The moment that most sane humans have been fervently praying for for the last four years has finally arrived. After an interminable period of watching numbers fail to move, more "Key Race alerts than I've had hot dinners, and much marvelling at the seemingly iron constitutions of all at CNN, the news was finally confirmed. And lo there was much rejoicing across the land.
You'll have your own favourite bit, no doubt, Personally for me it's a toss-up between Nigel Farage losing a ten grand bet and the hilariously shambolic, bathetic ending, where a confused Rudy Giuliani, thinking he'd booked the Four Seasons Hotel for a press conference, stood blinking in the car-park of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, between a crematorium and a shop selling dildoes.
I am not by any stretch much of a US politics nerd. I know that most UK politics fans have a slightly dorky obsession over the US process which probably stems from watching too much West Wing, but it's something I've only kept a tangential eye on. Until this one, this one really mattered (not that the other didn't, but what with the US withdrawing from the Paris climate Agreement as well as the WHO, this one mattered more than most). And so I, along with millions of others have been glued to it, because a second Trump term would, without wishing to be hyperbolic, have been pretty much the end of the world, or at the very least an acceleration of the process.
The way he's ridden roughshod over political norms over the last four years, sowing discord and destruction with every tweet, driving the US towards a grim authoritarianism, empowering racists, fomenting hatred, shattering international norms has been appalling enough in itself. His conduct since the result has only served to compound these crimes, scorching earth and tearing down structures with every lie-filled tweet. If he can't have it, nobody can. He was, without exception the most ill-equipped man to hold the Presidency in its history (and yes, I know James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson are routinely rated the worst, Nixon was also a criminal, and Reagan was criminal AND senile. Trump's worse). I'd rather Boris Johnson had the job, that's how bad he was.
So, whoever the Democrats put up, I was always going to want them to win. I know that Biden wasn't the most exciting candidate, I know he's a centrist, I know that he is essentially a continuation of the status quo which prepared the ground for vast disenfranchisement of people, I know that the neoliberal consensus which started in the eighties and has come to be the overriding political philosophy of my lifetime has proven ineffective, and contributed to worsening inequality worldwide. I know all this. I'm still glad Biden won.
Within seconds of the victory being claimed the usual caveats were being added, the usual sniping began. All the charges outlined above were being levelled, generally from the perpetually arsey end of the left. In fairness, I often count myself one of their number. But I'm not so obsessed with ideological purity that I'm not going to stop and enjoy the moment. It was like when Starmer won the leadership of the Labour Party, the rump Corbynistas were on the attack straight away. And you're forced to wonder, what will make you happy? Can you not just stop for five minutes? It was as if it were a race to be the first person to declare themselves dissatisfied.
I'm definitely to the left of Biden (and Starmer too, for that matter). That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy his victory. Because in stopping Trump, he's done the world a favour. So there will be a time to criticise, and a time to disagree, and yes, a time just to plain have a go. But it's not now. Not yet. Let us enjoy it for five minutes, yeah?