November 4, 2020.
The day after Election Day.
I continue to insist that I’m not anxious about the election, yet I was drawn to write on the verge of tears.
If I’m honest, my eyes have filled –– and overflowed –– with tears more than once during the last 24-hour news cycle. And it’s not because I’m checking the news and it’s not because I’m not reporting on this moment in history. It’s because I know that if I check the numbers, they will be too close.
Too close for comfort.
Too close for democracy.
Too close for human rights to be upheld.
Too close for Americans to continue preaching that this is the best country in the world.
Because if that was the truth, we wouldn’t be voting for “the lesser of two evils.” We wouldn’t be choosing between two men accused of sexual assault. I wouldn’t be forced to vote for a man who has made the women I know uncomfortable in his presence, a man who relies on reciting his speeches in Q&As as a warmup before he goes on stage, a man who shouted his disdain toward China at a university full of international students.
Seriously, Joe? Know your crowd.
And as much as I joke and push aside my worries, I feel them churning deep in my stomach. I’m forced to remember that they’re all still there.
They remind me that it’s harder to ignore the problems that feel too big, too ugly, too powerful to overcome than it is to ignore that which is truly gone.
And this country has a history of ignoring those who are
Like the children who have died on American land. Those who sat in cages at the border, torn from their families, stripped of their rights, until their small frail bodies couldn’t handle the “living” conditions anymore.
And the people who were murdered by countless white men at schools, churches, concerts, nightclubs. And I’m talking about the domestic terrorists, not the police.
But now that I’ve introduced them into this space, let us take another moment to mourn the lives lost at the hands of reckless, racist, repugnant police officers. But let it not be a moment of silence. Let it be a moment of sorrow that rocks you to your core, that compels you to erupt with sobs that heave your body and leave you feeling as weak as the protections for black people, indigenous people, people of color in America and as drained as the resources of inner city school districts.
Let us also remember the women. Those who lost their lives at the hands of abusers who have been consistently validated by the man the American people voted into office. Remember those women whose stories were never believed and whose existence was viewed as a grand inconvenience rather than a beautiful collaboration of softness and strength. Or those women who may still be here physically, but whose souls left their bodies after the hands of a so-called doctor ripped away not just their reproductive rights, but their reproductive organs directly from their bodies while they were physically unable to stop him.
Or the lives lost during this pandemic. The pandemic that our president insisted was never really that bad. The pandemic that separated families, not only temporarily but permanently as well. The pandemic that forced our mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends to die alone in hospitals that were never properly equipped to treat them, not because we didn’t have the resources, but because they were pawned off to the highest bidder.
And every single immigrant who fought their way to the United States of America looking for solace, refuge, safety, but who were forced to leave, to “go back to where they came from,” out of white Americans’ fear of the unfamiliar within this great melting pot of a nation.
We are continuously forced to remember the lives lost because we continuously fail to protect them while they’re here.
I am constantly torn between feeding myself and tearing off my own limbs to feed this world.
Because sitting back and “filling my cup” is feeling a lot like taking water from the thirsty. It’s like binge eating in front of starving children, or throwing rolls of paper towels to hurricane survivors instead of providing the relief that they need.
I know that the weight of this world is too heavy for my shoulders alone. But does that mean I should step away from it completely?
The child within me still believes we can elicit change. That, “If we all stand together, none of us can fall.”
But the cynic inside knows that we have the chance to create change right now, and even so, the polls are still too close.
Too close to call.
Too close to depend on.
Too close to believe that the people I know actually voted for change.
Too close to hope that the good will prevail.
And while I bask in my “ignorance is bliss” approach during the election that could change it all, I feel my anxiety bubbling up in my stomach like the brew of a witch’s cauldron. As the thick black substance seeps up into my lungs, suffocating me until it pours over, only one thought is on my mind:
The revolution has begun.