; voting is Jan. 5. I hope everyone can do what they can, so if we have a tied Senate, VP Kamala Harris can break the tie and advance the Biden/Harris agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan, yes, it would be *great* if we could pick up those to GA Senate seats. I can only bet that LaTosha Brown and Stacey Abrams are working like crazy to get the vote out. Once again, people of color could make all the difference!

      Like

  3. Let’s not get too comfy and remain vigilant and energetic. The GOP has seen this coming for some time, which is why they’ve spent years with massive efforts at gerrymandering to keep control of state legislatures and House reps, as well as voter suppression which went into overdrive after SCOTUS threw away important controls that limited suppression efforts. Instead of evolving to reflect the will of the people, they will double down, triple down, at reflecting the dying breed of white, non college educated, rural, biases, close minded people who are easily swayed if you wrap your message in the flag, the Bible, and hate. The GOP is not changing. And Trump and Trumpism isn’t going away. Breaking up with a narcissist is prolonged anguish, and the break up is in its infancy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish you were wrong, Jennifer, but you are right on. There’s been SO much damage, so much pillaging, so much destruction of the government and by the government these last four years. And more. I don’t know where the GOP thinks they’re going, but I’m not going on the shit-show with them! So yeah, vigilance and action will be needed for a lonnnnnng time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Clifford, I was first able to vote in a presidential election in 1980 where Democrats lost – and it wasn’t until 1992 that Clinton & Gore finally took the White House when I was 32. Then I waited again until 2008 for Obama & Biden when I was 48. Hillary should haves been president in 2016. No way would this country be in the mess it is now if she were in charge. Field Marshall Clinton would have devoted all kinds of funding, cooperation and collaboration for conquering the pandemic. Alas… Anyway, I’m glad you finally have the satisfaction of voting for a winner at your tender age, and I hope you continue to do so for the next 100 years. (Not sure how old you are, but medical science is improving every day…)

      Like

    • You’re my fairy godmother! Of course you have to have hope for the future. Where’s that little purple bag of fairy dust you use on all your manuscripts….

      Like

  4. Greetings, Lori! Wonderful piece, and I’m so happy that you wrote it!
    We are rising – it’s more of an ebb and flow – forward, backward but for you and me, it’s always onward.
    Teresa and I were thrilled for the women of color who made the difference in this election as they did in 2018. Thank goodness for them.
    I can’t begin to imagine the results otherwise. Sobering thoughts.
    Stay safe and sane, my friend of many moons.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s