If you feel happy but shattered this weekend, know that you're not alone.

I should be drunk. I should be in some dive bar on the lower east side surrounded by my rowdy friends celebrating what feels like the fall of a nascent dictatorship.

Actually forget that, I should be asleep. I should be in bed falling into the first untroubled sleep I've had since Donald Trump and Bill Barr ordered U.S. troops in combat gear to face off against protestors on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Masked military police assemble at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Credit: Getty

Masked military police assemble at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Credit: Getty

Now that what President-elect Joe Biden calls “our long national nightmare” is coming to an end I feel like I could use a good week off, or better still two weeks off. In a windswept cottage on Inishmaan perhaps. Somewhere remote and far from politics. 

Because even the election to end the Trump presidency has felt like a life-defining ordeal: face masks, social distancing, the threat of coronavirus, meaning postal ballots for many, then the seemingly endless counts and the network's strange hesitation to call it ever.

So if you feel happy but shattered this weekend, know that you're not alone.

almost feels like the end of a war

— Laura Rozen (@lrozen) November 8, 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020, the longed-for day that the Biden presidency was finally announced, was an uncommonly beautiful day in New York City. It was 72 degrees in Central Park and the fall foliage was so colorful it took the breath away.

On my way to the park I heard cars honking and people applauding and then I saw something that I have never seen before in the city in all the years I've lived here, a black military looking Hummer with tinted widows with a huge flag that spelled out White Supremacy and another flag with the stars and stripes, but not red, white and blue ones, instead one that were blacked out and repurposed with darker more muted colors, to demonstrate they only meant freedom for some.

The neo-nazis inside of the Hummer were giving a one fingered salute to whoever passed them, which on Lexington and 60th Street happened to be me and a thirty-something Black man.

I was so shocked I turned and asked him if he had seen them too? “This is what worries me,” he told me. “They were beaten today, but they won't accept it. And I worry they'll do worse than that soon,” he said. 

Hearing him say he feared worse to come, and soon, was not the balm I was looking for but better to look reality square in the face than pretend the work ahead will be easy. There was too much damage, too much danger, for that to be true. 

Credit: RollingNews

Credit: RollingNews

The Trump years have been two things in particular: sinister and stupid. They were sinister in their increasing authoritarianism and stupid in their clumsy execution.

But there may come a time soon when a smarter, more capable agent employs the Trumpian tear-up-democracy playbook more effectively. If these years have taught us anything it's that we can never take our democracy, or democratic norms, for granted ever again.

When I reached the Great Lawn in Central Park there was an air of celebration and deep sense of release. Thousands of people were cheering and applauding intermittently. It felt like a late summer party, but the predominant expression seemed to be one of relief. 

If your defeat leads to a global celebration, that's your first clue your leadership was greatly unloved. It is hard to imagine that the Trump's will ever live in New York City again, now that what looked like the whole of Manhattan was cracking champagne bottles over the end of their participation in national politics.

Love that other countries are celebrating Trump losing like we defeated the mothership in Independence Day https://t.co/26syZhOTlZ

— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) November 7, 2020

Trump reportedly has no plans to concede. That's hilarious. The nation has already saved him the trouble. Hopefully Jared will be able to spell it out for him soon.

As I watched the 46 president-elect Joe Biden address the American people with a focus and urgency that has long missing for our national politics, it was already clear to me that – however many struggles we have ahead for the soul of our nation – we have won the first and greatest already.