I’ve been waking up at 4 a.m. for the last few days.
It’s the time change. We had a big weather system come through on Sunday night which resulted in me getting a migraine and going to bed at 8 p.m., which definitely didn’t help reset my body clock.
But it’s also the US election.
Q. reminds me every now and then, when he’s heard too much about Senate races in Kansas and Alaska and South Carolina (oh please, oh please, let Jaime Harrison win), or about the fate of the 127,000 votes cast by drive-through voting in Harris County, that “it is a different country”.
And yes, it is a different country. E. asked me worriedly the other day what would happen to us if Trump won again and I was able to reassure him truthfully that our day-to-day existence would not change.
But at the same time, this election in particular feels more consequential for those of us stuck watching from the outside.
If the wrong person wins, it will be that much harder for Canada to get COVID under control.
If the wrong person wins, and the US is the first to develop a vaccine, it’s already clear that Canadian health authorities won’t be sure whether they can trust it.
If the wrong person wins, the planet is basically fucked, because we don’t have four more years to get our act in order.
Plus there’s that whole “living next to a country sliding into authoritarianism” thing, which hasn’t worked out so well for other countries in the past.
My closest friends in the US are all mixed-citizenship couples. Without exception, they’ve said to me that if Trump wins again, they’re leaving. They say this with the guilty conscience of those who know that they have an escape route when millions of others don’t, but it doesn’t change their view that if he gets in again, the only viable option is to flee. One friend (who lives near Boston) told me via email that they’ve bought paper maps of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in case they have to make a run for Canada and the internet had gone down. She wasn’t joking.
There’s a lot of positive energy on Twitter, but also a lot of fear that it will be 2016 all over again. When I get stressed, I scroll through #turntexasblue and read the voices of the thousands of people who are working so very hard to flip that state and end the entire thing tonight. I’ve basically lived on that hashtag for the past week (@HarrisVotes is the best government social media account out there, as an aside).
Four years ago Q. and I went to bed worried but hopeful things might turn around. We woke up to something that felt unreal. We knew it would be bad, but we had no idea it could possibly be THIS bad.
I hope he loses bigly.
I hope his enablers in the Senate are dragged down with him.
I hope the result is so clear and so decisive that no one can question the result.
I hope there’s a peaceful transfer of power (I can’t believe I even feel I have to write that about the US, but there you go).
I hope that, come January, I can sleep again at night because I won’t have to worry about what the president of the United States, the once-was ‘leader’ of the free world, has been Tweeting.
I can’t vote. But it’s not true that I don’t have a stake in this election.
I hope everyone who can vote, does.