A preface to this blog: As I was turning these thoughts over in my head and contemplating the value of goodness and hope and how light finds a way, I stubbed my toe. I yelled “Fuck it all!” at no one in my empty house, out loud. The Dalai Lama, I am not. All this is to say, consider your sources of inspiration. Read this, don’t read this. It’s mostly just a way of trying to wrangle some sanity in my noggin headed into the next week. I’ve got impressionable kids that mirror my behavior back to me and this summer has been kind of ugly. I really need to keep it together.
If Trump wins.
I was just having this conversation the other day with a colleague, talking about how I just can’t bring myself to schedule anything on November 4th, mostly because I am terrified I will be in bed, under my covers, refusing to come up for air. The notion of Sir Orange Face being re-elected has the capacity to set off my stomach acid. And, you know, you try to whisper to yourself the word. “Hope.” You can hear it, in the corner of your brain, where logic resides and is checking FiveThirtyEight every 15 minutes.
Every time I open myself up to the possibility that our long national nightmare could possssibly be coming to a close (and by that I mean we’ll have a hefty lift in front of us, but at least we don’t have to listen to the insanity anymore), I relive Election Day 2016. Voting that morning, just so incredibly excited that I was going to go to bed that night having helped to elect the first woman to the highest office. Excited to be rid of that year’s campaign equivalent of Voldemort.
As the day lagged on, and results started coming in, and THAT MAN’s face kept popping up as the winner of a state, my husband tried humor, which is always been a lifesaver, tapping into the Ghostbusters reboot as a distraction. Can’t watch it to this day. Such a trigger. Takes me right back to that feeling of dread and ultimately despair.
People do not believe me when I say this, but I swear on a stack of Stephen King, the reason I have a dog is that I did in fact suffer from temporary insanity after that election. I was not myself. I went out and got the biggest, scariest dog on the block and now will suffer the consequences of homing an anti-social beast that possesses the power to remove a limb from any stranger in our home, for years to come, all because I lost my mind for about a week.
The psychological scarring is real. And I can only *hope* that there are more like me out there, just plain staying quiet because it’s too painful to acknowledge that hope, knowing how devastating it was four years ago.
I’ve already been told I cannot get another dog.
I can’t lose it again. But I know I will.
So I wanted to put together an intentional list of things that won’t change if Trump wins. I need something tangible to point to on Wednesday morning if it feels like the country has punched a ticket for a bullet train to Hell. Here goes:
- The sun will still rise. Climate change will face another four-year fight for legitimacy and long term damage will result. But in the short term, the sun is going to come up again. The moon will follow. Seasons will still appear. There will be leaves on the trees next spring. The long, dark winter will eventually give way. COVID may force masks on our faces, but we will be able to get outside again.
- My family will still need me. A Trump win may force me to shut down momentarily, but my young adult children will still need advice and guidance. What’s the right washer setting? How do I get wine out of the carpet? Should I include my summer job on my resume? Is a tomato a serving of fruit or vegetable? There will always be questions to answer. Always a hug to reciprocate.
- “Anchorman” will still be funny. As mentioned above, I’m big on humor. If Trump wins, I’ll be leaning in, in a big way, on all the things that make me laugh. “Best In Show.” “Talledega Nights.” John Mulaney and Patton Oswalt standup. Reruns of Parks and Rec and Schitt’s Creek. Trump can win, but he can’t take away the things that make you smile.
- My.damn.dog. It’s on me. I am the one that bought him. And he is still going to need a walk every morning. And honestly, that walk, that exercise, that chance just to be out in the air in the silence, has been (mostly) calming. And allows me to eat Ghiradelli squares pretty much every day without feeling too guilty.
- I can still bury my head in a book. Sure, maybe I will lose my job because Trump continues to drive the economy into the ground. And maybe libraries will close due to lack of funding. But I’ve got shelves full. I have a TBR stack that could conceivably last months if not longer. And I’ve got friends who have books. We can book swap all day long.
- New Music Fridays. We’ve got a group chat going at work where we share new music each week. Introduced them to Post Sex Nachos this week. It’s the little things.
- My newfound perspective on what I need versus what I want. COVID and the subsequent mitigation tactics have made small changes to my perception on what I can and can’t live without. Oh, I’m still shopping. But I’m thinking a lot harder about those choices. I don’t really need new winter clothes for work when I’m only seen from shoulders up on Zoom. But a fun hair color or comfy pajama pants? Sign me up! And oh my God, where would I be without my sourdough obsession? If not for the pandemic and associated election anxiety, I might not have taken up baking every weekend. Trump may win, but he can’t take Kamala the Sourdough Starter away from me.
- Chocolate will still taste good and wine shopping based on cute labels will still be possible. Until the aforementioned job loss. Then there will still be Two Buck Chuck.
- A hot bath is still a hot bath and so are foot massages from a spouse. Like the chocolate and wine and funny movies, self-care is still a thing and I know I’m going to have to focus hard on making those choices instead of wallowing. Putting on some music, lighting a candle and creating a spa experience isn’t going to keep Don from grifting the American taxpayer ($3 for a glass of water? The fuck?) but it will keep me from crossing the line with a Trumpian coworker or the MAGA head in line in front of me at the gas station.
- I’ll still love the Cubs and the Blackhawks and even the Bears and the definitely of course the Spartans. Doesn’t matter who is in the White House, my loyalties run deep. I can still count on a college basketball game to make me swear like a trucker or scream “Go Green!”
I know these are little things and big things and none of them will make a dent when it comes to people dying from a virus, children being locked in cages, systemic racism going unchecked and poverty rates on the rise. But I also know that no one is down for the long haul and the good fight if we’re all throwing in the towel on Election Night/Week/Month. Find your list of little things and big things and keep it handy if Trump wins.
And maybe let yourself hope out loud just a little bit.
And vote. VOTE.