Well, well, well, here we go again. Right were we found ourselves four years ago. In 2016 the country waited to discover what our collective fate would be. We waited, to find out something we already new, deep down in each of our hearts, but refused to admit to ourselves. Must of us, anyway. That teh United States of America is just as racist today as it was 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. That white fear will always outweigh Black lives, and that sensationalism, lights, cameras, and a show, appeal to a large segment of the American population more than a level head and a will to do what is right. Even when it comes to politics.
Last election, drunk on hope and naivety, I was sure that Hilary Clinton would win. There would be a woman president, right after a Black one. I was incapable of imagining that I lived in a country where almost 50% of white women would vote for an alleged sexual predator and confirmed sexist, racist, and islamaphobic bigot, over themselves. The idea that racism ran that strong and deep was incomprehensible. That hope was a fire on that snippy fall day, come to block out the cold, but on Wednesday the country was a forest of anticipation, and the flames switched sides and burned us to the ground. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I cried, and I never want to feel that way again.
Elections have become anxiety cesspools. From the infuriating first 2020 presidential debate and Trumps sickening comments about immigrants at the second, to the Right’s illiterate and confusingly obvious attempts to gain Black and Immigrant votes with the adds plastered across my Youtube account, to the way I had to forbid myself from touching my phone until this morning (Wednesday) to prevent my self from having a panic attack.
That hope was a fire on that snippy fall day, come to block out the cold, but on Wednesday the country was a forest of anticipation, and the flames switched sides and burned us to the ground.
Doom is seductive, maybe that’s why it’s so hard to look away from it. Last night I didn’t watch any news coverage. Instead, after being reminded by friends, mentors, and Instagram posts that I am not required to torture myself, I took a shower, ate dinner, and watched Disney movies until I fell asleep on the couch. I didn’t check my phone. I didn’t open my computer. Instead I remembered this fact: the outcome will be the same, regardless of how many times I check the count, scroll through Instagram, or turn on the news. If bigotry is going to win, it will win with or without my approval. After all, I didn’t approve the first time.
Why do we live in a world where Biden winning against someone like Trump is not a hilariously obvious given?
With this attitude, I reclaimed some of my power. I put fate in the hands of the people and whatever God might be watching over us, and took the false responsibility of moderating off of my shoulders. I told my boyfriend not to tell me the outcome of the election until morning. But I sill dreamed about it. All night long. Sometimes Trump won, sometimes Biden won, but even when the later happened, I always felt intensely dissatisfied. Why do we live in a world where Biden winning against someone like Trump is not a hilariously obvious given? Why do I have nightmares about the other being a possibility? Becasue it is. And that’s tough to grasp for me.
This year was weaved out of anxiety and trauma. It is a tapestry of death, anger, violence, sadness and destruction. I am not opposed to it. The American people, the world as a whole, deserves, and should, and will continue to be angry. That is the proper response to injustice, and some things need to be destroyed. 2020 feels like a new beginning. A myth about change, some ancient story about how what must be moved will be moved, willingly or unwillingly. From the virus, which has exposed the incompetency of the American government, to the historical protests and riots which swept over the country after the unlawful deaths of Black people at the hands of the state, to the questions of education, hunger, homelessness, prison abolition, and workers rights which have been pushed into the forefront because of these tragedies. The story of this year is one of transformation. It never should have had to come to this, it did not have to come to this. But it did. Why do people always have to die for something must be done?
Now, the year is coming to an end, with the election of a president. More change, more change. And for many, it proves the most anxiety inducing event of them all. I wonder if my great grandmother ever though her country would be here. Choosing between a snake and a man as if somehow undecided. That, to me, is the most insulting thing about being American, and being able to trace my history back into the deep, dark claws of Jim Crow and the dirty south. Every day I’m alive is a day my neighbor may vote that the worth of my life is insignificant, undecided, or nonexistent. I shouldn’t have to feel that way. But I must, because it’s the truth, and unlike election night, I can not sleep through the rest of my life. Same as checking the polls wont make Biden win, not acknowledging a racist wont make them not one anymore.
So where do we go from here? This election will be the most important one of my life, I’m almost positive. It will prove whether or not the population and the people who represent it have the ability to vote for their country, instead of for themselves. It will prove whether or not white women are truly feminist, whether or not non-black people of color care about black people or understand their own plight in America, whether or not capitalism still reigns strong as it did one hundred years ago, and most importantly, whether or not a literal universal plague, has the ability to convince the white, the rich, and/or the healthy of the worth of all human lives, and the suppression of greater America.