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Celebrating a new dawn - President-Elect Joe Biden

Who else slept soundly for the first time in days (and maybe months…) on the evening of Sunday 8th November? I certainly did! A deep sleep was somewhat aided by the celebratory champagne we had at lunch, but the real clincher was knowing that Joe Biden would be the next American President.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

I know that I live far away from America, I’m not an American citizen and I have not endured the burden of the last four years on the ground there, or the trauma of this year. So when I think of the relief I have felt since the election was called, I rattle my brain and try to comprehend how utterly relieved and emotionally drained the tens of millions of Americans who voted for Biden must feel.

There is no comparison, but American Biden supporters – your democratic act of voting in a new dawn has honestly given me hope and optimism that this crazy world can, in time, recover. I woke up with a spring in my step on Monday morning and both my mind and body felt distinctly lighter. It was almost like I'd woken up from a bad dream - but obviously this time there had been no dream. None of us have seen much joy this year, let’s be honest. So to see videos of people dancing in the streets of New York to Bruce Springsteen made me happy – for a moment life was ‘normal’ again.

In writing this, I know that there was a phenomenally large Trump following who voted for the incumbent; I know that the country is utterly divided right now; and I know that the people and economy of America have been scorched by Covid. There is, as we all know, a huge amount of work and co-operation required of everyone – and that is excluding the small issue of a potential White House trespasser to remove.

But the monumental possibilities, hope and decency that Biden and Harris together represent mean that I’m focusing on the positives. Understanding the life of Joe Biden and what he has lost and endured, the persistence and resilience he has demonstrated, is nothing short of inspiring. He has kept going and going and going, all the while displaying total integrity, humility, empathy and respect. One of my favourite comments from his speech acknowledging the election outcome, was when he said ‘I’m Jill’s husband’. That spoke volumes to me – she is certainly no second fiddle to Joe.

This cartoon was given to Joe Biden, by his Dad, after he lost his wife and young daughter, and it sits framed on his desk. A great lesson in resilience and to just get back up on your feet again. Hagar the Horrible © King Features Syndicate

We all know how incredible and inspiring the history-making election of Kamala Harris to Vice-President is. To put it simply, seeing her just makes me want to reach for the stars. She is a phenomenal woman – charisma, drive and intellect personified.

In our family, we feel lighter, we feel that the world might just have a chance to right some of the wrongs which the last four years threw at everyone. At the end of a crazy, crazy year, seeing crowds of people celebrate in masks was not abnormal for me at all. What was sadly surreal was seeing so many people smile, cry with tears of happiness and dance to music together uninhibited, all showing real joy. That is what we’ve all been missing so terribly this year.

And for Australia, what of us? What impact will Biden have on our trajectory? With our Federal Government having been a silent supporter of Trump and being careful of what it says, my one greatest wish is that our Federal leadership commits Australia to catching up with the rest of the world on the climate change front and is big enough to make climate policy commitments in step with Biden’s America.


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