Well, well, well. Here we are– at the end of a truly consequential American presidential election — and the beginning of what could be an uncertain future. Now, while I’m not much of a professional prognosticator when it comes to election outcomes — but neither, folks, was Nate Silver in 2016 — I’m confident that Joe and Kamala are going to win this. Confident. Sure, that is if everyone is playing by the rules. And, if we’ve learned one thing about the current administration’s Roy Cohn school of thuggery, playing by the rules is like me buying a shake n’ go wig — a last resort, if that.
If the trauma of election night 2016 is anything to go by, for many of us, this coming Tuesday already portends a time of angst and, in my case, nail-biting (don’t fret, I wear my extra-long ones just for such occasions). What I also remember from the day-after-the-2016-election blues was how we got through it. How community, resolve, and action became a mantra of determination. Let’s not forget the day after Trump’s election — the day after! — between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people participated in Women’s Marches across America. But I’m getting ahead of myself. No matter what they end up being, the one thing I am sure of is that we are here to help each other get through this. I can handle this; you can handle this.
What needs to be asked is, what exactly are you going to do the day after the election results arrive? Now, let’s get real for a moment. We know it’s a very distinct possibility that we won’t have any definitive declaration of a winning candidate for some time to come. In 18 states alone, ballots can arrive after Election Day by law. And don’t even get me started on the Electoral college — which, as an article in The Atlantic so pointedly reminds us, is tied to the legacy of slavery in America. So, between mail-in ballot counting, undoubted contested results on all levels, and the specter of legal challenges from both sides of the ticket à la Gore v. Bush (and this time with Coney Barrett on the bench), we may very well be left waiting.
So, back to the question: what are you going to do after election day?
Regardless of who wins, we still have so many important things to fight for, challenge, and resist — our allyship with our lack, Brown, Indigenous, Trans, and Queer peers doesn’t end on November 3rd. Yes, you’ve voted (if you haven’t, here’s my guide to voting), but that doesn’t mean all is over and done. Voting once every four years is just one aspect of being a civic-minded individual, but that leaves you with 1,459 days to express yourself and your beliefs in so many other ways.
Yes, this election is vitally important, and casting your vote is key to determining its outcome. But remember this: one race may be drawing to an end, but as far as I’m concerned, for our communities, we’re still far from the finish line.