NASHVILLE — for at the very least a week before Election Day, ns was as well anxious to focus. Donald trump card was running a re-election project founded in lies, and I had actually no belief that my fellow Americans would certainly throw him out. The polls were reassuring, however I no reassured. Polls to be reassuring in 2016, too, and also this country still ended up in one abusive partnership with the most corrupt and dangerous president of mine lifetime.

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I had actually no faith, however I held out hope. The ubiquity the the anti-Trump ads produced by The Lincoln Project, a group of Republican operatives endorsing Joe Biden, gave me hope. A change of heart in so numerous of mine conservative friend — dislike by Mr. Trump’s greed and also deception and also boorish behavior, disgusted by his unsure subservience to foreign despots, his encouragement of outrageous conspiracy theories, his commitment to his very own interests and also no one else’s — provided me hope. Above all, the massive registration and also get-out-the-vote effort in black communities across the nation gave me hope. Adjust was in the waiting — I might feel it. An uprising to be upon us. A good repudiation was at hand.

A arrangement for include the pandemic was lastly coming. A serious reckoning v climate change, a fair technique to immigration, criminal righteousness reform, a solid health care safety net, a renewed emphasis on voting civil liberties — all all of sudden possible.

On choice night ns was quadruple-screening the coverage — The times on my laptop, PBS on our television, Twitter on my iPad, fifty percent a dozen message threads going with friends on my phone — and also the news kept obtaining grimmer and also grimmer. “This is precisely the means I felt 4 years ago,” my brother texted as at an early stage results came in.

But it no the way I felt four years ago. This time i felt far, much worse.

People have actually had four years now to discover out just how truly terrible Mr. Trump card is. How indifferent that is come the standards of polite discourse and to the responsibilities of democracy itself. How transparently racist he is, how divisive, exactly how selfish. We know he’s a chronic liar who, when caught out, just doubles under on the lie. We understand that he is making use of the levers of government to enrich himself. We know he delights in and also urges top top the most violent impulses that his many dangerous followers. We understand he has let 237,000 Americans dice on his watch and also still has no setup for conserving the remainder of us.

The numbers together of Sunday revealed that much more than 71 million human being voted for him anyway — eight million more 보다 voted because that him in 2016.

Yes, there’s immense relief in understanding that Mr. Biden has actually won the presidency and also that reclaiming the Senate is tho possible. And, yes, there are hopeful indicators of change, even here in the American South. In Georgia the count continues, but voters there show up to have flipped their red state to blue. And also last week, Alabama voters approved one amendment the would begin the process of removing racism language native the state Constitution. Mississippi voters approved a brand-new state flag, one the no longer functions the Confederate battle emblem. And also for the an initial time ever, lawmakers indigenous the L.G.B.T.Q. Neighborhood — one Democrat and one Republican — will certainly serve in the Tennessee general Assembly.

I nothing discount for one instant the progression such news represents, and also I commemorated as joyfully as anyone as soon as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. I commemorated their win, and I celebrated the resilience of our democracy. I celebrated the possibility to appropriate so countless of the wrong that have actually been done during the last four years. Mr. Biden have the right to do an huge amount that good, also if he end up having actually to perform it there is no the Senate.

But the 71 million people who voted because that Donald Trump despite his incompetence, regardless of his lying, his bullying, his cheating, his racism, despite all the moral failings he proudly flaunts together virtues? Those people aren’t walk anywhere, the poison-spewing right-wing media that created them isn’t going anywhere, and Donald Trump himself isn’t walk anywhere. And also it’s no remotely clean what the remainder of us have the right to do about any the that.

In a decided on Saturday night, Mr. Biden go what Mr. Trump refuse to do in 2016: He acknowledged the world who did not vote for him: “To those who voted because that President Trump, I know your disappointment tonight,” the told them. “I’ve lost a pair of vote myself. But now, let’s provide each various other a chance.”

It to be the best thing come say, the only feasible thing come say in ~ the end of a brutal fight won by the barest the margins. Yet it’s difficult to imagine world wearing shirts the say, “Make liberals Cry Again” offering the new president-elect even half a chance. Mr. Biden had a front-row chair to the obstructionist agenda of republic in Congress throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, and it’s hard to think things will be any kind of different for him. This is just what we space now: a country divided by a schism much more stalwart and also enduring than any border wall.

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On Tuesday night, once I thought all to be lost, the grief that the past four years was appropriate there, spilling out in hot tears. I feel that very same grief now, next by side with the joy I feel at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. The is a good gift to watch a future full of possibility again. Yet the reality that 71 million world voted for Donald Trump should be, for everyone who voted because that Mr. Biden, a cause for profound and pervasive grief. Ns don’t understand if this nation can ever be healed, but I do know that world whose hearts are full of grief have no room left because that hatred. And that can be a location to start.

Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and society in the American South. She is the writer of the book “Late Migrations: A Natural history of Love and Loss.”