By: Vanessa C.
*opinion/reflection of the writer*
It all began on that escalator of Trump Tower, where the most unlikely candidate descended the steps: Donald Trump. No one thought he would win, I mean, he did not have any political experience or military service. How could he represent the views of the people? Late night shows often targeted him and told him he would never win. Donald Trump never had an ideal history; his relentless bullying and taunting did not begin in his Presidency. But they never thought he would win anyway, so why would that matter? He has and always would campaign on a note of pessimism and the desire to change. While the desire for change is an admirable quality in a candidate, it is not something that Donald Trump has pulled off well. But Donald Trump had something the political establishment did not: candour. He could speak his mind freely without worrying that he would be blasted for it or dragged all over the Internet. He did not have to worry about parties breaking rank with him. He echoed the views of the people who subsequently threw their weight behind him. Donald Trump was their idea of a Saviour. That somehow, he could be the person that helps and saves them. For years, the same establishment, the same leadership structure has not helped them. They were not getting any richer, and they were not getting the change they wanted to see in their country. They had nothing to lose. And so, Donald Trump was their answer.
They had every reason to lose hope, Donald Trump would not be leading the polls anytime soon against his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. Clinton had a long and distinguished career in politics and law, from Yale Law graduate to Senator, to Secretary of State and First Lady. She had insider information, she knew the political system very well, and she had experience with handling it. She campaigned as a proud Democrat.
And yet she lost. She lost her Presidency to the man no one ever thought she would lose to. And it became clear that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States. And it stunned the world, not just America. What they thought would be an easy victory for Clinton turned out to be a loss.
Thousands of people marched on the streets, triggering the Women's March. People cried and sobbed because they knew how dangerous a man Donald Trump is and would be, holding the power of the highest office in America, and becoming the most powerful man in the world. Millions of people could lose their right to affordable healthcare, education for their children, the right to abortion, the right to express their sexuality, the right to practise their religion, whatever it may be, the goal to start anew in America, The Land of the Free. They knew that their fundamental rights could be taken away as Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence were sworn in.
Four years and he has failed every single test the world and his nation gave him. He turned his back on the people he swore to protect, he sowed chaos and division. He incited violence. Racial tensions were at an all-time high.
An America under Trump is an example of how these things can be taken for granted and how much responsibility you have as a leader. The responsibility of a leader has always been the ability and the spirit to guide and to uplift, to strengthen and to grow. And most of all, to be a decent human being, to be able to have empathy for those in plight and troubled times, to strengthen the bonds of a nation.
What has been done has been done, and when the History books are written, nothing can be erased. It was what it was, and in 2020, all of us hoped that America wouldn't make the same mistake again.
And they didn't.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now the president-elect and vice-president elect. The world rejoiced, and we celebrated. The streets are now a different sight, sights where people were beaming. They were smiling, and most of all, they were happy. They were waving banners and signs which carried the faces and names of their soon-to-be new leaders.
I respect Biden because he has endured so much. I cannot put myself in a position to imagine losing your spouse and child in a horrific accident. But that was not all Joe Biden has had to endure. In 2015, he lost his adult son, Beau, to brain cancer after a long and hard fight. A man who could so easily be filled with rage, hatred, and anger instead campaigns with his heart and soul. He chose optimism and hope over despair and desperation. Look, Biden too, does not have a perfect political career, void of mistakes and shortcomings, I think people have pointed that out. But Biden makes it clear: he would campaign with hope and optimism, and that is something I will always admire.
And Kamala Harris? Enough said. She was the first black, Indian-American senator of California and now, the Vice-President elect. She will remain an inspiration to the young girls who watch her victory speech. I am convinced that one day those young girls will say that Kamala Harris inspired her, and when she takes the stage, she will show the world and her nation what strong, educated women can do. I am heartened at the incredible number of women elected. Intelligent, educated women who know what they want, to better their country, to empower their citizens. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Sarah McBride, Cori Bush, Stacey Abrams, Michelle Obama, and now we have Kamala Harris. These women have inspired millions of other women, through their words and their actions. There are so many others whose names are not mentioned but contribute so much more than we know. For too long, they have not been recognized. Now, we see you, and we hear you. Loud and clear.
Most of all, it shows what you project is what you get. Donald Trump thrives on people's cynicism, their anger, their desperation and most of all, their hopelessness. And people called time’s up. They decided it was time for new leaders to take the country forward in a historic moment.
A new reality is dawning, and that we are standing on the cusp of a fresh dawn, one where optimism, hope and love live on. I believe, and I think you too, that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will restore some peace and stability that we sorely need right now. Because love, hope and optimism have always defined us as one humanity. We have, throughout the years of tragedies and poor leadership, seen how messed up we can get, but I think that it is a choice that we have to keep making. Our human potential is limitless, and this goes both ways. We can be as cruel as we want to be, and as loving and generous as we should be. Let us choose the latter. Human innovation and curiosity are still, I believe, fundamental human traits. And we can't do it without the optimism, the consideration and the care of humanity.
I once again congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and wish them the best of luck to restore the peace, the stability and for everyone's sake, the sensibility.
Change is coming to the world, and when the dawn arrives, the storm clouds phase out, we will celebrate once again, as a united humanity. Because that is who we have always been and who we will always be.
Be kind to everyone, believe in change, keep hoping and remember to keep looking out for one another.