The Moments Following The Presidential Election Results

Alysa Grillo, Writer

     In the weeks before the election, many people, including members of our school community, committed their time to helping their preferred candidate win. Ms. Pilleralla, an English teacher at Curtis, worked as a phone banker. “I was feeling depressed that I hadn’t done anything besides donating money to help my preferred candidate to get elected, so I answered an appeal to do phone banking to Florida voters. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was! One woman was on the fence and just asked me to run through issues one by one to see if I could ‘win her over’. Some people felt like it all boiled down to whether or not they had to wear masks. Others were so rabidly pro one candidate or the other that nothing that I was going to say would sway them, but their enthusiasm was really encouraging.” During the election, some even worked in the polls; counting votes and making sure the democratic process ran smoothly nationwide. Greer Gerney, a senior, was one of those people. “My experience as a poll worker during the November election was great. I was surprised to find such a large element of community at the polling site where I worked; many of the people I met had been doing poll work for years and were very welcoming. I initially decided to participate in the election through poll work because I was unable to vote myself.” Although the pandemic has made volunteering and engaging in politics more difficult, many have still got involved in a way that worked best for them. Later, on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, the U.S. Congress certified the Electoral College votes that gave Joe Biden his presidential victory in the November Presidential Election. On that same day, the results of the senate runoffs in Georgia declared Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s first black senator, and Jon Ossoff as the new members of the US Senate, defeating their Republican opponents, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. This victory also overturned the Republican majority in the Senate, establishing a Democratic majority and Republican minority. 

     During the election certification, proceedings came to a sudden halt to evacuate members of Congress when a group of Pro-Trump and other right-wing groups breached the Capitol with the hopes of changing the election’s outcome. After an afternoon of chaos, Capitol police, with the help of the national guard, were able to disperse the mob and regain control of Capitol Hill. By the end of the riot, 5 people, including a Capitol police officer, were dead. 

     Amidst a historical year of protests and political tensions, this event has sparked discussion across the nation. Back in Curtis, many students observed that the treatment of the riots by law enforcement was drastically different from that of the Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer. One sophomore, Alexis Pacheco, said, “We feel invisible. The definition of invisible is being unable to be seen. However, to be racially invisible is different, particularly. Racial invisibility is a term I created to define the way that minorities are overlooked and ignored. When they see us protesting, they see the damage done to a building and they see us as angry people who are threats. They don’t see us fighting for change. We are overshadowed and forgotten about because of the white man’s privilege. Their privilege makes it excusable for them to do what they did and go back to work the next day with little to no repercussions.” Another sophomore, Julia Estrella, expressed her shock towards the disorder. “I knew the president had some people who would back him up, but I didn’t think they were this crazy. I am kind of scared and I wonder how far they’re willing to go.” Others in the school also felt that Donald Trump, the president at the time, played a major role in encouraging the riot by asserting that the election was rigged, despite all evidence proving otherwise, and with his rally just hours prior. “Donald Trump had a huge part to play in this. Without his tweets and his spread of lies, it probably would have never happened”, said Amanda Rivera, a sophomore.

     Days after the insurrection, Donald Trump was impeached for the second time by the U.S. House of Representatives on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.” The house voted 232-197. This is the first time in history that a president has been impeached not once, but twice. Soon after, Trump was also permanently suspended on Twitter and other social media platforms for “encouraging violence.” On January 13th, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York, Trump’s native city, will terminate its three contracts with the Trump organization. Even with a new administration in power, it is still to be determined what the long-term effects of Donald Trump’s legacy in US History will be. One thing is certain though: the recent election, the certification, and the Storming of the Capitol have certainly solidified themselves as some of the most significant and historical events of the new year.