Madrid: Democrats aren’t our healers or our saviors. We have to do that ourselves.

I admit it. Last week’s Democratic victory speeches choked me up. Several times. A historic political step for women of color with a splash of unity talk made for a perfect cocktail. I joined the echoes of cheers worldwide at President Donald Trump’s defeat, albeit by a small margin.

President-elect Joe Biden called for a season to heal. These were words that soothed in comparison to Trump’s usual jabber jaw hate. But before we heal, we need a serious detox.

Our country begins its descent from four belligerent years of irresponsible national management. The aftermath competes with the worst of frat parties — racist behinds exposed in the daylight, and stinky chunks of disinformation spewed everywhere.

The extreme orange-spray-tan dude who poured bottom shelf vodka into mouths at the party is missing. He won’t stick around to help the cleanup efforts either.

Everyone’s exhausted, parched and dizzy. Hungover is an understatement. Under these conditions, the Democratic-elects sound like a tall glass of water. But history tells us that they aren’t the absolute oasis we seek. No one party is here to save us.

Now that the election elation has faded, the season of healing rhetoric feels like hype. The Democratic Party will not deliver the transformational healing we all deserve. The true power of healing lives among us, but so does the poison.

Exit polls reveal an uncomfortable but not surprising close repeat of 2016. Young people of color, Black women, and those identified by one media outlet as “something else,” saved this election. In Colorado, there was a whopping 70% youth voter turnout. TikTok that!

And of course, white people showed up for Trump again. As reported by the New York Times, 61% of white men and 55% of white women showed up for Trump this year. That’s more than half of all white women — you all stress me out.  Latinos and Hispanic Republicans who aligned with Trump also grew this election.

That last fact is the painful one. Here’s where the healing can apply. Sometimes healing takes on a cathartic deluge, like screaming into a pillow, or howling after stubbing a pinkie toe, or playing rappers YG and the late Nipsey Hussle’s song  “(expletive) Donald Trump” on endless repeat.

Sometimes it’s an unexpected interaction, like a surrender text from a family member who is a staunch Trump supporter. We both agree that whoever holds power in the highest office should be accountable. A somewhat hypocritical idea coming from him, since Trump was never held to the same scrutiny.

Without Trump’s antics, there’s a possibility the majority will lose political interest. It might become easier for terrible policy to fly right under the radar. This election brings historic moments for celebrations, but it’s still open for criticism.

In October, the Pew Research Center data showed the majority of Biden and Trump supporters wanted a candidate who focused on the needs of all Americans. That’s 89% and 86% respectively. Biden ran on serving all Americans, but does that include those harmed by his tough-on-crime legislation back in the 1990s? Time will tell if the captain-save-a-nation rhetoric includes us all, including those incarcerated (including the children in cages too).

Kamala Harris is the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president. It is monumental. But will police impunity wane under the self-professed “top cop?” Probably not.

Here at home, Senator-elect John Hickenlooper beat Sen. Cory Gardner by a landslide. Hickenlooper is a bridge-builder who bases legislative decisions on evidence and his conscience. But will he stay true to his conservation platform? Or will profitability shift his priorities?

Again, only time will tell. The true healing of our nation is a long journey. It will come from the people, not political wishing.

Along with healing, reaching across the aisle has been a central Democratic point. This is not enough to close the gaping divide Trump has exposed and incited. We now occupy two opposing cliff sides of Grand Canyon proportions. America has a cavernous wound that politics cannot heal.

Physical wounds scab over. They remodel new tissue and eventually scar over stronger. What about the invisible lesion to the psyche we’ve sustained? A blow to our nation’s cohesion, the toxin lodged in the core of America? Those take longer to heal, and party-affiliation is not the antidote.

For now, we must nurse this national political hangover. There’s no denying the challenge it will take to heal, especially when the poison remains long after the party is over.

Mimi Madrid is a Denver-raised writer who has worked in non-profits serving youth, LGBTQ, and Latinx communities.

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