Like many of you, I feel as though I am about to exhale after holding my breath for 3 years and 360something days. At the same time, my anxiety level is through the roof; my habit of voraciously devouring the news first thing in the morning has devolved into merely scanning the headlines.
As we approach election day, I am increasingly filled with dread, not so much about the outcome, but because of so many of my fellow citizens have seemingly lost their faith in institutions designed to protect everyone, experts dedicated to helping us navigate steadily through life, and leaders elected to serve all of us.
We live in an age where dis-information, alternative facts, and conspiracy theories sway so many lives and ultimately affect the lives of exponentially more souls. Many people are calling for a return to normal, but who’s normal are we discussing? Is it going to be the pre-pandemic normal where people walked the streets pretending that everything was fine? Is it going to be the normal of our childhoods, where grownups sheltered us from unpleasant truths?
I suggest that we are going to have to create a new normal for ourselves, regardless of the outcome of the election.
If Donald Trump Wins Reelection: Let your battle cry be: nolite te bastardes carborundorum. This Latin phrase — illuminated in the fourth episode of the first season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) translates to “don’t let the bastards get you down.” Progress is not supposed to be easy, otherwise we would have done it a long time ago. We may not see the fruits of our struggle, but our struggle will help ensure that our children and grandchildren can live in a more just world. We need to keep grinding, keep pushing, keep fighting the good fight.
If Joe Biden Wins the Election: Celebrate, then get to work. It is easy for many of us to see that years of corruption, misappropriation, incompetence, and the bad intent of the Trump Administration will take years and perhaps decades to undo. However, how can we begin to heal this nation torn asunder at our roots?
I believe we need to start by reaffirming, advocating, and supporting widespread access to a reinvigorated and quality public education. Generations of our children have been robbed of an education because of lack of adequate funding. Too many children – many now adults – missed out on rudimentary lessons in civics, history, and government as well as science, critical thinking, and analytic techniques.
We have lost generations of Americans who have been done a disservice by our lack of dedication to public education. Let’s stop the “dumbing down” of our country. Let’s serve the future, where people can have reasonable differences of opinion instead of simply trying to shout each other down. People who register with different political parties can oppose each other in elections and policy, but they are not each other’s enemies.
Others will certainly have other ideas. Please advise. Publicly and often.