Well, America, here we are.¹
I know this election cycle has felt interminable — I’ve felt it, too — but our long national nightmare is just about over.
I don’t want to make this a post about how bad things could possibly get, though. There has been enough of that.
I want to address my fellow citizens here for a seconds to implore you to do two things:
- Go. Freaking. Vote.
- Be prepared to keep fighting.
Almost everyone I know, regardless of their political ideology or preferred candidate, is so ready for this election to be over, and I get that. The fatigue that this election cycle has caused is, quite frankly, intolerable. And if you’re like me and voted early (I literally voted on the first day of early voting in Illinois, which was 39 days ago), then this has largely been an exercise of waiting for everything else to play out.
So if you’re able to vote in US elections (that is, you’re both eligible and registered) and you haven’t yet voted, please go do it tomorrow if you can. And vote wisely — not just for president but for down-ticket races like Congress, your state legislature, your state’s ballot initiatives or referenda, etc. Take a minute to go find your ballot and your polling place, make a plan, and go do it.
But remember this: The election doesn’t end tomorrow. I don’t mean that we’re going to inevitably have some 2000-esque dispute over the actual winner of the election, although I suppose at this point it would be perfectly in line with how this election has gone thus far.
No, what I mean is that this election has raised a number of immensely serious issues, including the normalization of conspiratorial thinking and all manners of bigotry, the continued erosion of our most important societal institutions, and a grave threat to our international standing, which had only started to be repaired under the Obama administration.
I’ve written before about how Hillary Clinton’s method of governing has been the “slow, hard boring of hard boards,” and even if you fundamentally disagree with Clinton’s record or ideology, this is a moment when you ought to set that aside and recognize that we have to be in the fight for the long haul. And that kind of fight is what Clinton’s approach to political power is all about.
In many ways, the best case scenario for this election is now staying firm and not being pushed back. There is no grand wave that is likely to sweep in and bring a Congress ready to enact large reforms. We’re facing a situation where every battle will be hard-fought and we will have to find ways of reaching some bipartisan consensus, tribalism be damned. We are going to have to keep chiseling away if we want to get anything done.
And I know we’re all tired. I am, too. We’re going to need a rest from the pandemonium and drama of this election, and I suspect that many intoxicants will be imbibed in order to provide some respite.
That’s fine (as long as you can do so responsibly!). Take your moment for that. You deserve it for enduring this slog of a race.
But tomorrow, whether that comes on Wednesday or some day soon after, we’re back to the fight.
So go out today, America, and do your thing. But I hope you’ll be prepared to keep fighting, too, with both your vote and your voice.
Going to be watching the events of Election Night play out? Well, you can follow along with myself and several other Patheos Atheist contributors for some election night live-tweeting! Just check here tomorrow for our live feed!
¹ Yes, I see you, Not-America, and I’m sorry that you’ve been dragged along for the ride. Hang in there. We know this has an impact on you as well. ^