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A black voter in Biden realized her vote could help him become president

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – She made sure her sons voted and her daughter voted, and she constantly pressed her friends and people in the grocery stores. “Did you go to the polls?” Cynthia Kendrick asked them over and over, and in the last hours she said to her procrastinating daughter-in-law, “Come on, let’s go.”

She drove to a polling point in the library, her last attempt to bring out every Democratic vote she could vote in the corner of Atlanta’s Fulton County, and now the vote Finished, she sat in front of the television to find out what kind of country she lives in.

“Turn it on, darling,”

; she said to her husband, Gabriel, a disabled veteran who sat next to her in their home in the East Point African-American community, where the voting lines were long. and the enthusiasm was so high that at one polling station, volunteers cheered as the last stepped through the door to vote on Tuesday night.

Volunteers and local officials outside a polling station in East Point on Election Day. (Roopa Gogineni for The Washington Post)

“Please, God,” Cynthia said now, leaning over as a CNN employee began talking about Georgia.

“Georgia seems to be letting Trump run away from her money,” said the anchor.

Cynthia replied, “My mind is spinning all over the place.

She thought about what Joe Biden’s victory meant: “In terms of pure clones, he can be related to us. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has compassion. This morning I saw where he went to the graves of his children ”.

She thought about what President Trump’s victory meant: “We will become a white supremacy nation. We are going back to the pre-civil era. We’re set up for that. “

“Georgia, too close to call,” said the anchor. “North Carolina, too close to call.”

She is 60 years old, working in the industry and in the center of a large family of six older children, including a teacher, a soldier, an account representative for a credit card company, a The nurse, a heavy equipment operator, and the youngest, Chance, a college student, was now walking through the front door – through the word “love” Cynthia had already written on the wall – and entered the room. guest, where she hangs posters of jazz musicians and tries to make her home, a welcoming place that values ​​family, responsibility and all the things she’s trying to keep. Believe that her country is also valued.

Cynthia watched the results of the election with her son Chance on Wednesday. (Roopa Gogineni for The Washington Post)

“Who wins?” Vaughn’s son, who operates the heavy equipment, calls from the kitchen table.

“Still the same,” she called back.

“Are you finished?” she asked Chance.

Chance said: “That’s right,” said Chance, who drove a friend for four hours to vote in Tennessee where he was registered, then drove him back, and now he sits. in the living room see the results.

Cynthia said: “Okay, darling,” Cynthia said, going back to television, where the host said, “In Michigan, Trump leads … In Ohio, Biden is first,” and she tried not to think. about four more years of getting up every morning asking, “God, what have Trumpers been up to now?”

It was Trump and everything happened to him. Charlottesville. The boys are proud. An old white classmate who was comfortable lecturing her about how black men were killed by the police because they were misbehaving. It was the White woman in the grocery store who spoke racist words until Cynthia finally said, “You know you’re not under Secret Service protection, do you?” It was a clip she watched over the weekend of a bus in Biden surrounded by Trump supporters on a Texas highway, all forcing her to look back at beautiful memories of her childhood. when her grandparents took her to vote at an event. hall in New Orleans in November 1964.

She was always focused on certain details: her grandfather polished his tanned shoes the night before, her grandmother wore a gray suit and floral embroidered corset, and all the pride and ability to be possessed in the moment. engraved that.

Now her mind was focused on the rest: The dog droppings that a white man threw at them as they exited the hall. The black man opened fire in the air. The rifle that her grandfather used to hold while sitting on the porch at night.

Sunset at East Point. (Roopa Gogineni for The Washington Post)

She reconsidered a Trump victory: “I was considering carrying a gun. I went to the shooting range. I am beginning to feel we need to be able to protect ourselves. I have to protect my family. I think he wants to start a civil war.

She turned to another news channel, where Trump’s face filled the screen. She switched to another channel. She flipped through the phone and read aloud the results to her husband. Louisiana, Trump. Alabama, Trump.

“How many people think this man qualifies?” Cynthia asked.

Gabriel said, “That’s too much, honey,” Gabriel said, deciding to go to bed to avoid further stress, and right after that, Vaughn went to bed, and Chance went to bed, and only Cynthia was still awake in the house. East Point house. , an African-American woman among the millions of African-American women whose Democrats have always depended on at times like this, and who listened as an anchor said, “You see Georgia here.”

“Oh, my God,” Cynthia said.

“And we have the Fulton District here – Democrats will need something huge out of the metro area,” the anchor continued, just roughly where she was sitting in the bright light of the television. near midnight. Instead of staying up for another hour to imagine all the scenarios Trump could try to steal the election, she took half a sleeping pill and tried to go to bed.

But she couldn’t, not immediately. She found herself thinking about the night of 2016 when she went to bed and woke up with Trump. She thought of the fences currently installed around the White House and the plywood that covered the storefronts of downtown Atlanta, and she soothed herself by telling herself what she always did: ” We will survive. We will continue our lives. “

Cynthia makes her morning coffee before going to work on Thursday. (Roopa Gogineni for The Washington Post)

She wakes up on Wednesdays and tries to do it. She went to work. She went to the gym to relieve stress. She went home and went back to the couch. Chance sat next to her.

“Georgia,” said the anchors.

Cynthia put on her glasses. She leaned forward.

The president’s lead is shrinking, and now analysts are talking about Trump filing a lawsuit to stop counting votes.

“Will they stop counting votes?” Chance asked, sounding skeptical.

Cynthia told him it was only Trump’s “desperate tactic” when she realized that whatever Trump could claim was becoming less and less important in America. What matters is what the map is showing on her TV screen, and now those maps are zoomed back in Georgia, then zoomed further to Atlanta, then further down to Fulton County. , and now a split screen is showing a live video of the workers counting the votes.

“Oh my God,” Cynthia said, realizing that it was Chance’s vote, and Vaughn’s vote, and daughter-in-law’s vote, and her husband’s vote, and her own vote could put Biden in. The White House.

She started to feel herself relaxed, and as Trump’s lead narrowed even more, she relaxed a bit more, and as the anchors continued to talk about what seemed to be going on, she found herself saying the most hopeful thing she’d said in four years: “It’s over.”

A jazz artist performs outside a polling place in East Point on Election Day. (Roopa Gogineni for The Washington Post)

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