By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – The euphoria here was as clear as the bright Saturday sun, putting an end to the four anxious days of vote counting.
Vice President Joseph Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris mustered 273 electoral votes that would lead them to the White House as the 46th President and Vice President. Yes! I told myself grinning when I woke up. Thank you, I said an ecstatic prayer and took a selfie along with my daughter’s huge picture on my desk. Thank you too, angel anak Leani for #theenergy.
Times Square and Columbus Circle were swarmed by jubilant New Yorkers. People on the streets were clapping and cheering, with gleeful eyes of masked faces. Cars were honking. There was one guy bicking and singing with a microphone.
My group of friends was feasting on chicken adobo, fried pusit, lumpia, and palabok at Tradisyon, a Filipino restaurant owned by Joey Chanco on 9th Avenue. We cheered with the crowd and clapped as the cars honked during our brunch.
It felt good today. Soon we won’t be hearing a powerful man bullying and lying in front of the media. Decency will be back, and our mental health in check. It truly felt good today.
The speeches of Harris and Biden on Saturday evening sealed my euphoria. It was such a relief to hear President-elect Biden announce that a task force to respond to the growing coronavirus epidemic in the US will kick off on Monday.
“We will turn around this pandemic,” he told an emotional crowd in Wilmington. As the second Catholic President, he had borrowed inspiring passages from the Bible. “As to everything there is a season, now is the time to heal. We will have decency, fairness, science, hope, prosperity, and we will root out systemic racism in this country.”
The US has an unprecedented world record high of 230,000 deaths due to covid19, following a delay in the closure of US borders from international travelers and the lack of enforcement of a unified health policy.
Pres. Trump’s bullish disregard of public health during the pandemic (i.e. indoor rallies without mandatory masks and social distancing) made him lose the election. The once red states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan flipped blue and their coronavirus cases have surged as well.
While Biden offered a great deal of hope, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was of pride – finally, a woman of color is in the top office. Asian and African descent, and yes, it won’t be the last.
Biden and Harris have shown decency and humility that night, something which I miss from elected officials. They both thanked their staff and volunteers and honored their spouses. “With the outpouring of votes, unprecedented at 74 million, I am humbled,” said Biden.
Harris acknowledged the generations of women – Black, Asian, White, Latina, Native American – who struggled. “I stand on their shoulders.”
The tasks to ensure public health and safety and economic recovery and to unify America are enormous. Restoring the soul of America and making it respectable in the world starts with a decent leadership – indeed.#