Why You Should Lean Into Your Post-Election Joy

There’s still much work to be done, but we can celebrate Biden’s presidential victory

Joel Leon.
LEVEL
Published in
4 min readNov 11, 2020

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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When we talk about liberation, we don’t use words like joy. Empathy, compassion, and love are generally not credited as tools needed to uproot our nation’s trauma.

So, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were named president-elect and vice president-elect, celebrations erupted in cities like New York, Atlanta, and Detroit. Some felt that the joy on display overshadowed the work that needs to continue.

The joy many feel — especially Black Americans — is not rooted in some idyllic, fairy-tale fantasy. Biden stepping into the role of president is not the answer to all of our woes and salvation.

Trump’s presidency was a setback for millions of Americans across class, race, and gender. Cuts to education, health, and housing, stricter immigration laws, and polarizing racist language created tension and inherent fear. Trump used that fear to galvanize those in full support of his policies; his dog whistles reached those who longed for the days of a past “great” America.

But the joy many feel — especially Black Americans — is not rooted in some idyllic, fairy-tale fantasy. Biden stepping into the role of president is not the answer to all of our woes and salvation. Much of the commentary I’ve seen is more about the relief after feeling like our lives have been in a vice grip for four years.

The celebration does not ignore the problematic prosecutor past of Kamala Harris or Biden’s own shoddy and scary history with criminal justice reform. We know. We’re dealing.

As Black people, our history has felt like an endless road of countless setbacks from an oppressive, white supremacist system. For many of us, there is seldom room for joy. It seems like nothing can be happy when a system built on the backs of Black, Indigenous, and Brown labor continues to function.

But, if we do not find joy amidst the struggle and hardship of our daily lives, how can we find freedom? Some would argue that we can have no pleasure and…

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Joel Leon.
LEVEL
Writer for

he/him. @tedtalks giver. @EBONYmag / @medium writer. @frankwhiteco . creative. @taylorstrategy senior copywriter. @thecc_nyc 21’ class. @twloha board. #BRONX