“Where were you when…?”
There are events that so significant, so momentous, that they sear themselves into the psyche. I say ‘sear’, because these moments are often negative events, such as the Challenger explosion, or 9/11, but these events can also be positive, such as the first person on the moon, or the one that happened yesterday morning, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election being called for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris.
For us, this was a momentous and significant occasion. We had been on tenterhooks for days, perhaps for years, ever since the unexpected upset of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump in 2016. The presidency of Donald Trump was an exhausting one, with endless breaking of norms, rampant illegality, and cruelty.
We had an endlessly raging sense that this was not normal, and it was difficult to focus on other things, when there could be a new evil or stupid thing being done each day or week, that could potentially harm thousands or millions of people. Earlier in the week, it had become clear that barring a catastrophe, Biden would win the election, so my tension level had gone down significantly (especially when it became obvious that Fox News and the Bush/Rubio wing of the Republican party would not support such an illegal seizure of power as Trump was contemplating).
But it still felt odd, and somehow wrong, to focus on other projects until this was well and done. The actual calling of this election for Biden was an important step on this road to normalcy, and perhaps also an indication that we could take our eye off the ball and relax for just a second…
For us, this happened when we were out in the wilderness, in one of our favourite spots, when S’s watch buzzed, and showed us the following message:
…indicating that the newpaper(s) of record were now willing to put their credibility behind the fact that Biden was going to win this election.
We expressed our happiness a little bit, and then immediately wanted to check which state it was that had made the difference, and it turns out that it had indeed been Pennsylvania, as had been suspected all along:
While looking at this map, we encountered some other people coming the opposite way on the trail, and perhaps cathartically, or just to have some human connection to share this experience, I made hand motions and cheered, to which they replied that they had also just heard.
Admittedly, people who drive to an art gallery in the wilderness so that they can go walking on a trail will tend towards certain demographics, but it is telling that within minutes, we all knew this most significant bit of news, suggesting how much everyone around the world was on tenterhooks.
Here’s hoping that we remember this moment as a turning point. Keep pushing my friends, this is not over yet.
 (It feels like there’s a whole book to be written about why all of my positive examples (and many of my negative ones) have to do with space flight/exploration/travel…probably having something to do with space travel representing all of humanity working together to solve a problem…a super-poignant one for me was the landing of ‘Curiosity’, I remember exactly where I was, and how verklempt I was that this little robot had gone so far (560 million km, to land so exactly (within 2.4km), and they cared so much about it that they had altered the orbit of the Odyssey orbiter (not done trivially) so that they could check on Curiosity immediately after landing…There are also probably comments about how the advent of television makes these moments possible, such that all of humanity can experience something in real time, and so viscerally through the visual medium.)
 It will remain to be seen whether this moment is as changing of the course of history/presaging a new era as the other ones mentioned. For the sake of the planet, we hope so.
 The election was officially held on the Tuesday, and it was finally called on the Saturday morning.
 (The link is people dancing on and around a car to the tune ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, along with commentary that contrary to when this song is normally heard (endlessly in retail areas in the month(s) leading up to Christmas), it was actually pleasurable, and led to people being verklempt, because of the incredible catharsis and sense of relief: “this was the first time i heard this song in 2020 and it was absolutely the best possible occasion
 Remember, there are two senate runoff elections happening in Georgia that will decide things like how much healthcare Americans get for decades to come, and there is still the ‘lame duck’ session where Trump will have some power to cause damage. There will likely be an unimaginable amount of money flowing into that election, and the most incredible GOTV campaign that you can imagine, both of which you can help with.
 fivethirtyeight.com had given a 36.6% chance that Pennsylvania would be the tipping point in this election, but that was the chance of Pennsylvania being the one state that was closest to the edge, once all the votes were counted, which has not been determined yet. But being the state that pushed the ‘called count’ over is probably good enough for Gritty fans.
 A tiny capsule, flying through the immense void of space, carrying so many of humanity’s hopes and dreams with it, and trying so hard to do its job as best it can…