I can feel my heart pounding and anxious butterflies careening off my stomach walls. I am physically and emotionally drained and in a state of uncertainty the likes of which I haven’t experienced since my husband spent 5 1/2 weeks in the ICU in 1998 before succumbing to the ravages of end-stage liver disease courtesy of Hepatitis C. Each morning back then, as I slept in the ICU waiting room, I would awaken with a combined feeling of dread and hope, as we awaited a liver transplant that never occurred. In the aftermath, I wondered how I made it through those tumultuous days and cold, dark nights. Clearly, I had acquired resiliency skills and had epic amounts of support from family and friends. At the time and long afterward, I was certain that the love with which I was enwrapped would see me through. Now, nearly 22 years later, I still marvel at it.
These days, the fear and angst have come to call courtesy of the state of the world. Pandemic, fires, hurricanes, economic downturn, societal unrest, violence in the streets, and, oh, a little Election coming up in less than two weeks. For the past four years, I have anticipated the day when the political tide would turn and we would be free of the administration whose policies are tearing this nation apart, thread by thread. Would that I feel confident that it will be so. Not sure if any of my magic wands (I have four of them) are powerful enough to pull off the wished-for wins all down the ballot.
In order to stay informed, I watch CNN, MSNBC, and listen to NPR which automatically labels me as left of center. It also provides a sense that I’m not alone in my concern for the wellbeing of the country, as well as the incredulity and outrage about the percentage of the population who continue to support the current occupant of the Oval Office. Some of them are in my life (two are family members) and we have engaged in conversations about what motivates their allegiance to a man who they acknowledge doesn’t represent many of their own values. Their agreement with his allegedly pro-life stance, (I see him as anti-abortion and possibly pro-birth only to satisfy many in his base, not due to his personal values) their perception that the country will go to hell in a handbasket if Biden and Harris take the stage on January 20th, 2021, and his ‘no nonsense-calls-it-as-he-says-it’ communication style are components of their voting choice. None of them tout his sterling character. All of them volley back my fact-filled responses with deflecting what-about-isms. I sigh as they say we will have to agree to disagree and that we each have a right to our opinions. I tell them that opinions are about what toppings belong on pizza or whether ketchup can enhance any food or what the yummiest ice cream is. I can’t agree that everyone’s take on rights and responsibilities are equally acceptable. When they take away rights for anyone’s safety and security, that’s where I draw the line.
This is the point where my self-judgment comes into play. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be seething with anger, resentment, and (cringing as I type these word) animus toward his enablers. As a compassionate, loving, embracing person, I had believed that I was hypocritical for holding those thoughts. When I am driving on nearby roads and see campaign signs heralding both candidates, I have a visceral reaction. To the Biden signs, I blow kisses and to the Trump signs, I flip the bird. I’m not proud of it, but it is better than shouting at people. Believe me, there are times when I have to muzzle myself to prevent myself from calling out people’s insistence that the virus is a hoax, that masks don’t work, that whatever he has done is justified, that people are expendable, that shoulder shrugs are the appropriate response to his lies. The words that come to mind are ‘despicable, horrific, tragic, nauseating, and appalling.’
There are some in my circles who wag their fingers at me for taking sides. They think I should live and let live. One, in particular, has stated that by focusing on what the followers of this president are endorsing, I am creating bad energy and not walking my talk as the Hugmobster Armed With Love.
I have never been more passionate about any election. A passion born of recognizing that this is not business as usual. It is truly a matter of survival. Hate is a really strong word, one that my mother cautioned me about when I was a child. She offered the option of calling it ‘strong dislike’. I want to keep from falling into the precipice but there are times when I am hanging from a frayed rope. I don’t want this time in history to pollute my soul.
As I am writing this, we are 11 days ahead of Election Day. My dreams are fraught with chase scenes, with Nazis and other assorted bad folks pursuing me. I am fleeing and hiding, and at times, boldly confronting them. I wake up in the morning, wanting to hide under the covers. The primary thing that launches me out of bed is a personal responsibility. I take care of my 9-month-old grandson four mornings a week and afterward spend my day serving therapy clients until the evening. I write articles that welcome readers into my mind. So far, no one has run screaming.
Looking forward to a time when my exhausted and worried face will transform into a peaceful and relaxed visage. If I knew for certain that my fervent wish would come true, I could breathe easy.
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