They're Honking and Cheering in New York Because the Great Weight Has Lifted

Jack Holmes
·2-min read
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images

From Esquire

The people gather in the streets of New York, masks on their faces, cheering. The cars and the trucks go by, honking. The people are in the places where Broadway, that ancient and famous path, cuts through the grid and creates the places for people to gather: Union Square, Madison Square Park, Times Square, Columbus Circle. They are as close as they can be in this Biblical year, in all their stripes and creeds and colors. They’ve come together to celebrate that the great weight has lifted. The sound, finally allowed to escape, is deafening. It has been a nagging sensation in the back of the mind every second of every day, the presidency of Donald J. Trump, a native of these precincts who has renounced his place of birth and always represented the very worst of its greed and its narcissism anyway. The end of his reign on the American psyche is near, and the great weight has lifted.

For one glorious day in November, the 70-degree afternoon of November 7, we can dare to believe for just a little while that today will become tomorrow, not just another ugly rerun of the permanent present. On the day the 2020 elections began, I wondered if America might once again begin the process of becoming—to declare once again that it is not made, but in the making. As the people of this town take to their windows with pots and pans, cheering like it’s 7 p.m. in April, I find myself drinking the Kool-Aid again. Maybe, just maybe, this country might start moving once more towards what it’s always told itself it is. Maybe there are enough people who still believe in it for us to begin the work of making this nation a place worth living for more of our people.

Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images

For years now, it has felt as if we are losing something precious and irreplaceable every day, and we still are. There will be plenty of time to grapple with the scale of the problems we face, and with Joe Biden’s approach to them, and the many places he and his party and all the rest of us will come up short. But for one day, a day of redemption in the history of a democratic republic that has served as a monument to all the best and the worst instincts of the human race, we can lean back, take a breath, and laugh. Or let our eyes well up and the lump in our throats grow, as I did feeling the cheers in the street. The American Idea is alive, if not well. There is so much work to be done, but now we can begin again.

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