The Election That Fear Built


It isn’t funny anymore.

I’ve been feeling kinetic. Manic. My anxiety is tangible; it drips down my fingers like the juice from a recently peeled orange. I stick to the table with it. I have energy but I can’t move.

It’s either the election making me feel this way or this sick case of PMS I got. I could just be sticky from dropping food on myself.

In one day, the United States will change. No matter which candidate wins, this election cycle has drawn out something dirty in us. I imagine our story like a passage in a children’s book. We are floating along, walking through the forest, and buried beneath us the monster stirs, the illustrator artfully cutting a hill in half to reveal its hidden dweller. We keep beating it back, but it lays waiting. And this year, it growled.

What is that monster? What lurks beneath and around us, seeping into our water supply, year after year?

It’s not Trump, you guys. But Trump definitely drank from it.

It’s fear. And ignorance. And anger. It’s the idea that our experience is THE experience. It’s this culty obsession with Jesus and guns, with being right no matter what. It’s a lack of education and a stunning amount of confidence (I mean, truly stunning). It’s shooting black people. It’s corruption and greed. It’s retaliation against the black guy who dared become president. It’s a post-racial society. It’s fearing the “other.” It’s taking what isn’t ours. It’s the banks. It’s ignoring science even when it drowns you. It’s that particular shade of panic that comes with not being able to pay your bills. It’s student loans. It’s a lack of empathy. It’s segregation. It’s pussy grabbing and locker room talk. It’s pointing the finger. It’s drone strikes. It’s the threat of ISIS at your window and it’s a small, Syrian boy floating in the middle of the sea. It’s poverty; real, true poverty, masking as mooching, masking as racism. It’s corporate welfare. It’s EMAILS and the FBI. It’s Russia, maybe. It’s arresting someone for resisting arrest. It’s years of progressives regressing and conservatives growing weird, sharp teeth and dwelling in caves. It’s heroine, but only when it affects white suburbs. It might be the Kardashians.

This glowing, sticky, dark mass of hurt — that’s what makes up the monster.

And the little evil guys we see running around in big suits – you know – those orange, bloated sea creatures walking on two legs, yelling BIGLY and WRONG… those guys just suck from the well at the bottom of the hill that houses the monster that fear built.

We become easy targets, resting on top of our own problems. We want to ease our burden, we want some entertainment.

The news shows three hours of an orange mop in a suit yelling lies and we sit there and laugh and cry in unison. We are united in our hate/love. We feel something that isn’t the bottom of the well telling us things won’t get better. For a moment, we forget and we joke and we laugh and we yell and we make light.

But the man picks at the dark things below. And the monster feeds the man and the man gets bigger.

And the politicians lie and plug their noses and climb on each other’s backs, pushing one another down until we all fall into the water.

And the TV stations swell with ratings and pride, doing the work of gods that never intended to show up.

And yet, somehow, we have to keep showing up.

And surely, that monster must sleep some time.

After tomorrow — we will become the nation after the 2016 election. We will have to dig ourselves out of the spitty, muddy mess. A lot of people will have to answer for their actions. The media, the DNC, every motherfucking Republican who hated Trump and then endorsed him. But we will also. We helped feed that thing, living in that hill. Those were our fears. Those were our conditions.

Every election feels this way; that if our side doesn’t win, the world is over. I keep telling myself that, but I’m not alone in feeling it particularly accurate this time around.

I am not a pro-voting-voter. I don’t believe every vote counts, because our system tells us every vote does not count.

I am not a pro-Democratic-Nominee-liberal. I usually end up voting for the person I have to vote for, because who else am I going to vote for?

I can understand the desires of the non-voter or the third-party voter. I understand not liking Hillary, unless you don’t like her because of emails, her pantsuits, her shrill voice, her “cold” demeanor, or the fact that because her husband cheated on her, she must be unfuckable, and therefore, unworthy, of the office. (Are you telling me Nixon was fuckable?) Basically, I get it if you aren’t a sexist douchebag – and I think a lot of you are. I am trying to understand voting Trump, but that one is a lot harder.

Unfortunately, our system is the way our system is. And that means, for your voice to count, you have to play along. No progress comes quickly in this country. Your vote isn’t just for a person, it’s for Supreme Court Justices, it’s for the environment, it’s for the LGBTQI+ community, it’s for every woman who has ever felt uncomfortable in the presence of a man. It’s for the Native Americans defending their land. It’s for your friends.

People are lining up for hours as their polling places mysteriously close or move far away, in order to exercise a right to vote that many people are trying to take away from them – from you.

You want to protest vote? Then go vote. Protest against all those people really hoping you don’t go.

Please, go vote. And please, vote for Hillary Clinton. Hillary has been preparing for this her whole life. She is the smartest person in every room she walks into. She is a lifelong public servant and she has always refused to play by the rules of traditional feminism. She believes in science, and healthcare, and doing what she has to do in order to make it work — even if that means being unlikeable, even if that means making some awful mistakes. Sure, she may be a vicious, pro-war, middle-of-the-road, borderline conservative, but she can do the job and she can do it well. I can’t wait to see what her presidency will be like.

She is not just as bad as Trump. Because I don’t think anything is as bad as Trump.

Donald Trump grabs women’s vaginas and then brags about it. Donald Trump is facing charges for allegedly raping a child. Donald Trump is racist, and sexist, and xenophobic. Donald Trump doesn’t pay taxes, doesn’t pay employees, doesn’t make any of his own product. Donald Trump speaks as if his brains started leaking fluid out of his ears — no offense to victims of traumatic brain injuries.

Donald Trump is not the monster in the bottom of the hill, but he definitely wants to be friends with that thing.

And despite an old lady once saying this is the end of the United States as we know it, we have to at least try to continue our story. To turn the page. To get to the next chapter with the gingerbread house, and the little red riding hood, and the wolves that eat grandma. At least that’s a villain I can understand.

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