A Rolling Global Block Party
Not just Americans but people around the world spent days glued to their screen this week awaiting the slow and steady progress of the counting of the votes in the 2020 Presidential Election. With no clear winner emerging on Election Night, tight races in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin took days to unfold until a winner was announced by CNN at 11:24 AM on Saturday morning. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the race by a margin of 50.6% to 47.6% over Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence. A rolling block party broke out across the world and across the country at the news of Trump’s defeat, however narrow. People took to the streets to dance in New York and Philadelphia. People waved flags and honked horns in impromptu car parades even in Ohio, a state won by Trump. People banged pots and pans in a joyful noise from their balconies in Toronto and Portland. Fireworks went off in London and Berlin. Los Angelenos awoke to shouting. Americans received congratulatory texts from relatives in other countries. As church bells rang across Paris, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, tweeted, “Welcome back America!” Throughout the day a happy crowd gathered outside the barriers erected in front of the White House and many people gathered in Lafayette Square, site of gassing of protestors in May and June, and on Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC.
Kamala Harris First in Many Things
Kamala Harris is the first woman and woman of color to be elected Vice-President of the United States. She is first in many ways which demonstrate the changing texture of American politics. She is the first Indian-American, first Black woman, first daughter of immigrants. In her speech to the nation on Saturday evening, Harris invoked the spirit of John Lewis, who made sure the visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in the last days of his life She said, “Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote: ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’ And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted. And protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. There is joy in it and there is progress. Because ‘We The People’ have the power to build a better future. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.” Harris will not be the first person of color to hold the office of Vice-President. That honor belongs to Charles Curtis of the Kaw Nation, elected Vice-President to Herbert Hoover in 1928.
Native Vote Decisive
The Native vote transformed the vote in Indian Country and stands poised to cement Biden’s election. Tribal lands may make an indelible difference in American politics as the count progresses in Arizona. As of this writing 98% of the votes in Arizona have been reported and the state has yet to call its election. Biden has 49.47% while Trump has 48.96%. The Navajo vote turned much of the state blue and delivered a victory for Mark Kelly (D) over Martha McSally (R) in the Senate race. While news outlets minimized the Indigenous vote (CNN called Indigenous people “Something Else” in their breakdown of ethnicities.), Native reporters have highlighted the impact of the Native vote. Independent candidate for president Mark Charles spoke of his disappointment that the major party candidates never visited Indian Country. “Native America definitely had in impact on this election. I was disappointed deeply that neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump came in person.” He continued, “By electing Joe Biden not much is going to change, right? He absolutely is deeply committed to maintaining the status quo and the status quo includes keeping Native Americans marginalized.”
Election Close, Biden Gives Victory Speech, Noem Calls Election Unfair
The fact that the election was so close, and that there may still be recounts in key states demonstrates that the divisions which propelled Donald Trump to victory in 2016 are still very much a part of the fabric of America. In South Dakota Trump won overall by 62% while Biden won in both Dewey County (58%) and Ziebach County (53%). President-Elect Biden spoke to the nation on Saturday night. (For full text of their comments, see westrivereagle.com.) Biden said he will be a president for the entire country. “Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Progressives, moderates and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American…I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem appeared on ABC’s “The Week” with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. When asked is she would work with President-Elect Biden on the coronavirus pandemic she praised President Trump saying, “I appreciated that President Trump gave us the flexibility to do the right thing in our state and will continue to do that.” Noem went on to say that she thinks calling the election for Biden is “premature.” When pressed for evidence that the election was not fair, as she claimed in a tweet and on the air, she characterized those who are willing to move forward as “scared” to find out the results, saying, “All I am asking is that we don’t break this country,” and that everyday people need to know “America still functions and we care about doing things right.”