Honestly, either way the election goes, Nov. 9, 2016 is going to be a release of tension. Elections stress me out. This one is no different. But it is worse.
Since the spring, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, my heart racing. I’ve spent whole days in a straight jacket of anxiety and stress. In our house, the name Donald Trump is off limits. I even tore the cover off an issue of the Atlantic, because having his face on my coffee table made me nauseous. The uncertainty of this election haunts my nights and days.
I’m what liberal pundits label a “bed-wetter.” Even as Trump seems to plummet in the polls, I find no comfort.
November 3, 2015, Matt Bevin—a carpet-bagging “Tea-Partier” from Connecticut—beat gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway in a landslide victory for Governor of Kentucky. Almost 9 points. All the way up to that election, he was given little chance of victory. In one year, his inflicted damage has been extensive.
June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom held a national referendum to decide whether or not to leave the European Union. Brexit was a thinly veiled alt-right nationalist movement reacting to a major influx of immigrants and refugees (of varying ethnicities) into the U.K. Its passage was a major shock to most of the political punditry, even if it wasn’t necessarily a problem of polling projection accuracy. Today, the Pound is down as low as it’s been in 30 years, Britain has no Prime Minister, the parliament is asking for foreigner registration, and international business is fleeing as fast as its money can carry it.
Forgive me if I continue my Depends regimen.
The nastier this election gets, the greater my anxiety. The more confident the pollsters, the faster my chest pounds at 4:30 in the morning for reasons. The deeper I ponder the possibility of a Trump Administration, the more the veneer of comic book dystopia becomes a permanent haze. The hope I had eight years ago is shifting into a deep sobriety of the duty I have to do my part in protecting this world from those who seek to do it harm.
The thing is, before that time comes, it’s only a rhetorical exercise—at least for those of us who have spent our lives sheltered from such imminent political and cultural strife. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the time in which these considerations, these defining moments of cultural character, will soon be laid bare. In fact, it already has, and for many, it has been all along.
It certainly feels like the undeniable moment of truth will be on that Tuesday. On that day, we’ll know. And either way the election goes, our actions and words will matter more than they ever have.
Until then, I’ll keep waking up at 4:30a not so much afraid of who will be elected on the eighth, but of who I will have to be on the ninth.