Twenty-nine presidents ago, America kicked the state of Georgia out of the United States for killing Black elected officials and the Black voters who put them in office. Ten presidents ago, this country was still killing Black voters. This morning, an entire country sat in suspended animation waiting to see if there were enough Black votes to save America from America.
Joseph Robinette Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.
Joseph Robinette Biden will be the 46th President of the United States because the best President of our lives was a Black man (Who was better? Nixon? Ford? Reagan? The Bushes? Clinton? Trump? Stop playing.) Joseph Robinette Biden will be the 46th President of the United States, in part, because he chose a Black running mate. Joseph Robinette Biden will be the 46th President of the United States because of Black people.
“Magic” did not make Joe Biden the president-elect, nor did some existential combination of thoughts and prayers.
We did this.
If it is true that faith without works is dead, then Black people have provided the back-bruising labor while the rest of this country folds its hands, closes its eyes and wishes upon a star. At every turning moment of this country’s short history, we have been the answer to this nation’s prayers.
Black voters in South Carolina picked this quickly withering weed out of the dirt and brought him back to life. A Black woman gave him enough sunshine by simply agreeing to stand beside him. Black women like Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown planted the seeds. Black voters in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta took the bloody swords that had slit their necks for centuries and beat them into plowshares.
We are the grace that prevents this land from reaping what it has sown. It does not matter that this country does not love us. We love ourselves. And because of that, America gets to reap the harvest with a president who can speak in complete sentences and doesn’t need intelligence agencies to make an intelligence briefing coloring book.
And we did it while this country was trying to kill us. Even though a deadly pathogen—police brutality, voter suppression, the coronavirus, white supremacy—take your pick) disproportionately attacked our communities. We did it because they were trying to kill us with knees on our necks, no-knock warrants, law and order, locking us up, sending us back, backing the blue and blocking our ballots from being counted.
It did not work.
It never will.
Can’t you see that by now?