We can all exhale now. The election is over, and although the counting of votes was arduous and maddeningly slow at times, it resulted in a clear outcome.
The voting infrastructure wasn’t hacked by Russians, polling places weren’t invaded by armed militias, and there were no widespread or even narrow-spread cases of voter fraud. Claims to the contrary are false. Our system worked.
There are many things to talk about after the election, but let’s focus first on the big one — the result that made history, with the long-overdue election of a woman as the Vice President of the United States of America.
Girls everywhere have a role model to look up to because Kamala Harris represents so many firsts. She is the daughter of immigrants, the first Black vice president, the first South Asian-American vice president, and even the first Californian to be elected vice president. Her marriage is interracial, and her husband, who will be the first Second Gentleman of the United States (SGOTUS), is Jewish.
She embodies a term that isn’t used much anymore, but perhaps she will bring it back: America’s melting pot — the idea of a brilliant, bubbling fusion of culture, experience, style and opportunity.
In selecting Harris as his running mate, Joe Biden made a choice that signaled his understanding of who and what America is really all about. Harris has distinguished herself at every phase of her long and storied career, and she is ready to lead with compassion, grace, dignity and steel.
Competency and character matter. But with her Chuck Taylors, dazzling smile and readiness to break out in a celebratory dance, Harris will also bring a cool West Coast vibe to her office.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has described Harris as a “walking, whip-smart embodiment of the California Dream,” and that sounds like a breath of fresh air to us.
In the sound and the noise of the aftermath of the election, we shouldn’t lose sight of the magnitude of change that is coming our way in 2021. And we hope that we can all come together, a community, to meet the moment.
Here on Vashon, there was no contest, as usual, in this year’s Presidential election, with more than 87% of islanders voting for the Democratic ticket. Still, we recognize that not everyone here voted for Biden. And yet, we are all still a part of this island, no matter our votes, and we must all — for the sake of community — somehow learn to live with the reality that is handed to us. Many realized that in 2016 when the election went the other way, and the vast majority of islanders were profoundly disappointed in the outcome.
But people here at least accepted the election as a fact and went back to work together to do the things we needed to do. We have confidence that will happen again on Vashon, and we pray, throughout America.
We can now look to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to give us examples, on a bigger scale, of how to get on with our business. In the days since that they have won the election, they have done what true leaders do: delivered stirring speeches calling for unity, convened a task force of top scientists to address the coronavirus pandemic, and begun the hard work of formulating policies that will repair our country’s damaged reputation around the world.
Inclusiveness, we hope, will continue to guide all their choices, as they build an Administration that truly looks and acts like America.
There is too much work to do, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The days of divisiveness and delay are over.
January 20, 2021, and the inauguration of our new President and Madame Vice President, can’t come soon enough.