I Am Very Scared

I am very scared.

In less than 24 hours, the polls will open. In 36 hours, we’ll likely know who won Florida. In 48 hours, (barring a recount) we’ll know which states went red, which went blue, and who will sleep in the White House for the next four years.

There’s little time left to speculate. The day we’ve been inexorably marching towards, for what feels like an eternity, is here.

In 2004, I was very scared.

The wounds from September 11th were still fresh. The War on Terror was ramping up. We were bickering over abortion and gay marriage. And the man leading the country was an inarticulate conservative from Texas who had “stolen the election” — at least, that’s what I believed at 13.

My friend Joe and I would snicker at W.’s accent, the way he’d mispronounce words. We couldn’t believe anyone would elect him once, much less for a second term. We laughed at this video — then the height of biting, political satire.

Looking back on 2004, the distaste we felt towards W. seems laughably quaint. In our current political environment, I almost miss the guy.

I am very scared.

None of the “experts” seem to agree on the outcome of tomorrow’s election. When I want to feel up, I check the betting markets. When I want to remind myself how close the race has become, I check FiveThirtyEight. When I want to see just how ugly we can be to each other, I check Twitter.

There are plenty of polls and models out there to cherry-pick your candidates path to victory. And if there’s any agreement among them, it’s that no one really knows what’s going to happen tomorrow — which makes it all the more frightening.

I am very scared.

Because the damage has already been done. Although we’ll likely know the results tomorrow, this won’t be over. No matter which candidate wins, the country will remain divided. No figurehead can Band-Aid over the near 50–50 split among the electorate.

Granted, this division has always existed. Our nation was founded on the premise that future generations would deal with the big, hairy questions like slavery and immigration. That led to secession and the Civil War less than 100 years later — the height of our nation’s schism.

With time and distance, we convinced ourselves that things were getting better. That we’d been making steady progress toward the liberal ideals of true freedom and equality for all. That we were all on board. Now, that conviction has been dispelled as the illusion it’s always been. The issues never went away, they were simply pushed below the surface.

This political season has exposed our nation as it truly is — and it’s not pretty.

I am very scared.

Because I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said 100 times before. Because I’m just reiterating a view that’s popular within my social circle. Because there are plenty of people who look at the same set of facts, 45% of people in fact, and come to a wholly different conclusion. And they’ll take that conclusion all the way to the polls tomorrow.

I’m not so blind as to think I’m changing anyone’s mind. I’m not so stupid to think everyone wanted to read this article today. I am well aware that no one joined this newsletter for political opinions and that some people may leave. I intentionally have been quiet on the election for the last 12 months that it’s occupied the public conscience. I want the Monday Memo to be a place of creativity, positivity, and safety — not a place of stress, fear, and negativity.

The truth is that I didn’t want to write an article this week. I’ve been too busy following the political forecasts. I’ve been too scared to do anything creative. This is the moment my American (and non-American readers too) have been anxiously anticipating for months. It’s all I can think about.

I don’t have any creative advice this week. The only advice I can give is to my readers in the U.S., and that’s to vote tomorrow (if you haven’t already). Because if averages tell us anything, 40% of the nation won’t vote tomorrow. They’ll let the other 60% make a decision for them. And while I may be very scared of President Trump, I am even more scared of the 40% so apathetic, so disengaged, that they would let someone else make this pivotal decision for them.

Every Monday, I publish a new article that will help you get inspired, master your limited time, and build sustainable creative habits. Drop your email below for inspiration.

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