Well, here we are, friends! It's November 7th. We have one more day before we all decide who is going to lead our country for the next 4 years. It's a big deal. It's an important deal. It's both the election of a new Commander in Chief of the most powerful country in the world, and it's become a de facto referendum on our nation's culture. Are we bullies, or are we reasonable people? Are we impulsive, venal pussy-grabbers, or are we a nation of hyper-prepared, competent, pantsuited super women?
Heck yeah, we all held the pen and voted for the first woman president together.
And that red thing under my Evil Queen's left hand? It's a plush human heart. OF COURSE IT IS.
OK. I may have tipped my hand as to who I voted for with that last line. And the caption of the photo above. And with every cell of my being. But keep reading, Republican readers,* the rest of the post applies to you, too.
It's been a brutal election season. The primaries were vicious, and the Main Event even more so. I'm fucking exhausted, and I was never even on the front lines of campaigning, canvassing, and calling. Oh, no, friends. I have been the worst kind of slacktivist who hides behind a computer screen and makes words at mostly friendly people and maybe sends a modest sum to support campaigns that represent my values. I am the worst kind of lazy talker. And even I, the worst, am exhausted. The constant barrage of bile, the Facebook fights, the nonsense of the opposing candidate's splenetic, frenetic, pathetic polemics,** I mean, shit. Even a mouthy coward like me can start to feel that tension, antagonism, and fear take a personal, physical toll.
I don't think it's any kind of coincidence that I'm sick as a dog right now. I don't think it's a coincidence that all my friends are, too. And that we've had migraines, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety these past few weeks. This election has been stressful, and that tension has been building to such a dramatic peak that it's no wonder we're all just spewing fountains of cortisol at this point.
Oh my goodness! There are SHARKS in my adrenals? No wonder I can't sleep at night! (Image Source)
But, look, we're at the end of this particular journey. The last day is tomorrow. In all likelihood, we'll know tomorrow (or early the next day) which way the political wind blew.*** Tomorrow we learn whether we're saddled with a Trump presidency or blessed with a Hillary Rodham Clinton ascendancy. And when that is decided, we will all be, among other emotions, relieved.
And, regardless, there will still be heavy lifting to do.
Because our country is deeply divided and will remain so regardless of who gets to put their lumbar support pillow in the desk chair of the Oval Office. Right now our citizens disagree on basic, fundamental issues - issues of national identity as well as national policy. There's a reason why Tom Hanks's "America's Dad" sketch from Saturday Night Live rings true: We're in the throes of growing pains right now, figuring out who we are as a nation, what we stand for, and what constitutes both "America" and "American." Like an adolescent, we're looking at ourselves, not recognizing what we see, and either embracing those changes or throwing rage-fueled tantrums against them.
Yeah. I know "America" is both gendered male and has white skin at the end. I don't like it, either, but I'm taking from it what I need.
So, for tomorrow and, more importantly, the day after tomorrow, let's take excellent care of ourselves, shall we? Let's dedicate these interstitial moments of transition to strengthening our depleted selves for whatever is next to come. Because our fights aren't over with the election. Our growth isn't complete with the resolution of this campaign season. And we'll need our strength to face our coming struggles with grace and determination.
And I'm not talking about that hokey, BS, treats-as-self-care nonsense we tell ourselves when we want another glass of wine, another handful of Halloween candy, or another late-night binged episode of Black Mirror. I'm talking about real care to promote real fortitude. Get some sleep, friends. Take yourself outside for some exercise. Eat your veggies, and drink your water. Stretch. Turn off your devices and be with your people. Rest up so you can power up. Because on the 9th, 10th, and beyond we'll need you in fighting trim, possibly more than we did on the 8th.
We've got work to do, people, work beyond voting. To paraphrase my older Smartling's elementary school's slogan, let's take care of ourselves, take care of our country, and take care of each other - both as we vote and as we enter the next presidential administration together.
*Do we have those?
**Daveed Diggs! Call me! Let's hold hands and fast rap together!
***Dog Whistle Fart Joke is the name of my new band.