Election-Day began sometime around 4 AM when Henna woke to get ready for her shift as an election judge. Together we walked the few blocks to the Edison Park Lutheran Church. It was an incredibly pretty morning. Pitch black with a bright moon and only a few cars on the street. I wanted to buy a paper at the local newsstand but there was no one tending the business. With no school that day I returned home and went to bed.
The real anxiety started when I woke up the second time that day. Henna by then had already been working for several hours. Corey and I decided to keep busy so we took a nice walk in the forest preserve, picked up a nice piece of salmon to cook later and repeatedly texted Henna. It was a slow and steady work day for her that did not end until eight that night. The things that Henna was worried about did not come to pass. She had to remind no one to wear a mask. One person came in wearing a MAGA shirt but then zipped up her jacket before entering the sacred voting area. A campaign worker bought everyone pizza.
For me the true panic hit me sometime after it became clear Trump would win Florida. The panic then continued right up to the point when Georgia turned blue. Sleep in between those times was hell. Each night I woke sometime around four and then checked my phone before returning to bed. That simple act of doing so, regardless of whatever news I discovered, caused me so much stress that it took at least half an hour before I was able to fall back to asleep. And then the alarm would wake me a little after six and I would immediately check my phone again.
At work I had created a fun election themed activity for my social skills groups. Moosely Moose vs. Silly Seal. Two stuffed animals with radically different visions for the future. After Tuesday I decided Moosely Moose was a bit of fascist. He also made unrealistic promises such as telling all the children that post-pandemic they would all get a chance to ride on his back. Silly Seal in contrast was all heart and wanted nothing more than to entertain everyone with tricks he learned in the circus. Some of the kids saw right through the Moose and picked Silly Seal as their leader. Others though went with the Moose. I made a mental note to keep my eye on them.
Most of work though was spent feeling guilty about the time wasted refreshing my phone. Immediately after work/school the three of us would spend endless hours watching television, the anchors repeating the same phrases over and over again. Spend too much time on anything and you begin to see the worn spots in the delivery. Chuck Todd’s magic Election Day Board began to look like just any other ordinary Smart Board. Still we watched, waiting for the next big thing to happen.
By Friday morning it felt good to be on Biden’s side. Georgia had turned blue. Arizona and Nevada were also in the right column. My dad texted me when Pennsylvania finally crossed over the line to sanity. My mom called me when the election was called. By Saturday night we had all finally exhaled.
Corey wants me to write a Part 3. I like to think that it would be unnecessary. I think (maybe hope) that our Democracy is strong enough to stand up to the lies and bullshit coming out of the soon to be former President. I have a little bit of faith that just enough Republican voters and politicians will stand up with the rest of the population to save our country from becoming a dictatorship. But….. I never thought Trump would get elected. I never thought he would serve all four year. I do not think he will remain president after January 20. We will see. Until then I would much rather talk travel than politics.