I haven’t spoken to a single soul today who isn’t in some degree of concern, anxiety, fear, or panic about tomorrow’s U.S. election results. Me, I’m calmer than most. I’d say I’m more optimistic than most, except I’m not willing to jinx anything.
And here’s what I think, very personally. (I’d rather write this with Laurie, but she’s not available; we’re in this together but right now you get just me.)
Basically, tomorrow can go two ways in the United States (and let’s face it, what happens here will affect the entire world):
If it goes one way, we’re in the same fine mess we’re in now, living in the 2016 analog of Weimar, facing an emboldened white-nationalist segment which will have to be contained and dealt with. There will be much to hope for and look forward to, much to fear. As always, the more marginalized you are, the more you have to fear. Much work will remain to be done.
If it goes the other way, it will probably be cataclysmic. The emboldened white nationalists will have the government’s blessing. The reins of power will be handed over to the alt-right, to people with indefensible political, economic, and social beliefs and plans. Everything we rely on will be undermined, destabilized, put at risk.
Even the cataclysm (may it not come to pass!) will not be the end of the world, or even the end of the United States. We can expect for some very dark times. I categorically reject the concept that “heightening the contradictions,” a high-falutin way of saying “making people more miserable” is a defensible or smart way to bring about change.
I don’t have to believe in “heightening the contradictions” to embrace the belief that it is our task to take care of one other. In cataclysm, in despair, in hell, that job becomes far more intense, far more demanding. More of us will have to take it on. No number of us will be enough to protect anywhere near everyone, but each of us can do our part. While 2016 U.S. is not 1930s Weimar, and while no current U.S. presidential candidate is Adolf Hitler, nonetheless the American people may well be called upon to show ourselves on the historical stage, as the German people were in the mid-20th century. Another thing I don’t believe is that the outcome of that test was inevitable.
Although the two paths are so vastly divergent, so starkly in contrast, the task on November 9, when the votes are counted, is the same. We will each have to find our part, do our part, take care of one another, and be gentle with those who need care and unrelenting with those who need to be stopped.
Eve of destruction? Or not? Here’s what to do. Vote. Volunteer. Do something in your community today; it will make you feel better. And breathe.
Me, I’m on my way to staff the Election Protection hotlines (1-866-OURVOTE).