SHEER ELATION consumed the Boston Common on Saturday afternoon as more than 1,000 people danced and cheered Joe Biden’s election as president. Kamala Harris, who made history as the first woman, black, or person of South Asian descent to be elected vice president, was celebrated on several signs.
Screams of glee rose from the crowd whenever a US Postal Service truck drove by. Sometimes the driver would honk back. Cars, motorcycles, and trucks slowly inched along, windows wide as drivers blasted music, honked horns, and waved, often blocking traffic.
One masked woman climbed atop a street light and remained there, waving a Biden flag and dancing, as the sun went down. A young man climbed atop another and popped open a bottle of champagne, spraying the crowded, which cheered and egged him on.
A little girl sat atop of her father’s shoulder’s clutching a filled-in electoral map with “Biden Won!” written on it. Queen’s “We are the Champions” was sung, along with Miley Cyrus’s “Party in USA.”
Others stood silently behind masks, simply holding signs. Andrea Cavazos was holding one that read, “Immigrants, we get the job done,” a phrase that has been shared widely by the cast of the musical “Hamilton” during Trump’s first term to counter his anti-immigrant policies.
“I didn’t trust him handling COVID,” Cavazos said about Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Cavazos, who is Mexican-American, said she has been worried for years about the many executive orders Trump has issued to alter immigration policy.
“Everything —DACA, the asylum policies, separating families at the border, those are all things Biden can change with executive powers,“ said Cavazos, who used to work with legal aid organizations assisting immigrants.
David Wells whizzed up Charles St. on a longboard, holding a boom box high above his head to applause.
“As a black and gay man, you don’t always feel represented in this country,” he said.
Wells said that he’s been frustrated by the lack of White House response following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers. “Trump barely said anything about Floyd and we saw that man get murdered,” he said.
The longtime South Boston resident has spent the week nervously refreshing Google for word of the election outcome.
“I cried a little bit when I saw,” he said, he said of news that the race had been called. “First off, now we have our first black female vice president,” he said, “Second— I don’t have to say President Trump much longer.”
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Earlier in front of the State House, a very different scene played out, as angry, unmasked supporters of President Trump protested the declaration that Joe Biden is now the president-elect.
A crowd of 50 to 100 people chanted of “law and order” over and over.
“It’s ille–gal, it’s ille–gal,” cried a woman disputing Biden’s election.
Joan, who refused to give her last name, called the election result illegitimate because of “voting irregularities” in Milwaukee and Pennsylvania, picking up on unfounded claims made by Trump of voter fraud.
“Several of the precincts had more Democratic votes than voters registered,” she said. The claim that seven Milwaukee wards reported more 2020 presidential votes than registered voters has been disproven.
Nearby, a man with a black Gun & Roses T-shirt and no mask interrupted an interview with her and yelled, “The media declared him the winner and the media lies!”
Asked if she would accept Biden as president if he were to survive any recounts and legal battles, Joan said, “What I believe is going happen is that Trump’s going to win, because right now, we’re losing our rights under election law.”
A man in a black Audi rolled by, holding up his middle finger to those gathered as a few Trump supporters held up theirs, while others flashed peace signs and others. The driver waved a mask at them as they yelled back. Nearby, people from both sides got within inches of each other’s faces yelling at each other before one man kneeled in front of the Trump supporters, holding up a gay pride flag.
A woman yelled “Donald Trump is my president” and “voter ID!” in his ear.