As I write this, it is Election Day in America. Millions and millions of people have already voted and today people are in lines at polls across the country risking contracting the novel coronavirus in order to cast their votes in person.
It’s a stressful day, to say the least.
We will not know who won the election tonight, despite what Donald Trump has demanded. That’s not how elections work. Elections are decided by counting votes, not by ignoring or preventing them. But that’s what the Republicans are banking on this time around and what they’ve been banking on for many years. Despite your politics, you should be deeply suspicious of a political party that seeks to stop people from voting rather than making it easier for everyone to participate in the voting process.
Trump has been traversing the country holding super spreader events where maskless idiots worship their idiot idol. COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing again, just as health experts warned would happen when the weather started to get cold and more people started to spend more time indoors. Trump’s response is to keep repeating that we’re turning a corner, that COVID-19 is almost over, that he wants to fire Dr. Fauci.
At a rally in Miami the crowd shouted, “Fire Fauci,” to which Trump responded by saying, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice. I appreciate it.”
Trump also said Fauci has “been wrong on a lot.”
Hey, nobody understands infectious disease better than Trump. After all, he’s infected millions of Americans with his lies.
And those Americans are not going to handle the outcome of this election well. No matter what the outcome is. If Trump loses, they won’t accept it. If Trump wins, they will be emboldened to be even more brazen in their violence and harassment. I fear unrest either way.
And that’s exactly what Trump wants. He praised a group of Texas terrorists for trying to run Joe Biden’s bus off the road. He inspired and encouraged terrorists who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He is 100 percent in favor of police brutality. He loves to see people hurting. It’s disgusting.
I don’t care if you like Joe Biden or not. He wasn’t my first choice. Or my second. But he’s the only option this country has unless we want to fully descend into a fascist hellscape. That is not hyperbole.
I’ve been waking up every morning for the last week or so with the song “Living Bad Dreams” by Judas Priest in my head. These past four years have been a nightmare. It has been exhausting in every way imaginable.
No matter what the election results are, this nightmare will not end for a very long time. If you think that Trump has sunk as low as he can, you’re wrong. If he loses he will do everything he can to trash the federal government and this country on his way out. If he wins, he will see it as a blank check to do whatever he wants, grabbing power from every branch of government and continuing to enrich himself and his family.
His supporters will, by and large, stick by him. Their allegiance is based on a false reality that they and the president share. This false reality is reinforced by Fox News, which is a propaganda station, not a news station.
Remember when Trump was asked if he disavowed QAnon, the group that believes that the Democratic Party is part of a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who secretly rule the world, and he said that he liked their stance against pedophilia? Or when he told the Proud Boys to “stand by” when asked to renounce white supremacy?
In Grand Rapids, the site of Trump’s final super spreader rally in Michigan, someone spray-painted “TRUMP” and “MAGA” on headstones in a Jewish cemetery. Trump supporters have gone into coffee shops and grocery stores and gotten into physical altercations over mask-wearing, believing that COVID-19 is a liberal conspiracy, not a grossly mishandled health crisis that has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. and millions of infections.
My advice for the next few days, weeks and months: be patient when it comes to getting election results. Be kind to each other. Wear a mask when out in public. And be ready to keep fighting for the things that matter to you. Equality is hard won and it is a never ending fight. Remain vigilant. Resist Trump and hate. We have to believe that love will win.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.