Ever since the week following the 2016 election, I’ve been hearing people talk about being burned out. Just being completely exhausted from everything and feeling on the verge of giving up, and needing to take a step back and turn things off and do some self-care, and hopefully get back in the game.
I didn’t feel that burn out. That isn’t to say there weren’t times when I felt there wasn’t any hope left, since there certainly were, especially throughout 2020, but I never reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t keep going. Every new bit of news just fed my fire, made me angrier, and told me that I needed to continue pushing on. That I could continue pushing on.
I don’t think this is the healthiest way to feel, and it certainly isn’t a condemnation of people who needed to take breathers for their sanity. But what is most important right now is that while people are celebrating in the streets, I finally feel the exhaustion.
It’s not an exhaustion of what’s happening. What’s happening is good, actually. We stepped up and told fascism ‘not today!’ And I understand why a lot of people aren’t happy with this outcome, either. I’m not a hard Biden-Harris stan myself, and I’m pissed at how dirty the media did Bernie by refusing to even mention his name when he was leading in the polls, but it is important to remember what the alternative option was. There was 0 chance that a third party or write in candidate was going to win this year, which meant that if we didn’t turn out for Biden, Trump would have won.
For people who feel the urge to say ‘well fine, the country deserves what it asks for — ‘ Trust me. I’ve had moments of feeling that way, too. America has done a lot of horrible things both to its own people and to the rest of the world over the decades. America has committed genocide on more than one occasion. America has failed the people living within the United States and the territories of the United States. America is not good…but it could be.
Giving up means abandoning all of the people who have fought those things and are currently fighting those things. It also abandons all the children who haven’t even had a chance yet.
Biden and Harris are a step towards a right direction because they will prevent the collapse of all the good parts of America. We shouldn’t have to be voting this defensively, but this is where we currently are. This is the current reality. With them, we might well have a future to fight for.
So my exhaustion isn’t with them, or with their winning, or even with the fight ahead. I’m actually excited to keep going.
My exhaustion today is just all of that burn out I didn’t feel before catching up with me. Its an exhaustion born from relief. Step one has been completed. Sure, we have 99 more steps to go, but step one was a giant hurtle, and we made it.
We can rest today.
We can celebrate today.
We can celebrate by resting today.
Then we get to roll up our sleeves and keep working tomorrow, because we aren’t done yet.