Is it normal to feel frightened, actually scared, by all the campaign signs this election? Is it normal to feel frightened of going to work on election day, because my workplace is a polling place? Because I am scared. I’m scared of talking about whom I’m supporting, unless the other person brings it up first. I’m scared of how angry people are, how self-righteous, how indignant, how completely dismissive of people who are on the opposite side. It feels as though this has gone beyond, “I can’t ever vote for him/her. No matter how bad the other one is, as least it’s not him/her.” It feels like it’s gone to, “I cannot comprehend how a thinking person would ever vote for him/her. If you are planning to vote for him/her, then you are either stupid or evil. And I hate you.”
And that scares me. I’m so scared that this is what we’ve become. I find it very hard to be proud of America right now. Proud of what we once were, yes. Proud of the ideals we were created with, yes. Proud of what we can be one day, yes. But right now? Look at who we’ve become. We all complain about, “Are these the best candidates we could find?” The answer is yes. Yes they are, because we nominated them. We gave them the most votes. You certainly can’t claim that they were nominated by smoke-filled back rooms. (Well, maybe you could argue that on the Democratic side, but never on the GOP. The RNC and the Republican establishment wanted nothing to do with Trump. That was all votes, nothing more.)
We act as though this election is the one moment that will decide the fate of America. (“If he/she is elected, then America as we know it will be destroyed!”) Bullshit. This election will decide a lot of things about the next four years, yes. But our republic is too strong to be destroyed by any one person. Our checks and balances are too strong to allow that. We’ve had some bad presidents in the past. Harding. Buchanan. Jackson, perhaps, depending on whom you talk to. Did they destroy the republic? Of course not. America will survive, whoever takes the oath in January. And sometimes I think that the worst part is that we no longer have respect for the office of president. We no longer have respect for authority and for the will of the people, even when we ourselves disagree with the majority. But this has happened before. Abraham Lincoln was an incredibly unpopular and divisive candidate and president. Hell, seven states left the United States between his election and his inauguration. I find it hard to believe that that will happen in 2017. Yes, we’re having a cultural war, but I can’t believe it would turn into secession.
But I am scared of this cultural war, because I do find myself clearly on one side of it. I know what I believe, and I know what I stand for, and I find it so hard to relate to and communicate with those on the other side. It saddens me that there are such clear sides. It saddens me that there is such mistrust, not only of opinions and ideas, but of facts. I’m scared to show my support for a candidate, because I don’t want to endure the insults and name-calling, the anger and indignation, I’m scared will follow.
I don’t know. Is this normal? Do a lot of people feel this way? Will this feeling end on November 9?