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Biden won, but we’re far from done

I’m not a very emotional person, but I must admit, I cried a little when CNN projected Biden’s victory.

I’d been staying up until 4 a.m. every night watching the votes trickle in, and I started to forget what life was like before the election began. Four-and-a-half days of my life were consumed by it.

And then, all of a sudden, it was over. We’d voted Trump out.

As I browse social media, I see how much this victory means to many people, especially those belonging to the marginalized groups that Trump victimized throughout his entire term. Seeing the pure happiness and hope these folks are experiencing makes my heart soar.

But I’ve also seen the opposite trend simultaneously evolving on social media. 

People are calling for recounts in every battleground state. They’re claiming the whole election was fraudulent, and many are straight-up refusing to accept the results.

This alone is an indication that we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Many liberals have stressed the importance of getting Trump out of office at all costs, and now that they’ve achieved that, they’re ready to sit back, relax and put the chaotic election season behind them. It’s hard to blame them, as it’s indeed been a rough few months.

The problem, though, is that voting Trump out was the easy part. The hard part, which will likely take years, is getting rid of the residual effects of his presidency.

Over the past four years, Trump has developed a large, incredibly loyal following. These folks worship the president like a deity, despite his numerous sexual assault allegations, two divorces and many infidelities.

Much like Trump is extremely different from the typical Republican politician, Trump’s most vehement supporters are extremely different from the typical Republicans. They don’t listen to reason — instead, they take everything Trump says as fact and live in an alternate universe of lunacy.

Removing their dear leader from office isn’t going to make these people see the light. Doing that will require many, many tough conversations.

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Admit it, my fellow white folks: You have at least one person like that in your family — a racist granny, an uncle who’s always complaining about immigrants or a brother who uses “gay” as an insult.

Contrary to what you may believe, it’s on us, not folks from the communities these people’s words and actions are hurting, to call this behavior out and make it clear that it won’t be tolerated. It may be hard to admit, but we are the problem. We are the reason Trump won in 2016, and we’re the reason this year’s election was stunningly close.

If you’re a white woman, like me, you may think you’re pretty “woke” because you voted for Biden and went to a Black Lives Matter protest over the summer. But 55% of our fellow white women voted for Trump. If you’re not sitting down and talking with the ladies in your life that are part of that 55%, you’re part of the problem.

If you’re college-educated, you may think you’re smarter and better than the less-educated folks that voted for Trump. But, did you know that college-educated whites voted for Biden and Trump equally — 49% for each? Are you actively confronting the fact that a huge portion of your graduating class likely voted for Trump? If not, you’re part of the problem.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, are you prepared to start a full-on war with your racist family members when politics inevitably gets brought up? If not, you’re part of the problem. I’m dead serious.

We cannot simply accept the results of this election and move on with our lives as if all is well. We need to be just as diligent in opposing Trumpism in the years ahead as we were during his presidency.

Have those tough conversations, and embrace the discomfort they bring. Don’t listen to your parents when they scold you for “making everything political,” because some people’s entire livelihoods have become political under Trump’s leadership. And, most of all, keep holding your elected officials accountable, even if they’re Democrats.

After all, the original mantra was “settle for Biden,” not “praise Biden’s every move because at least he isn’t Trump.”

We’ve officially settled, and now it’s time to move forward.