What’s Next? Life After the Election
Wow. All weekend I was at a loss for words because of how HAPPY I felt about the election. Not going to lie, some days before election day, I was going to sleep super worried about what another term would mean and how devastating it would be in so many ways and how the Right has decimated the justice system even further and well…
I can’t put into words how relieved and happy I am! What an incredible moment for grassroots organizing and people power.
One thing I also wanted to say is how grateful we should be to organizers and communities who are often the most harmed who still came out and voted, to save us all, even when they often get the short-end of the stick. I want us to understand the strength that takes and be appreciative of that.
When I think about what’s next I want to make sure we are able to keep the same energy going not just to get people elected but for those leaders to enact policies and legislation that helps us. So what’s next?
One. Breathe. Bbs, the last four years have been filled with horrible policies and horrible people bringing out the worst in others. It was been so difficult to practice law under a system that purposely caused us harm. Immigration lawyers took the brunt of it with shit policies announced almost every Friday, but it’s not just immigration. Education, environment, criminal justice, LGBTQ rights, all topics that impact our lives were lead by people whose only aim seem to be to cause the most harm. And in response, we protested, organized, advocated, and sacrificed in order to fight back. We deserve a moment to take in all the work we did–to celebrate it and acknowledge how important it was to stand up for ourselves. There will also be a lot of talk about healing and others pretending that it was just politics. It may feel as if you over-exaggerating the trauma experienced, but a large majority of the leaders in this current admin had ties to white supremacists or are white supremacist themselves (Sessions, Bannon, Miller)–don’t let folks sweep that under the rug as if it was just politics as usual. The past four years were “led” by horrible human beings who caused us harm. But we survived and we should celebrate that and take a well-needed rest.
Two. Prepare. We need to gird ourselves for the next two months and the damage that may come. There is no grace or dignity from that administration. Even when he’s gone, I feel he’ll still stoke the flames of a “stolen” election that his followers will buy. It’s kind of laughable but also harms our normal process to transfer power. That is another stain on his character, but he remains in power until January so be alert and stay as safe as possible.
Three. Organize. More importantly, there will be life after inauguration and the work doesn’t stop after Biden takes the oath. There are lots of policies and legislation that must be addressed to help our communities. And we can make those demands because we are a powerhouse. First by demanding that our communities be represented in places of power (ahem, Gov Newsom!) and that new leadership creates policies to help us–this means immigration, healthcare, covid-relief, etc. Consider finding a local or national org and get involved. Figure out which issues call to you the most and see how you can support them. Our political power is so important and he have to use it frequently, not just during elections.
I know plenty of people are hesitant about Biden, but I believe he has a history of leaning towards progress. Not always fast enough, but unlike many politicians, Biden has a gift of empathy and emotional intelligence that allows him to advocate for positions in order to better serve those who are being harmed (this is how he helped pass VAWA and how he pushed for same-sex marriage before others were ready to do so). I’m also excited for his cabinet leaders (and hello, Kamala!) and believe he’ll select members who understand our lived experience, which makes a difference in the services and resources our communities receive. But none of that progress happens long-term, if we don’t continue to push, in all levels, to have our needs met. We owe this to ourselves and one another.