Saturday morning Angus and I were pottering around. I had a supervision call with participants in my Rewilding Guide and after we were going meet up with the couple we were doing an intensive with. We were making tea and taking care of the pets. Angus turned on CNN. The previous night when we were watching we heard the announcement “LIVE ELECTION UPDATE” several times and were told information like 30 votes have come in from a county in Pennsylvania or Georgia. So when Wolf Blitzer announced another election update at 8:30 am neither one of us was particularly excited. Angus said, “Here come another 20 votes.”
But it became one of the moments that I will remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. Angus stood directly in front of the television wearing boxer shorts. Niko, our husky, was lying off to Angus’s left in front of the gas fireplace. Niko loves to lay so close to the fire that his fur becomes hot to touch. Angus and I think he is in husky heaven undoing ancestral trauma of living outside in the freezing cold. I was off to the side looking at Angus wearing my pink fleece dressing gown and holding a hot tea that I drink out of my brown mug with the word cocoa written on it in beige cursive. Angus calls the mug a tankard and teases me whenever he makes the tea that it is a jug rather than a mug. We each stood there waiting to hear about another trickle of votes coming in.
Then we heard Wolf Blitzer say, “We can now project the winner of the presidential race. CNN projects Joseph R Biden Jr. is elected the 46th president of the United States.”
I looked at Angus and cried. I felt relief. I experienced a deep exhale and then listened as Van Jones shared his reflections.
I cried some more along with every other CNN anchor. Our daughters were not home but we texted. Our family in Canada and the U.K. reached out. I had a friend in France send congratulations. Later we watched the street celebrations, and London Mayor Sadiq Kahn tweeted, “London looks forward to working with you—it’s time to get back to building bridges, not walls.” And Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted, “Welcome back America.” Then I heard that church bells rang in the U.K., France, Germany, and Canada. There were also fireworks in the U.K. The NY Times reported there was shouting from windows, the ringing of cowbells, the blasting car horns, and scenes of jubilation and relief around the globe. The world celebrated and shared the joy the way countries celebrate when a dictator was deposed. We were celebrating that democracy survived. This time at least.
And even though it is a time for celebrating the work is yet to come. Over 70 million people voted for Trump and millions of others did not vote. As President-elect Joe Biden shared, it is time for the healing to begin. Healing is needed to end the suffering that would make Trump look like a good pick. Healing to assuage the fear. Healing to relieve the anger. Healing to soothe the hurt.
Historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote:
The forces that gave rise to Donald Trump’s presidency have not been vanquished. America is still under siege by oligarchs who are trying to take control of the country. They win supporters by spinning a false narrative that feeds fear and fury to drive ordinary Americans apart…even if it means children torn from their parents, half of the country demonized as anti-American, a lawless administration, a deep recession, and more than 230,000 Americans dead.
Cox Richardson sees the healing beginning with rejecting the lies and returning fact-based arguments to the center of our national conversations.
I see the healing starting from a deeper place that recognizes that is fear and insecurity that make people vulnerable to false narratives. There is no simple solution, but it must involve empowering people to connect with a deeper truth within themselves about their true nature of love and wellbeing. That seems to be what is needed to bring more love and understanding into the world.
Joe Biden was not who I voted for in the primaries, but he has grown on me. I am particularly moved by his kindness, compassion, empathy, and inclusivity. These seem essential to move beyond the pain and frustration of being a divided nation to one that comes together and learns and grows together to create an America that is good for all Americans where justice is equal for all.
A friend asked me recently, “Do you feel American?”
I have lived in the U.S. for over half my life and lived here longer than any other country, but on that day all I could say was I felt Californian. Today I feel American. As a brown, immigrant woman, I now feel safer and more welcome. I am grateful that both of my daughters got to vote in this historic election and help vote Kamala Harris into office as the first Black, Indian-American, woman to be elected as Vice-President of the United States.
And for the Trump supporters who feel disappointed and disenfranchised. I am hoping the lies that create such a strong divide and alternate realities will eventually subside so we can come together in love and understanding. I have reheard numerous recent stories of conversations between Trump supporters and Democrats where there was kindness and goodwill. One person shared that a Trump supporter said to them that the only answer is love. And that the conversation they had was beautiful and tender.
I do believe that love and understanding are the answer. The perceived divide between us is constructed and based on a system designed to distract us from addressing an inequitable system that hurts everyone. When we focus on blaming each other we do not come together and dismantle what is unfair and unjust as a united front.
As the former journalist and author and speaker, Ami Chen Mills-Naim wrote:
Working-class Americans and poor Americans have more to gain by uniting than by continuing to attack one another on issues of race, religion (abortion & sexual orientation), class, false charges of communism, and “trumped up” charges of domestic terrorism regarding “Antifa” … We squander our energies bickering and attacking each other, while the true “global cabal” of multinational corporate elite rake in trillions of dollars with little to no concern for our beautiful planet, and for the health and well being of the people of the world.
As President-Elect Biden urged now is the time for healing. Now is the time for coming together. Now is the time for compassion.
Love won and we mustn’t forget love is the answer going forward too.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, regular contributor to Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. Rohini is the co-founder of The Rewilding Guide Training, The 29-Day Rewilding Experience, and The Rewilding Community. You can also subscribe to Rohini’s weekly blog on her website, rohiniross.com. You can also follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.