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Regardless of who wins this election, America is lost

People participated in a protest in support of counting all votes as the election in Pennsylvania is still unresolved on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
People participated in a protest in support of counting all votes as the election in Pennsylvania is still unresolved on Wednesday in Philadelphia.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

There is no time for shock and disappointment, America. This election is not exposing a new truth. This election is a reflection of our American face — a face of whiteness above all else.

I do not say that to say all white folk are bad. Whiteness is a symbol in this country. Meaning, Donald Trump is president for one reason: He is a white man with an immoral compass set in the direction of supremacy. He won four years ago because he is a white man who promised to restore white power. And he might win again.

So, nah. Joe Biden was never going to win by a landslide in a land that is neither brave nor free. Trump showed us he had supremacists on standby.


It was always going to be a wrestling match in which we had to fight to keep Biden’s shoulders off the mat. And even if he wins, Biden is not a fix-it-all. The fight to make America the country it claims to be is a fight that will outlive us all.

America, supremacy is not a thing you can just up and beat. We breathe it in. We are born into it. We normalize injustice so much that the minute oppressed people fight for their liberation, those who feel free are offended.

The fact that people thought the election of Barack Obama meant the country was healed only proved how willfully blind folk were to the suffering and oppression of others. Donald Trump is not the root of our American problems. He is a side effect, a megaphone, and a permission slip to no longer hide one’s true capitalistic and supremacist desires.

Anyone who thought four years of a supremacist in the White House would mean an easy defeat has not lived as an oppressed person in America.


America, this fight goes beyond the counting, recounting, and possible litigation of votes. As Trump and Biden match each other by the millions of supporters, as Republicans and Democrats fight for Congress, we are seeing a battle –– split down the middle –– for a new American face.

This country was designed under the facade of democracy while always pledging supremacy. Equity, justice, and a functioning democracy requires a dismantling of a system.

We, the people, must remain steadfast in our struggle for freedom. I believe in the power of the people. This fight is exhausting. This fight requires grit and grace and rest and joy. This fight is filled with as much righteous anger as love, and this fight is not new.

Folk need to stop acting like it’s surprising, or as if there is an easy win. We disrespect Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and so many others who fought before us, who fought for us, when we fall over and despair at the possibility of one loss — or when we think victory rests on one president.

Voting, protests, a presidential win? Those are a few strong legs of the many spiders required for revolution.

“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time,” John Lewis said in his last words. "People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.”


Across the country, business owners boarded up their windows in anticipation of looters and violence over the election results. People are vigilant about their things. But the violence that is racism, sexism, mass incarceration, police brutality, poverty, hunger, xenophobia, LGBTQ+ discrimination, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia? The list doesn’t end. People don’t understand the reality: America is violence.

America was always a lost country, crafting a Constitution of freedom and rights meant to benefit wealthy white men and punish everyone else. We cannot afford to be originalists. We cannot afford to preserve the Electoral College. We cannot afford a lack of health care and education. We cannot afford lawless police.

There is a human cost to America’s so-called greatness. It is time we protect each other the way we protect our things. It is time we understand the people we fight for, not just as the people in your house, in your family, in your circle, but as fellow humans, period.

This is the time we dig into ourselves and cling to one another and fight to find ourselves. This is the time to fight for the America we say we want, to fight for a new American face. It’s not sexy work, the scratching of one’s eyes out so we can actually see a new future.


I have hope. But I am not disillusioned. Maybe Biden wins. Maybe he loses. I believe freedom is something we fight to get. It’s something we fight to keep. It is not blue or red. The freedom fight, for better or worse, is forever.

Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at jenee.osterheldt@globe.com and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee.