Emotional Paralysis is a Proper Response to this Election
The following is adapted from our weekly newsletter. To get early access to bonus content,Â sign-up for it here.
Paralysis is a Proper Response to Election 2020
By Dragon Poopsie
After two weeks at the beach in South Carolina, I got home this week. It was clear the atmosphere of my hometown had changed. Summer is over; COVID is back; another hurricane is closing in; the West is burning. And on top of all those apocalyptic events is the election. Usually, a national election will inspire energy and excitement, but this year thereâ€™s more of an aura of danger and dread.
I took the big plunge yesterday and voted. I didnâ€™t, however, put on the â€œI Votedâ€ sticker I was handed as I walked out. I was afraid someone would see it later and engage me in a conversation that might end in asking who I had voted for. Unless youâ€™re a true believer in one side or the other, thatâ€™s a traumatizing question to be asked.
I live in a red state. The truth is, it doesnâ€™t really matter who I voted for, because this state is overwhelmingly in the column of Donald Trump.
But I know many of you Animals live in swing states, and you feel the future of the Western world is dependent on you. For example, yesterday I got a call from a friend in Pennsylvania who was feeling crazy anxious because she knows her vote might be one that changes history. But she wasnâ€™t agonizing over who to vote for â€“ she was fairly certain which way she would go. She was just stuck, staring at her ballot, trying to rev up the will to fill it out. The choice was so unsatisfactory.
I understand her paralysis. The traditional measuring stick is which candidateâ€™s finger would you want on the button that could start a nuclear war? So, in the election of 2020, hereâ€™s the big question: Do you want it to be the finger of the really old man who often gets confused about what office heâ€™s running for and where he is? Or the finger of the not-quite-as-old man who doesnâ€™t trouble himself with details or read briefings or reports, and flirts with conspiracy theories?
And yet so many of us have gotten it into our heads that this is the most critical choice ever, and that all hope for civilization rests in electing one of those old men over the other. Animals â€“ do you really think either of them is worthy of that kind of hope or passion?
Iâ€™ll tell you one more screwy political thing thatâ€™s happening this week: Millions of dollars are being wasted on candidate advertising. In South Carolina, where the Senate race is highly contested, you canâ€™t turn on the radio or TV without hearing ads â€“ sometimes five of them in a row â€“ for and against Lindsey Graham. No one is even listening anymore; not one of those ads is going to change a vote. The candidates may as well be tossing chests of thousand-dollar bills into Charleston Harbor the way tea was tossed into Boston Harbor in 1773 â€“ thatâ€™s what a big waste the spending is.
So when I hear that the Wisconsin GOP has been hacked out of its last $2.2 million for ad spending, or when I get texts and emails pleading for â€œjust $3â€ for candidate x, y or z, my heart goes cold. The biggest winners in this yearâ€™s elections are the media companies. About $11 billion will be spent by the time itâ€™s over.
Thankfully, it is about over. Finally. Stock up on Modelos, Bourbon, chocolate or the drug of your choice, because the results are likely to roll out gradually, and probably chaotically. But at least it is grinding to an end. And I can already tell you how it will turn out, Animals: The next President of the United States will not be who you wish he would be.