I set out to write a debate recap, but I couldn’t bring myself to find the words. I don’t want to relive, or rehash, or recount that ridiculous, nausea inducing debate. I don’t think anyone does. If you do, there are many, many, many articles out there that can help you out.
I don’t want to talk about last night, because frankly, I’m worn out. The past few days- hell the past year- has been emotionally and physically draining. This election has sickened me. It is poisonous. It is frustrating. It is abrasive. It is too much.
I don’t want to talk about last night. Not yet. Instead, I want to talk about what happens next. About where we go from here.
When things are particularly awful, I like to think about how we’ve survived previously awful times. America has a pretty stellar track record of getting through some particularly horrific shit. If nothing else, we are resilient.
Do you ever wonder what Twitter would’ve looked like if it had been around during the Civil Rights Movement? What would’ve been the hashtag? Would there have been so many haters? What would people- what could people- possibly say about King’s “I Have A Dream” speech?
They’d say something, I can assure you. There would be hate, I can assure you. There would be thousands of eggs hurling insults at well-meaning internet users, I can assure you.
We know now, of course, that they’d be wrong. In retrospect, it is so very clear that they were wrong.
But in the moment? It would’ve seemed heartbreaking. It would’ve seemed disgusting. It would have felt like humanity is disintegrating before our very eyes.
That’s how today’s political climate feels, sometimes: like humanity is disintegrating. Like the end is near. It is a rough, emotionally fragile time. So rough, that I’ve had to purposefully step away several times. Stop looking at the car crash. Stay off the internet. Focus on something good. Do something good. Try to make people laugh.
It feels like society is crumbling around us.
This is where faith comes in. Faith that things will get better. Faith that we will emerge from this victorious. Faith that this is just a very dark chapter in a very long book about America.
We have to keep that faith. We have to hold it close and keep it safe. We have to let it flourish. We have to protect it. Because faith is the only thing that will keep us going.
There will be a day, not all that long from now, when my granddaughter will ask me about this election. And I can promise you, from the very fiber of my being, she will not be asking me about Hillary Clinton’s emails. She’ll be asking me how we got so dangerously close to electing Donald Trump. How we flirted with horror, how we almost self-imploded.
“What was it like?” she’ll ask me, “How did it happen? Why did it happen? How can we make sure it doesn’t happen again?”
These are the questions future generations will ask. These are the thoughts we’re all wondering right now. This is our current reality.
Megan Amran said it best in her tweet “With this election we’re simultaneously breaking through the glass ceiling and the rock bottom. We got a really big room now”
The divide between Americans is miles wide. We are standing at two opposite ends of the spectrum. Hate is spreading. Fear is spreading. Boundaries are being drawn. We’re all fed up. We’re all agitated. We’re all ready for a fight. None of us are handling this particularly well.
There are two doors, two options. There is no third door. Gary Johnson is not a third door. Jill Stein is not a third door. Not voting is not a third door.
There are two choices. Two visions. Two different sets of ideologies. And you might think both are full of shit. But you’ve gotta pick one.
If you’ve made your choice, stand firm in it. Honor your decision and then let it go. Let the hate go and the comparisons go and the anxiety and the fear and the what ifs and the tweeting and the podcast listening go. You have made up your mind. Your part is done. The rest of it? The hate and the fighting and the divide? This too shall pass.
Once you’ve chosen a candidate, choose faith. Choose to trust that everything will be fine. Choose to put your best self out in the world. Choose to add more joy and love and laughter to an otherwise grim environment. Choose to stop ingesting hate. If that means staying off the internet, stay off the internet. If that means avoiding certain friends, avoid certain friends. Keep yourself strong and happy. The world needs more strong and happy people.
This is a defining moment in American history. It already has been. There are 28 days until the election. Spend your days wisely. Lean into your faith. Behave like the person you want to be. Disengage if you have to. Protect your sanity and your faith and your happiness at all costs. Remember that years from now, we will look back at this as just another dark moment in American history. Stay strong.
Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE.