On the Doorstep

After four long years, we’re finally here

It hit me last night. I have remained an observer and prognosticator throughout this election cycle, but the weight of the moment finally set in. I’m apprehensive and anxious about the election, not because of a tight race, but because the alternative is terrifying to imagine. Even after four years of this waking American nightmare, I simply refuse to imagine that it could happen again. Sure, the rational side of my brain knows that anything is possible. But, the hopeful voice in my head — living through this pandemic — has dismissed that possibility because it was too stressful to entertain. This feeling is not grounded in predictions, but in possibilities.

I don’t recognize her anymore

Countries and cultures modulate over time, that much is given. But the level of divisiveness, hate and incivility in today’s America is not something I ever envisioned. We used to aspire to our better angels, even when outcomes were far from ideal. Unity and bipartisanship were not such scarce quantities. The influence of one man, whether cause or symptom, cannot be underestimated. The President is an accelerant, pouring gas on the fire of American culture war. It is tearing this country apart at the seams, and the longer is allowed to do so the more irreversible the damage.

Have we arrived?

So many moments over the last four years have felt like watersheds. It is useless to list them, which in and of itself is sobering, but inflection points seem to have come and gone with shocking ease. Maybe the accumulation of small moments is what ultimately puts a country over the brink. More than singular breaches of democratic norms, the total weight breaks the levee. If we are faced with another four years of this assault, can we really come out the other side without mortal wounds?