Biden - Harris and us can change our world


This time last week I literally felt sick to stomach. I’d already been awake 6 hours having set my alarm for 3am with the hope that the new dawn would bring, well, a new dawn, a brave new world, with a Biden victory. But as news broke from the early US election results nothing could be further from that truth.

Pundits on the BBC election special radio programme had virtually written Biden off after he’d lost the State of Florida, a crucial swing state. A million things went through my mind as desperately tried to compute what was unfolding, but the overriding narrative I envisaged was that from today onward to be politically successful the ‘playbook’ dictates that: you have shed load of money that you can easly access; propagate lies, just keep lying, the more lies you tell the better, because they can’t keep up; divide and rule, really important- them against us will energise your base; - sack people with impunity, it’ll make you look strong; rubbish smaller countries dismiss poorer countries as ‘sh ..holes’; support other countries that are brutal; and don’t forget to nurture you homeland Far Right militia who’ll take to the streets whenever you call.

None of the above, by the way is an exaggeration.

If that wasn’t bad enough I felt the ramifications here would be profound. I, like many watched with disdain at one of Trump’s rallies when the Brexit architect and long time xenophobe Nigel Farage began fawning over Trump in some sycophantic dreamlike love affair that elevated Trump to a God like figure. It was gut wrenching as it was chilling. I also envisaged the Boris Johnson camp rubbing their hands with glee as the numbers came in. Let’s not forget their first instinct even before the votes were counted was to congratulate their man. It also seems that Johnson has often been guided by the Trump political play book, in particular fuelling the faux ‘culture war’, which ultimately pits white communities against Black communities, even when the Black Lives Matter historic moment demands that we have adult conversation about the 400 plus years of systemic racism and how it affects us today.

Johnson’s rush to ignore the facts often translates in a cynical ploy to to find people of African and Asian decent to do their bidding, you’ve heard them: “Stop making white people feel guilty about racism. Inequality’s your own fault.”

But then as the dust began to settle and the postal votes were being counted a different story was emerging: Two things to remember here. One, due to Covid, Joe Biden urged people to use postal voting to keep them safe. Given Trumps anti- mask, ‘Covid isn’t a serious problem, look I beat it’, the postal votes were always going to favour Biden. Trump knew this and demanding they be counted last so he could claim victory first, and then call foul on postal votes. But counted they were and democracy prevailed.

So by Saturday I and I guess hundreds of millions of people around the world had a collective sigh of relief when the slow count of postal ballots would finally mean the political end to of Donald Trump and the inexorable slide into full blown fascism.

By Sunday and Monday we could begin to laugh at the histrionics of Trump clinging on to power that had already slipped away, and at his dutiful sidekick, Rudy Giuliani, who was sounding more like Saddam Hussein’s spokesperson during the Iraq war, Comical Ali, remember him. As Bagdad was burning, he’d say “The American infidels will never put one boot on our soil. Never”.

And now having listened to both Joe Biden and in particular Kamala Harris we can begin to dream of a brighter future, a new world not just for the US but here and beyond.

In reality Biden- Harris could do more for race equality than Obama achieved. Timing is everything; the Black Lives Matter movement gives them both momentum and legitimacy. Furthermore, a powerful white anti-racist doesn’t have to apologise or be cautious about righting these wrongs.

Here in the UK Johnson would be wise to rethink his game plan. Pull back the race equality deniers who would not only ignore the historic moment, but would gladly take us back to a time where BAME individuals were reminded daily –still happens now-‘ to know your (inferior ) place in society’.

Nobody within Black communities is expecting a post racial world anytime soon, but a Biden –Harris administration along with global Black Lives Matter movement can expect a programme of change that will not only tell truer histories and how it affects us today but also tear down the barriers that will begin to unleash talent and build a more equal and cohesive society.

So today I’m hopeful and excited about the potential that is laid before us.

Simon Woolley