BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
Hundreds had been expected to pour into Columbus Circle on Saturday afternoon for a scheduled protest calling on all votes in the 2020 presidential race to be counted.
And then, major news outlets called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden — and suddenly, New York City full of celebration.
From the Barclays Center in Brooklyn over Washington Square Park to Columbus Circle in Manhattan, where New Yorkers initially were supposed to gather for a rally and march demanding that all votes be counted, people celebrated the end of the Trump administration.
New Yorkers in Columbus Circle chanted, “You’re about to lose your job” as they waved American flags, a symbol of American pride that had been seemingly hijacked by the right for far too long.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams addressed the excited crowd of hundreds of New Yorkers.
“Let’s gives us a moment to celebrate that the fascist Nazi is out of here,” Williams said on the defeat of President Trupm. He gave a shoutout to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be the first female vice-president and the first South Asian-American and African-American vice-president.
He admitted that the Biden/Harris ticket was not his first choice, but “I want to lift up Kamala Harris. For what she means to women, for what she means to South-Asian women, for what she means to black women in this country.”
Williams also reminded everyone that there is a long road ahead and to make sure that “the new dude” is not going to do anything crazy either.
“All we want to do is stop the bleeding,” Williams emphasized, “that does not mean that there is not a lot of pain and hurt going on. And I am not convinced that Biden is going to do all the things we want him to do if we don’t stay in these streets.”
Williams also addressed the 70 million Americans who voted for Trump.
“They looked at the past four years and said, ‘I want more of that,'” he noted.
But instead of criticizing or booing those voters, Williams showed compassion and urged that Americans need to find a way to figure out what those voters are going through and what compelled them to vote for Trump.
“I’m not talking about the straight bigot Nazi. I’m talking about the people that thought that racism or nazism was not enough for them to vote against him.” he continued, “but there is a pain there that we can connect to cause nobody is talking to these folks. We have to be able to show what a farmer in New York has connected to a black trans woman in New York. If we can make that connection, we are going to be alright.”
He pointed out that racism and bigotry has always been part of America. But he also took solace in the 75 million Americans who voted for Biden.
Williams said, “You know what else has always been American? The 75 motherf—ing million people who came out and said ‘No more’. That is also part of America; that is the part of America I am proud to be a part of; that is the part of America that has always said we reject bigotry. That America, that said no to slavery, that said no to internment camps, that America that stood up and said ‘No More’ to an orange tyrant who now has to leave the White House, a big crying a baby.”