This past week, The United States underwent one of the most tense elections in our history. The probability of violence with the victory of either candidate was strong. Cities all across the country boarded up businesses, closed public spaces, and and even called in national guard support in fear of the violence which would ensue. The city of Boston, my home, was prepared to meet civil unrest unlike anything we had seen before. After an extensive five day process of counting ballots of both in person and mail in voters, a victor was finally decided.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Boston. The temperature was unseasonably warm. Residents of Boston had been closely watching the results in hope a winner would finally be announced. Around noon time on that Saturday, Joe Biden was named the winner of the United States Presidential election. For the first hour after that announcement, there was a bit of a pause. People weren’t sure what was to come. Were angry Trump supporters going to be causing trouble? Was the destruction the city had prepared for at hand? What transpired next, no one was prepared for. It started with a few zealous Biden supporters, dancing and celebrating out front of the Massachusetts Statehouse. As the day progressed the numbers grew exponentially. What went from an isolated celebration, turned to a party, then into something massive.
By roughly two o’clock in the afternoon, hundreds of thousands of people lined the Boston Commons. Though I am far from a Biden-Harris supporter, I felt I had to see the spectacle. My friends and I, who could hear the celebration from our dorm, walked to the Commons to see what was happening. Upon arrival, I was unsure if what I was witnessing was a political rally, or a Red Sox world series championship parade. There was a sea of people as far as I could see. Vendors handed out t-shirts saying “Trump Pence out now!!” Or much more vulgar slogans. Celebrants climbed street signs, and held up home made poster boards. A car parade passed, drivers honked their horns, blasted music, and held Biden-Harris signs out of their windows. Streets were blocked off to make room for the festivities. It was very reminiscent of a pre-covid world.
At first I was a bit shocked, for a few reasons. I personally didn’t see Biden as a particularly exciting candidate, so the celebration was a bit foreign to me. But what really was surprising to me was the disregard of Covid. Now I will preface this by saying, I personally have not had much fear of covid, but the same can not be said for many of my peers. Many of my friends who would refuse to go out to restaurants, movie theaters, or public gyms, and strongly reprimanded people for gathering flocked to this massive celebration. I guess that peoples’ love of Biden (or hatred of Trump) was strong enough to overcome whatever fear was present.
In my eyes this celebration carried much more significance than a simple rally. To me it signaled a change in attitude from the more left wing of our country. At this time, COVID cases have been on a steady rise nationally. Each day I read a new news headline about how we have set records for single day cases. Left leaning news outlets constantly reprimand Trump for his Covid response, and the American public for being antagonistic to State mandated restrictions. Yet what I saw on that day was those same people breaking their own dogma. Does this mean that the more progressive wing of the United States has had a shift in attitude towards the virus? Possibly, but no matter what the city of Boston as a collective will have to deal with whatever consequences come with an event of such magnitude.
I believe what we saw both in Boston, and nationally was a great example of the erosion of American political efficacy. Citizens on both sides of the political spectrum are becoming more and more fed up with government imposed restriction. Rather than trust the rule of government, citizens chose to celebrate and are prepared to accept the consequences that come with that. With a new president coming into power, I am curious to see if this trend of lack of trust in government will continue.