As soon as Joe Biden had just been sworn in on the suddenly sunny Washington morning, the noises came through the window I’m keeping half-open in frozen north Manhattan, awaiting the vaccine he promised. There was shouting, applause, honking and even a brief booze in favor, like what we did every night in our early forties.
An informal consultation on Twitter revealed that different moments made Brazilian fans cry. It was Lady Gaga’s voice. Or the historic possession of Kamala Harris. Or the sound of words spoken by the tender poet Amanda Gorman. Not to mention Joe Biden’s speech, which insists on detecting a thread of national unity throughout history.
My tears, I admit, were caused by a memory, that of the night of November 8, 2016, covering the scoring and defeat of Hillary Clinton. When the cell phone battery ran out at dawn, I walked down the stairs to the metro station and have not been able to recharge my energy for the past four years.
Since November 7, when the 65% of Americans who believe in arithmetic and facts learned of the 2020 election result, family and friends in Brazil began to express their joy, relief and hope at the to what they see as the end of a nightmare.
Even before the Capitol invasion, I was jealous of these optimists.
It is not possible to live and support the last four years by profession without fear. It’s not the present, concrete fear that I experienced upon arriving here, I took the wrong bus to take a 5 year old to the Bronx Zoo, and I watched in panic every time the door opened at a neighborhood stop that reminded me of the end of a bombing raid, plus the needles of crack syringes.
That fear vanished when New York City emerged from the drug epidemic and became the nation’s safest metropolis in the 21st century, and today it’s an abstract and present fear that made me take small precautions as a foreign citizen.
It is a fear that I did not know because I was a child when men in olive green uniforms occupied Rio de Janeiro. But also because terrible news has been covered up, like that of the young son of a close family who disappeared and was returned to a sealed coffin.
No, the military did not kidnap young Americans. The US military, for the most part, fortunately, is disgusted with the depravity we have seen over the past four years. If we look at the threats that this oldest constitutional democracy suffered, it was the institutional bureaucracy, pockets of patriots in the civil service, in the courts, in the barracks that piled the sandbags against the fascist tsunami. It was not the cowardly elected politicians of the legislature who took the risk.
Over four years ago, I wrote this cry of “fascism!” with the emergence of Donald Trump, it was a leftist pose. I was also right that anyone who predicted MySpace would dominate social media in this century.
Joe Biden has vowed to stand up for the Americans who did not vote for him, the Americans who looted Congress and called for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence. The best way to protect the 74 million people who voted for criminal Donald Trump is to use his power now. Biden has a good chance of losing the legislative majority in November 2022. There is no time to waste.
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