COVID Journals: A Visualization

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

I’m out on the streets on Capitol Hill, in Seattle. I don’t know the hour exactly. People are everywhere. Cars are honking. Fireworks are popping. The scene is unfettered revelry. I’m simply standing here, taking it all in.

Joe Biden has won the election, handing Donald Trump defeat in a suffocating landslide. Pundits say the win was by the largest margin in electoral history. Attendant with the Biden win is a crushing blue tsunami across all of Congress. Democrats maintained the House and now own the Senate. My brain is spinning from the numbers, but one thing is quite clear: We the people firmly reject Donald Trump, a complicit Republican party and the chaos of the past four years. The citizens of the United States left no ambiguity. We have, in essence, given Donald Trump the middle finger.

Music is pouring out of windows and open doors. More people are filling the streets. There is booming laughter, wild dancing and a palpable vibe of joy and relief. Nobody is a stranger tonight. We greet each other with friendly eye contact and hearty “hellos.” While COVID protocols have changed the way we celebrate, they have not hampered our enthusiasm. We’re roaring, soaring and over the moon. One check of my phone reveals that this scene is taking place in cities all across the country. It’s not dissimilar from when the hometown team wins a national championship, except this time, the party is collective. We all won and we’re out of our minds with intoxicating bliss. Finally, the four year grip of fear and depravity has loosened. We can breathe. We can think. We can heal.

We know there is still much work to do and that the weeks and months ahead will be difficult. We’ve managed to pull an egregiously imperfect democracy back from the edge of sure death. And while we can enjoy this victory, it’s only a first step. Our duty now is to create something better. We must rectify the damage done by colonialism, racism and unchecked capitalism and build a more perfect union that is rooted in equity, justice, compassion and truth. And there are still dark forces to address. We’re not naïve.

But for tonight, we celebrate. This victory is not only a rejection of hatred, corruption and greed but an affirmation of decency, empathy and fairness. Despite the relentless ugliness of the past four years, we’ve emerged with our humanity intact. We can exhale with the knowledge that when called upon, the majority did the right thing and that at the core, we the people are still fundamentally good.

I’m out on the streets in Seattle. The scene is unfettered revelry. I’m simply standing here, taking it all in.