It’s Election Day, and Tensions are High

It’s Election Day, and Tensions are High

We hear from U.S. voters on how they’re feeling during the most crucial election in history

I’m writing this from my sofa in New Orleans. The sun is shining, the air is crisp, and people are out and about walking their dogs, going to brunch, enjoying the day. From the outside looking in, you can’t see the stress that today brings, but you can feel it if you sit still for too long.

It’s Election Day in the United States. The most important election in history.

Americans nationwide are standing in lines at their polling centers waiting to cast their ballot for presidency while 100 million early voters are hoping and praying for a certain outcome.

This is the most crucial election in history, and tensions are high. The outcome of this election will change our nation for generations to come. It’s important. It’s essential. It’s devastating.

My brain has been consumed with election coverage for months, as have most Americans. Even folks who don’t reside within the United States are following this election and checking in with their friends whose lives will be affected firsthand by the results.

There is a lot riding on this election, from healthcare for Americans to how we’ll combat global warming to what we will do, or continue to not do, with regard to COVID-19.

“I’m nervous as hell,” says MoMo. “I’ve never felt the tension brewing in our country as it is now.”

It’s true that the divide has never been greater, and with a current president, and one who could very well get re-elected by the American people, instigating these divisions, it’s no wonder a majority of Americans are living in fear while the others seem to not have a single worry.

Andrew, a Los Angeleno and Trump support says, “[I feel] optimistic about the future with a little bit of anxiety over the potential short-term aftermath proceeding the election.”

When asked about what aftermath he expects, he said, “More of the same – riots, looting, etc. I’m praying for our nation as a whole to come together, regardless of the result of the election.”

Unity would be nice. It’s my hope the majority of Americans want that, but do they?

As someone raised in the south, praying over something to occur isn’t unusual to me, but in this scenario, it strikes me as contradictory. If one is choosing to pray for a nation undivided, why would one choose to vote for a president on a mission to enhance the divide?

For some voters, this is just another election. The day will come and go, as will the results, and we will carry on as usual. For others, this election is life and death, and how can it not be when white supremacy, global warming, and healthcare are on the line?

Nate, a voter in Louisiana, says, “This election is destroying the psyche of most people I know.”

It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s not far-fetched, and I’d have to agree because I am one of them whose entire being has been consumed by voting Trump out of office.

Most days, the election is all that I can think about. Is it doing my mental health any favors? No, of course not. But when you’re a woman, one of the many groups of human beings our current president has no regard for, it’s easy for your world to be consumed with what will come of Election Day. And I’m not the only woman who is afraid either. There are millions of us. I spoke to a few.

“My heart feels like it’s exploding out of my chest, and my anxiety is through the roof,” Julie said. “I feel hopeful, but I’m afraid to feel too hopeful for fear of getting my heartbroken.”

I get it. I feel this, too.

“I’m hoping for a Biden/Harris landslide so we can get back to work on improving America for the people that have been left behind by corporate greed,” Lee Ann says. “Regardless of the outcome, I’m feeling inspired by the amount of work people have done!”

And this.

“I voted to bring back the true sense of America to our country, where we are all equal,” says Elizabeth. “I voted so my daughter isn’t fighting the same war on her body that women in history already won.”

“I voted so my daughter isn’t fighting the same war on her body that women in history already won.”

Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed political canvassing like no other, and it has been motivating, inspiring, and incredibly emotional. I’ve talked with voters about who they’re voting for and why. I’ve learned of women who live in fear for their rights, as well as their partners’ rights because of their sexual orientation or the color of their skin. I’ve talked with friends who are afraid for their children. Will they have a place to call home in the years to come if Trump is re-elected? Will it be safe? Will it even exist at all?

And all of these topics matter to these people – they matter to Americans. One candidate promises humanity and respect. The other promises continued chaos and fraud.

“I’m terrified, and I’m hoping for a return of humanity and sense of decency,” says Madeleine. “I voted because I always do, because it’s a right and privilege, and the biggest way to use our voices for change.”

A return of humanity and sense of decency is what’s on the ballot here. We can have a return to humanity and decency, or we can stay the same.

I voted for humanity, and I voted for decency. And as I sit here on Election Day knowing that the official results may not be in for quite some time, I only hope that enough Americans voted for humanity and decency too.

I only hope.

And, right now, here in America, hope is all we have.

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