By Catherine Connors

Four years ago, in the days before the 2016 election, the mood felt not just cautiously optimistic, but cautiously jubilant. Despite a carnival show of an election season, it seemed nearly certain that we were about to celebrate the election of the first female President of the United States.

Some of us, of course, were holding pretty tightly onto that sense of caution. Even though it seemed unlikely that Donald Trump might prevail over Hillary Clinton, it wasn’t impossible. Any woman who had ever witnessed a mediocre man being elevated above an extraordinary woman — or experienced it herself — knew the cold, dark truth: a victory for Donald Trump would be an utterly ordinary, commonplace occurrence on the deeply sexist timeline of white patriarchy.

Still. A day or two before the election I took a photo of my daughter wearing an “I’m With Her” t-shirt and doing a power pose, arms flexed like a warrior. I thought, “this time will be different.” And when I posted that photo to Instagram on election day, I believed it. It would be different. We were going to witness history being made.

The copy from that Instagram post: “Today we’re going to see the first female president of the United States get elected. Today the landscape of girls’ futures is going to get wider. Today is the start of a whole new bright tomorrow. #electionday #makethefuture #likeagirl”

And of course, we did witness history being made. It’s just that it was the same old white patriarchal history, doing what it does best: protecting and preserving itself, making and remaking itself in its own image.

History may well do the same thing again this time around: protect the worst of itself. It may protect racism and nationalism, hatred and fear, misogyny and oppression, boots on necks. We shouldn’t be surprised if it does. Many of us won’t be surprised if it does.

But we will also know this: that we fought against it, hard. And we will continue to fight.

We will continue to fight even if there’s a Biden | Harris victory, because we will need to continue to fight. White patriarchal history is a stubborn old monster, and it’s not going to cede ground just because one racist misogynist is booted from public office. It’s rarely ceded ground in the past.

But this isn’t the past — this is the future. And this future has all the energy and force of the many, many millions of fierce hearts and brave spirits fighting for a better world. Extend that across the globe, and it’s billions. It’s a force to be reckoned with. WE are a force to be reckoned with.

As we go into these last few days before the US election, let’s remember that. And then let’s remember it the day after, and the day after that, and all the days to come.

— Catherine

No newsletter next week!

The US election is not the only thing going on in the world, but next week it will be an overwhelming thing, and we expect to have our hearts and minds full with the work of processing whatever happens on November 3.

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