I am fortunate never to have been plagued by persistent, severe, or long-term anxiety about anything. Until November 8, 2016. Even as much as a year before that, I had begun to experience periodic mild unease after realizing the high likelihood that my fellow Americans were, or at least our predominantly older, white, male Electoral College was, going to make the mistake of electing a lying, cheating, philandering, fearmongering, hate-spewing bully as our leader and the public face of our country.
Y’all may not realize it since I am naturally a positive and upbeat person and rarely engage in overt political speech on social media, but since that sad day, I have been frequently distressed, dismayed, and disturbed by the actions of the administration of our Liar In Chief. I believe it’s safe to say that, if I were to seek treatment, I would be diagnosed as suffering from some form of anxiety disorder and would probably be given a prescription for medication to relieve it.
Since that sad day, I have drunk more whiskey more often than I should. Not to the point that it’s interfering with my ability to function as a responsible, productive citizen and effective husband to The Boss and good father to The Girl and The Boy, but more than I had been in the habit of drinking beforehand and more than I am comfortable with consuming in the long term.
Since that sad day, I have experienced anxiety in ways that I never had before. My chest hurts too often. I struggle to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button on my alarm. I have occasionally had trouble motivating myself to attack a pile of files at work. I have found myself becoming too easily angered by things that some of my friends post to Facebook. To my great shame, I have had to work hard not to be angry at my mother, who raised me and imparted her values and sensibilities to me but who voted for the man who puts the bully in “bully pulpit.”
I am not a partisan. I am not a card-carrying member of either party. I am as likely to vote for a Republican as I am for a Democrat, but not this year. I do not put political signs in my yard or on my vehicle. I am not a radical anything. I am a left-leaning moderate who favors fiscal responsibility and the freedom of all citizens to make their own personal choices about how to live as long as they seek not to harm others. But I have come to despair that we are in danger of losing those freedoms. I have come to despair that we are teetering on the brink of permanently handing those freedoms and our power to a tiny portion of the wealthiest, most corrupt segment of our population, not all of whom are Republicans.
I do not hate our President. I love him and pity him and am sad that he was unable to overcome his vilest behavioral impulses after he was inaugurated. But I beg you, Bloggers, to get out and vote today if you haven’t already. Vote responsibly and with care and with your mind on the future of the country you love. Vote with the sincere desire to repudiate the racist, isolationist, unreliable, irresponsible, bigoted, feckless image of America as it has been mischaracterized by our Twit In Chief since 11/8/16. Hell, I’m not proud, vote with me in mind. Help me recover from my two-year bout of crushing anxiety.
My sister-in-law shared a YouTube video with me today that inspired me, made me cry, and allowed me to permit myself to have a bit of hope for the future. It’s a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. If, like me, y’all’re feeling hopeless and anxious about the results of today’s midterm elections, I hope you’ll give it a listen here. I’m going to watch it again this evening, avoid the news, and go to bed early and hope that I am able to sleep, though that, too, is something I’ve been having a hard time with lately. I will fervently hope that, when I awaken tomorrow, I have reason to begin once more to have hope for the future of my country.
I love y’all. Take care, be kind, and live well.