See You On The Other Side
If there’s one feeling that sums up 2020 for me, it’s anxiety: over covid, over the election, over my career, the list goes on and on. The point though is that humanity is just generally anxious, like a sticky goo that clings to everything, an anxious sludge that, try as we might, we can’t ever seem to set ourselves free, we are all worried and for good reason.
It’s been a long time since I considered myself religious in any meaningful way, but whatever supernatural force is out there — take your pick! — seems to be having a grand old time with this particular year. One wonders whether we’re just rats in a maze as godly scientists chuck in obstacle after obstacle for their amusement. We may never know. but there’s no question that this year has been hard. the obstacles have truly been many.
And as fate would have it, one such obstacle, the U.S. election, is almost here. Biden is favored to win but trump could easily get reelected. We all have PTSD from 2016. No matter what, despite feeling like the Biden campaign has done all it can, all the polls have him ahead, all the boxes have been checked, every last voter has been called, and every ounce of political will has been spent, Democrats could still lose.
While we wait, I want to state right here that not enough people realize that this election doesn’t simply just represent two competing visions for the future, it also will portend whether the country drifts further apart from each other or is hopefully pieced back together. We’ve all seen the reports of armed militia appearing at protest after protest, of Trump supporters harassing Biden campaign representatives, of semi-serious rhetoric claiming there will be a second civil war. This is a marked escalation, and while it’s hard to sometimes separate the pure rhetoric from reality. Things, especially involving Trump, can become overblown quite quickly. He likes to exaggerate profusely and back down from threats. Describing Trump as “full of hot air” doesn’t do reality enough justice though.
He doesn’t just lie. He engages in a fire hydrant of lies, constantly muddying the waters, making it harder and harder to find the truth. Is that something to be worried about? Absolutely! Will it change the election? Nobody knows! That being said, I just seriously took a look at a disaster prep website for the first time ever and signed up for their newsletter for beginners. Am I overreacting? I can’t, with 100% surety, say for sure.
One thing I do know is that if Trump is reelected for a second term, these antics he and his supporters pull will only get worse. What is now overblown rhetoric could easily slip into reality very quickly.
Should we stay or should we go?
I saw an article today published in Bloomberg talking about how Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, wants to increase the number of permanent residents the Canadian government allows into the country. It’s an intriguing option, for sure. I remember vividly in 2016, many friends and people I follow musing about leaving the country in the wake of Trump’s ascendancy. I’ve entertained those thoughts plenty.
It’s worth noting that in the wake of COVID, many doors that have been traditionally open to Americans wanting to travel are closed. It’s also worth mentioning that Americans sit in a position very much apart from the rest of the world; that is, the relative ease Americans have historically had being able to travel to another country when the going gets tough. In many countries across the world, that privilege is only available to the very few.
Additionally, there is something to be said about staying and continuing the fight. People think this is bad but the truth is, it can get a lot worse. These past four years have only been but a practice run for the next four. The only way to combat is to truly meet the moment.
Trump could remain in office.
It’s going to take organization on an unprecedented level. In an ideal scenario trump would be reelected but Democrats would take the Senate; thereby, hobbling any further republican chicanery involving the judiciary. Equally important are potential Democratic gains at the state level. Maps will be redrawn next year and Democrats need to expand as much as they can their presence in state legislatures. Republicans hobbled Democrats for a decade in 2010. we can’t let that happen again.
Additionally, Trump has shown a surprising capacity for enacting his agenda — or at least a significant portion of it — exclusively through the various levers available to him in the executive branch. He’s radically changed our immigration system, banned critical race theory learning sessions from the federal government, bullied companies he doesn’t like, enacted a crazy foreign policy agenda, flooded the judiciary with right-wing partisans, and passed a massive tax cut for the wealthy.
If Democrats are able to make gains or even take back the Senate, they could effectively hobble any further legislative agenda of his and forcibly bring him to the table. If he doesn’t play along, with any luck, there’d finally be enough senators tired of him that they’d be able to overcome any vetos put forth.
Most importantly though, I think there’s a great need for Americans, on a scale that hasn’t been seen yet, to unequivocally and completely reject the cultural changes offered up my trump and his ilk. This is a modern era and these cultural wedge issues are unacceptable. They are a matter of human life and well being. There is no budging on any of them.
Let’s jump off the cliff together.
Whatever happens though, it’s important to be proud. If there’s one small silver lining to these four years, it’s that Trump made politics cool again or at least culturally relevant. Friends who had no interest in it are doing things I never would have imagined four years ago. No matter what we can’t go back to normal. We can’t go back to ignoring politics.
This stuff is more than important, it’s vital to humanity. Elections have clear consequences. we get the politicians we deserve, and I hope everyone has realized by now that we deserve so much better. In summary, let’s jump off the cliff together and pray for a soft lending.
One way or the other, we’ll find out soon enough.
Originally published at https://robertpotter.co on October 28, 2020.