“But for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.”
-N.K. Jemisin, The Stone Sky
So, we’re here again.
This is going to be very different from my other posts because it’s going to be dated as soon as it’s published. I’m writing this on November 2nd, 2020, the day before Election Day in the United States.
On the eve of this U.S. presidential election, I can’t help but think back to November 8th, nearly four years ago now. I was sitting in my college dorm room, frantically scrolling through social media, listening to the political pundits on my television. It was a day that began with such optimism and what I assumed would be imminent celebration. I was so ready to once again see the good in my country, after months of bigotry, mud-slinging, and general ugliness on the news and within people I passed by on the street and in hallways, donning red caps and making comments they’d been too cowardly to make out loud before.
I’ve always been partial to optimism, wanting to see the good hearts in everyone. Suspicion and cynicism never came naturally to me. I wanted so badly to be right about the goodness of people I had gone to school with, those I’d known from childhood, those who looked different from me but didn’t see themselves as superior to me. Because they didn’t… right?
I saw the warning signs for years and strolled right past them, because I wanted to. On November 8th, 2016, a huge aluminum sign flew through the air and hit me in the face. Of course, I went sprawling.
“Is this a dream? This has to be a dream.”
Four years later, I think a part of me is still trying to wake up.
I don’t think I have to get into all of the vile, downright evil things that the current President and his administration have not only condoned, but outright encouraged. Since you’re reading this, you have Internet access, so I’ll assume you’re well aware of everything that’s been done within the past year, let alone the last four. I probably don’t need to spell out my opinions on those things either, although I’m sure I will at some point in the future. Also, my parents are most likely going to be reading this, so I have to keep it clean.
It suffices to say, though… thinking of all of the lives lost and ruined gives me a headache, makes it hard to fight the feeling of hopelessness. It didn’t have to be this way, but here we are. It still doesn’t have to be this way, and that’s where we come in.
Even though I cast my ballot the very first day of early voting, I still feel like I should be doing more. I suppose this post is something more.
If you’re eligible to vote in the U.S. and haven’t done so yet, I strongly encourage you to make your voice heard before it’s too late. Things won’t be perfect under new leadership — far from it — but we won’t have as much of a dumpster fire to worry about. And if you’re privileged enough to not be personally affected by the coldness and gleeful antagonism of the current regime, then cast your vote in honor of someone who has everything to lose if things stay the same.
Today, just like four years ago, we get to choose the kind of people we want to be. I hope everyone reading this ends up making the right choice.
P.S. It just occurred to me that I didn’t actually end up naming either candidate in this post. In case you couldn’t tell, I absolutely do not support that practical joke of a president named Donald J. Trump. I never have supported him and I have no desire to be associated with anyone who does. Just want to make that abundantly clear.
Now please, do the right thing. Wear a mask in public. Protect the vulnerable among you and listen to scientists. Your conscience will thank you.