Two days left. As much as I’m trying not to pay attention to the hateful rhetoric, polls, constant news stories and chatter, it’s dominating every part of my life. I have the news on constantly, I’m always on Twitter, and I have every website up that posts poll numbers. I’m also ashamed to say that I have turned into John King Jr, running every possible scenario of the electoral map there could possibly be.
Four score and seven years ago, I used to write about politics for my university newspaper as a hobby since I was an English major and because I genuinely enjoyed politics. Now I’m obsessed with every aspect of the process. Not out of curiosity of how the final days of a campaign works, for example when I was glued to the TV watching the documentary “By the People” following the historic campaign of Barack Obama or when I engaged in rigorous yet respectful debates with my Republican friends about which purple states would go blue and why. Instead, the obsession is based purely on fear.
Fear of four more years of this disastrous, hateful, racist, pathetic administration and their cult like followers. Moreover, what the effects of the re-election of this dictator will have on America not just for four years but for decades to come. His hate speech has already emboldened his base and there is unfortunately little doubt that no matter which way this election goes there will be some fallout.
My anxiety lies is how long will the fallout the last? No matter what side wins, there will be a loss temporarily, although we know in the long run it’s a win. There is a chance to rebound and get us on the right track, but at what cost? There will be casualties, and not just from COVID (that he so casually ignored and has not contained) but from his cult like followers who believe everything he says no matter what facts and logic to the contrary. Racism is expensive. It’s going to cost us lives and freedom.
What keeps me awake at night as I watch stories of his supporters attempting to run a campaign bus off the road, taking to the streets in shows of “support” and his words becoming more and more desperate in casting doubts on election results, is that he is willing to sacrifice his followers to boost his ego. If leaving them out in the cold (literally) wasn’t enough of an indication, he will cheer them on in their faces at rallies and deny it in interviews when he’s supposed to be Presidential. The behavior reminds me of another infamous dictator that I will decline to name, and we all know how that turned out. Whether you think the comparison is fair or not is debatable but one thing is certain, it was not without consequences. On both sides. History has taught us that to overcome hurdles inequality there will be civil unrest. My anxiety is wrought in that fact and who will be lost in the process. In the end, it didn’t have to be this way. Or maybe it did. The truth is America has long existed on this notion of “justice and liberty for all” but we all know that wasn’t truly the case.
For the first time in my lifetime I’m hearing the terms systemic racism and black lives matter being uttered by politicians. Maybe it had to take all of this to get us here. But will it work? Will we get to the other side and actually see the justice system changed? Again, that’s where my anxiety comes in. I see in fighting among black people who can’t agree how to get to the end game. Some are putting aside their blackness to side with the oppressor because of tax breaks, disagreements about defunding the police, etc. Will we be able to come together to meet our goals?
And in the midst of all this, life still has to go on. We all have to work side by side with people we know don’t believe in the causes that define our existence. They post pictures of their babies, complain about looting and worry about their 401k’s while we worry about our babies being killed for holding toy guns, our fundamental rights being taken away and being paid equally for the same work. We’ve had to reevaluate friendships because while money and politics may be taboo to talk about at work you should be able to discuss this with friends. Lately, it has become a breaking point for many people. Myself included. I’ve had to distance if not cut myself off from people altogether who continue to support someone who is so clearly hateful. There is nothing wrong with having friends with differing opinions but racism is not simply a difference of opinion. It’s a core value. And if you uphold hatred of people of color, we can’t be friends. Period.
Tuesday will be a day for the history books. I don’t even know if we will know who wins that night. I just pray it doesn’t go to the Supreme Court. A part of me wants to know Tuesday so the bandaid can be ripped off, and we can move on to the next stage of whatever this is. However, I do know the importance of counting every single vote. Everyone has mobilized in historic numbers and it’s been beautiful to see. Regardless of the voter suppression tactics and intimidation, there has been some sunshine among the rain. Young people have been out in force, fighting for their future. Their voting numbers are off the charts and that gives me some hope. So, I will hold on to that while I pace around the house for the next 48 hours and hope for the best.