Burlington’s Celebration of Biden’s Win

I was accidentally in Burlington when I heard the honking.


Photo taken at the Burlington Waterfront.

Saturday, November 7, three of my friends and I gathered at the park and ride in St. Albans, Vermont, about to have a shopping day in Burlington that we had been planning for a week. As we all packed into my car, we got notifications that Joe Biden had won the election, all of us immediately celebrating and cheering. After four days of anxiety and anticipation, we finally knew the results.

Our music blaring through the speakers, I drove into Burlington, only to hear loud honking. My friends and I immediately tried to figure out what was going on, thinking maybe something was wrong. As we got closer to Church Street, we saw people hanging out of their cars and cheering. We saw people standing out of their sunroofs, holding Black Lives Matter and Biden/Harris signs. Driving even closer, we noticed the group congregating at the end of Church Street.

So we parked in the parking garage and joined them. Mostly everyone was wearing masks, dancing, cheering, screaming at cars driving by. People in their cars cheered back, honking their horns as many times as they could. Someone handed me a Biden/Harris sign, and I held it high above my head, screaming at every car that drove by.

A sense of relief washed over me, as I’m sure it did for others in the crowd. This felt like the first time I wasn’t worried about something happening in the government, as I had been for the last four years.

2020 was the first time I was eligible to vote in a presidential election, something I had been waiting for since Trump was elected. I wanted to be a part of the reason he left office. 

As I held up my sign, whooping at the top of my lungs (later making me lose my voice), I looked into one woman’s car. She was alone in the car, smiling, wiping tears from her eyes. Upon looking at her, I felt the same response, my eyes starting to well up.

This wasn’t about who won the election. I mean, it was, and I would have been severely upset if it had gone the other way, but this was also about the sense of community in Burlington. People gathered together, wearing their masks, cheering with strangers, holding pride and Black Lives Matter flags. And it was a magical feeling.

A bulldog celebrates with its owner.

Although Saturday was a great day for democracy and celebration, we must also think about what is to come with Joe Biden’s election. He wasn’t my personal favorite of all of the Democratic nominees, and neither was Kamala Harris, as I was pulling for Andrew Yang. It is monumental that Harris is our first female vice president as well as our first vice president of color. I do still believe that Biden and Harris are a better option than Trump and Pence.

We must still be critical of Biden and Harris. Just because we support them, it does not mean we should be silent about the issues we care about. If Biden does something during his presidency that we do not agree with, we must still fight for our democracy. If we don’t, we will be hypocritical in our criticism of President Trump and his supporters.

Being critical does not mean we regret voting for them, either. We can offer solutions to our government without receiving criticism from others, saying that we should’ve voted for the other candidate.

We must continue to use our voices to make change in local, state, and federal governments, as well as standing up for what we believe in. Although the election is over, the need for change is not.