The election was two weeks ago tomorrow, and I think I’m finally coming to realize how I feel about it.
The constant, vise-like pressure in my chest has eased. It’s not gone, but it’s eased. Certain immediate terrors that I considered on a daily or even hourly basis appear — for now — to be staved off.
I find the most immediate of those are the fear we can no longer have free and fair elections in America, and the looming question of whether staying in this country would endanger my family.
On the second topic first – yes, I seriously considered leaving. I didn’t have an answer to the question of whether it was a good idea, so after voicing it to my wife a couple times I kept it to myself and wrestled with it pretty much every day of the last two years. Even before the election I concluded it didn’t make sense to move — it’s difficult and expensive, first of all, and there is hardly any guarantee that any other country (even Canada) would remain immune to this fever of nationalism that seems to be sweeping the planet. But post-election, all thought of this has vanished from my mind. It’s an enormous relief. The work I and countless others did in Minnesota kept this state blue for the most part, particularly by sweeping every statewide race, which goes a long way toward making me feel safe here — even as I recognize there are many others who do not feel that way, and still need good people fighting for them.
On the first topic — free and fair elections — it’s obvious the country’s democratic processes are not as clean as they should be. In my estimation the Georgia governor race was blatantly stolen, and rampant voter purges and “anomalies” in other states demonstrate that our democracy remains very much under attack from within. Despite nearly a decade of gerrymandered districts, though, the people spoke loudly enough to swing control of the House.
I’ll be honest with you, I did not believe that was possible. I thought the infrastructural advantage the Republicans had etched into districts around the nation would prevent it. And that barrier did blunt the impact. There are several examples where a state’s House seat allocation didn’t even come close to an accurate translation of that state’s popular vote.
So there is still a lot of work to do. But I’m glad to live in a Republic where the ability still exists to do it, and it’s good to be able to breathe again.