I woke up this morning to alerts that Pennsylvania and Georgia had “turned blue,” which, if you’re not familiar with U.S. politics, means that the electoral votes from those states are likely to go to the Biden/Harris/Democrat ticket versus to Trump/Pence/Republicans. (This isn’t the space to get into why this flip is monumental and what efforts were taken to achieve this, but start with #StaceyAbrams.) With the final counts wrapping up, Biden/Harris are likely to take the Oval Office next year, with only six electoral votes away from the necessary 270 to win.
I’ve tried to avoid actively perusing Facebook for some time, only checking messages and alerts here and there. I see a lot of complaints from all sides on how “we can’t just sit back and watch,” “we can’t depend on them to do this,” and “we’ve got to take back our country.” All racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, violence, and just overall bigotry aside, that’s actually the point of civic engagement. Educate yourself, get involved, take responsibility for your personal sense of power and what that means collectively as a society—do the thing!
I’m reflecting upon the biographical documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs and her comment that we should not rely on messiahs to save us. She made a reference to Barack Obama and the hope he inspired in so many. Two presidential terms and four years since he was in office, some lament today that he did not do “enough.” What can one person do, even if he held one of the most powerful positions in the world? Granted, much, but grassroots power—people power—I really believe this is where it’s at. Hope makes all the difference, but ultimately, it’s only the beginning and a call to action.
If there’s anything we can learn from these last four polarizing years and the disastrous 2020, I hope it’s recognition of our own power and our collective capacity for and to change.