10:48 am, Thursday, November 5, 2020. The US elections were two days ago and we still don’t have a declared winner, but it looks like it will be Joe Biden.
Friends on social media and in conversations are talking about how shocked they are that almost half of their fellow Americans voted for Donald Trump. They have pivoted from being anxious about the election results to being anxious that they live in a country of—as they see it—racists, homophobes, misogynists, and people who think it’s okay to separate children from their parents and keep them in cages.
Many Trump voters are willing to overlook the many horrible things the Trump administration has done because he’s done one thing that benefits them. I saw half a dozen interviews prior to the election where a Trump supporter was explaining his or her vote thusly: “My retirement investments have done really well in the last four years, and that’s what matters to me.”
As someone on the cusp of retirement, I get it. But guess what—the stock market surged yesterday—the day after the election, with Joe Biden the presumptive winner. The stock market has seen growth in Republican and Democratic regimes. But people associate Republicans with “good for business and investments” and that’s hard to shake.
I’m glad my investments have grown, but I also know that fewer than half of all Americans have any investments at all. I don’t want to live in a country where “I got mine” while so many of my compatriots are losing their jobs, being evicted, or going bankrupt thanks to medical bills.
I remember the feeling of shock when George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004. I had volunteered a bit to support his opponent, John Kerry. Remember him? My fellow condo association owners hosted a Kerry for President house party. I think I did some door-to-door canvassing. I wasn’t too worried because, who in their right mind would vote for W again after he lied to us and invaded Afghanistan (which sort of made sense because that’s where Osama bin Laden was supposed to be hiding out) and Iraq (which made no sense).
Then he won! I was stunned. The worst part was—then as now—that 50.7% of my fellow citizens were okay with this moronic war monger (wars we are still embroiled in and will be paying for decades, I might add). In 2005 I put my belongings into storage and ran away to the UK and Ireland for a year. When you’re 4,000 miles away, the sins of your own country don’t feel so real. But that wasn’t a long-term solution, if I wanted to be part of the solution.
Trump makes Bush look like Mr. Rogers. Still, my advice to you if you’re experiencing presidential election shock and awe: Work on accepting reality. Acceptance doesn’t equal agreement or approval. But it will help keep your soul from dying and conserve your energy for the fight.
I worked a 15-hour day as an election judge. I live in a very blue collar precinct which is 67% people of color. A few of the 550 some voters remain vivid in my memory, like the elderly Puerto Rican woman who I helped to register. It took the assistance of three family members interpreting and running home to get documents to get it done.
A dude with a braided chin beard, sporting a Harley face mask and black leather chaps, sauntered in with a girl who appeared to be about 8 years old. She was a beautiful, charming child and we were all taken by her. We were surprised to see her come in again a few hours later, with another man. He looked like he had been spat out of a cement mixer, along with a dead cow. His clothes were filthy and splattered with what looked like blood. Did this girl have two dads, or was one grandpa and one her papa? Two uncles maybe? Were they child traffickers? Who did they vote for?! I wouldn’t assume. People are so complicated.
Meanwhile, Covid is wreaking havoc in my family. More on that next time.