For once I was actually looking forward to our hour-long session and felt a flash of irrational anger towards her for forcing me to think of her as an actual person rather than a sounding board on this of all days. The day before Election Day itself had been fairly calm. I cannot actually vote here yet, so I went about my truncated pandemic schedule with only slightly more manic dread than usual. I actively avoided reading articles by blind oracles predicting point margins in necrotic states online, mostly because I still haven’t forgiven them for getting it so wrong last election.
By the evening I was still calm, other than the teeth-grinding that I ignored. I made myself some dinner and was about to sink into some procedural crime-show when I accidentally checked my mail just as some of the results began rolling in. The pundits appeared pleasingly chastened, giving cautiously vague predictions always attached to the caveat that millions of mail-in votes – which have gone from bit parts to starring leads in this pandemic circus – had yet to be counted so the final results were likely days away. New York was already blue on some maps, but that’s usually always the case, and I ignored my heart palpitations as I drifted off to a rocky sleep. Seven hours of homicidal nightmares gave me a clue that my subconscious wasn’t on talking terms with me, and I woke up restless and fatigued at 6 am.
It’s never a good idea to check your phone first thing in the morning but part of me had hoped that the whole thing was over, that maybe, just maybe, everything was pretending to be better again.
It wasn’t. How could it be in an election in which we’re choosing between two septuagenarians, while being told by the left that their candidate is better because at least he’s been charged with fewer sexual assault allegations than the other guy? Neither stands for the large, progressive strides this world needs, and so we are caught between a rock and a poisoned orange bomb. It’s depressing. I tried to avoid Twitter as always, where nearly everyone goes ALL CAPS at the whisper of elections, and skipped Facebook altogether. But even a cursory look at the newspaper apps to check the weather was enough to send me spiraling.
That after four years of the most openly racist, bigoted, xenophobic, untruthful, bitter, and nasty governments since the Nazis, half of this self-proclaimed democracy finds none out those things problematic in their president is more disheartening than I imagined it would be. It’s lots of things actually - appalling, disgusting, infuriating, bewildering, even depressing
As of writing this, we do not know who will win. It could be that by the time you read this the Americans would have elected Biden, and there would be a constricted sigh of relief from saner people. It could also be that the racists won and re-elected Trump, in which case most of New York and L.A will be very put out while the world straps in. But there is also the fact that as of now this election is still a nail-biter, and above all, that hurts. That after four years of the most openly racist, bigoted, xenophobic, untruthful, bitter, and nasty governments since the Nazis, half of this self-proclaimed democracy finds none out those things problematic in their president is more disheartening than I imagined it would be. It’s lots of things actually - appalling, disgusting, infuriating, bewildering, even depressing. But it’s not surprising. Latinos voting for Trump to deliver him Florida after his robust campaign to dehumanize South American migrants is no more surprising to me than the scores of immigrant desis who voted for Brexit.
Even if Biden wins the nomination – and few things scare me more than Trump with two months in the White House with nothing left to lose – this country is not only divided, but broken. Because despite not reading the news, despite keeping away from political talk shows, and despite my delusion of disinterest, a small but vital part of me was hopeful that a resounding defeat of Trump would be a declaration to authoritarianism, fascist regimes all around the world, even if only symbolically.
But it’s not. Whatever else it is, its not that, and nothing is more depressing than hopelessness. I must make a note to tell my therapist that – when she’s back on her meds.
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