It’s Election Day in the United States. I voted early. Maybe you did too. Maybe you plan to vote today. I have to say–if you were to vote in only one election during your lifetime, this would be the one. I’m nobody, but what voice I have I intend to use.
Will we see a transformed version of American democracy, a disappointing return to the status quo, or a precipitous drop into totalitarianism? We must wait and see.
Be patient. We’re not going to know the result of this election immediately upon the close of polling sites. We’re probably not going to know tomorrow either. We should all be skeptical of any reports of a clear winner tonight. It could take days–several days.
Counting absentee/mail-in ballots takes time; it’s a painstaking process involving the physical handling of tons of paper according to strict procedure. Despite past notable exceptions, including my home state of Florida, the United States is good at this. Be patient.
If 2016 taught us anything about elections, it’s not to trust polls, pundits, or talking heads. I would have wagered against a ridiculous clown of a man winning the presidency against a former senator and cabinet member, and all the prevailing wisdom assured me I was correct to scoff at the prospect of a Trump victory. But the anachronistic Electoral College reared its ugly head, and here we are. We’ve suffered four years of divisive rhetoric, overt corruption, nepotism, racist legislation, militarized xenophobia, science denial, and the staggering incompetence that has killed more Americans than the Civil War as a result of Trump’s use of bluster, hubris, and con-man handwavium in the place of science to manage a global pandemic.
What was it Ronald Reagan once asked us? “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
If you’re reading this on November 3rd, you can still vote. In many states, though not Florida, you can even register and vote today. Don’t sit this one out as so many did in 2016. Don’t write in a candidate or waste your vote on one who literally cannot win. The choice has never been more clear–it’s democracy vs. whatever dystopian hell Trump might lead us to.
I’m optimistic. This is our chance to rise “out of the huts of history’s shame.” We can remake America into something better. I’m not interested in a pre-Trump America. I want a better country for all of us. We don’t have to agree on everything–an impossible outcome–but if we’re going to survive as a nation, we have to once again become the United States of America. We have to move forward, despite the attacks and resistance of the minority of us who thrives on hate and division. And we have to do that no matter the outcome of this election. What we choose as a nation today will determine how difficult that’s going to be.
At this point, I’m not going to convince anyone of anything. But I’ll say it anyway–if you haven’t done so, vote for decency and democracy in–for the moment–the most influential country in the world. What happens here determines a lot more than what goes on inside our own borders.
Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for America, and the world. I strongly believe this is the only opportunity we’ll ever have to vote him out, and the entire world is watching.
This is where I take a deep breath and give in to my optimism. It’s going to be ok. Americans will rise to this historic challenge. We always have.
So now we wait. Take a walk. Meditate. Pray. Exercise. Have a drink. If you have a loved one nearby, hold on to their hand.