PPTSD: Post Presidential Traumatic Stress Disorder
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won a historic victory. After learning about it, I found myself in tears for most of the morning. I didn’t feel happiness, or elation. I wasn’t sad. I was spent. Wiped out.
The last four years have taken the United States to the brink of fascism, and oh how easy it was. All it took was our elected representatives staying silent to power because they profited by doing so. (And many of these jackals have been rewarded with reelection.) It took networks, platforms, and people profiting from propaganda to keep pumping it out, even though it drove the country apart and cost hundreds of thousands of lives. It took citizens believing that a ‘prosperous economy’ (even though that prosperity is a lie) is more important than equality and humanity.
I was spent. I hadn’t realized how tense, how worried I was for our collective future. I’m still worried. Even now, nearly half the country believes in a fictionalized version of reality. How do we come back from that? How do we find common ground without sharing common facts? How do we hold onto empathy for people who show no empathy for others?
President-elect Biden and (first female!) Vice President-elect Harris are a start. They’ll bring with them a Dr. Biden to partner the President, our first male “Second Lady”, and the first rescue dog, Major, to the White House. That’s a wealth of positive firsts that will be overlooked in the difficult times ahead, but it’s so important to look over our shoulders and take stock of the fact that we ARE making progress. Medicare for All is being discussed. The overwhelming majority of Americans want their government to take aggressive action on climate change.
We have a hard road ahead (c’mon Georgia!) and I think we all received a hard lesson that we can’t ever, EVER take democracy for granted again. But giants like John Lewis and RBG have helped paved the way for us, and now it’s time to get into all sorts of good trouble.
I was spent today. But tomorrow I’m going to start causing all kinds of trouble.
Once upon a time, when I first moved to New Zealand in 2004, I wrote a weekly email to my close family and friends, cleverly titled The Weekly. It was my way of sharing the details of my new and day-to-day life with people I loved who were back in the States. I continued The Weekly for many years: sometimes it was a breathless paragraph; sometimes a lengthy ramble (or vent).