November 8, 2016 was supposed to be a night that was historic for many reasons. Up until that day I assumed that Hillary Clinton would be our first female President of the United States over Republican challenger Donald J. Trump. I even set my alarm for 10:30 pm EST as I thought she’d declare victory by that point based on polls, figures and many, many polarizing problems with the former Apprentice host.
Then things went from hopeful to grim in a matter of hours for me and millions of others who watched in sheer terror over Trump’s likely victory. I eventually had a guy over to distract me (not kidding) and then later ordered Domino’s while tuning into old episodes of Will & Grace for some much needed comic relief amid what became the beginning of a terrible nightmare that I still can’t believe actually happened.
Trump, for some reason, won. I still to this point have no idea how millions of Americans voted for someone who proudly admitted to grabbing on women’s private parts, openly mocking a disabled reporter, insulting and degrading people’s appearances and personal lives, etc. And mind you this was all before he served his first term, which shows the levels and depths certain people will take to ignore some of the bigger problems here, but I digress.
The past four years for me and a good portion of the LGBTQ+ community were hell on wheels as there was always a question over what he and his VP Mike Pence (who has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ behavior) would do. Recently there was a hilarious claim said by a well-known Log Cabin Republican that 45 has been the most “pro-gay president in American history” which… let’s discuss that for a second.
I’ll give the abridged version to a lengthy list over just how anti-gay he and his administration were. He and they banned transgender service members from the military, appointed anti-LGBTQ+ judges to the Supreme Court like Amy Coney Barrett, opposed the Equality Act, supported employment discrimination against our community, created a Religious Discrimination Division, the list goes on. Kudos to HRC for putting all of this together.
Let’s go outside our community for a second. I’m someone who tries to see the glass half full in any kind of situation — no matter how bad it is. I cannot find one moment with Trump that I can look back on with a smile. Everything was drama, everything was a reality show that we were forced to tune into, everything was chaotic and never in a good way. A leader is supposed to encourage their followers and not make a good chunk of them angry, frustrated, worried, and so on and so forth. This, in my eyes, is what he did for the past four years and always managed to do so with a cheeky grin that made my stomach churn.
2020 was no exception. It was awful for the world thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic which Trump appeared to mock and not take seriously along the way even though he apparently got it weeks before the election. COVID wrecked our lives in so many ways and changed things to a new normal that we are still adjusting to. This brings me to a good point though…
Perhaps Biden’s win means that this year wasn’t so bad after all. I was unaware that he had tasted victory until I started hearing chants and screams outside my apartment window in Washington Heights. This was the first time I had heard these types of noises since the beginning of the pandemic when we were all cheering on our wonderful front-line workers. It was confusing at first until a minute in when I got a text from my sister in all caps that read “BIDEN WON”.
I couldn’t figure out how to feel. Tears started streaming down my face. Happy tears. Tears of relief. I was overwhelmed in the best way possible as I was doubtful that this could actually become a reality even though at some point it was near impossible for 45 to continue his reign of terror.
There’s so much more to this than just Biden winning for our community. Kamala Harris is our first female Vice President. She’s our first Black female Vice President. She’s our first South Asian Vice President. This is something that needs to be celebrated to the max as it has taken us hundreds of years to get to this point.
Barack Obama was the first to break the door down and now Kamala can storm right through and, with Biden, really and honestly MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. For the first time in a while, I can wholeheartedly say that I’m looking forward to the future of this country and what these two amazing people have to offer. I hope many of you reading this feel the same.
About the Author:
Ryan Shea is an established writer who has contributed thought-provoking pieces for many different industries. He has worked for major publications including Newsday, Hollywood Life, Instinct Magazine and The Ladders.