Panic, of course, stems from fear. It also entails a certain loss of perspective, a degree of obsession. I confess to it.
Some days are worse than others. Usually the trouble starts with a visit to Nate Silver’s electoral polling website FiveThirtyEight (Avoid it at all costs.) I became addicted to the site after the conventions in July, when my nephew pointed to his computer screen with a celebratory, “Hey, come look at this! Hillary has an eighty percent chance of winning!”
I liked looking at the numbers then. I looked every few days. Then, as the lines on the charts grew closer together, I started checking every day. Now . . . well, we won’t talk about that.
Today Nate posted an election update entitled “The Case For and Against Democratic Panic.” His conclusion? “I don’t know.” Well, I’m way out ahead of him. And I’m not alone. I read a fascinating article in Slate this week quoting therapists who describe an epidemic of headaches, nightmares, insomnia, and digestive problems caused by Trump’s candidacy. Here is one of the many sentiments expressed in the article that captures my feelings exactly:
“Liz hasn’t agreed with past Republican candidates, she says, but she didn’t think they would ‘ruin my country, or cause civil war, or cause World War III.’ But her fear also stems from her incredulous realization that so many of her fellow citizens inhabit a reality that barely intersects with her own. ‘I can no longer see where they’re coming from,’ she says of Trump supporters. ‘I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone.’ Even if Clinton wins, she’s terrified of Trump’s followers responding with violence.”
The woman quoted above is not the only person I have heard utter the words, “civil war.” It is the easiness with which this has happened that scares the pants off of me. One day you think you know your country — yeah, there are racists and people with anger problems and there’s evidence on Twitter that thousands of people have lost all civility — but, still, we are in America and we will work it out. We have a democracy and we have people like Bernie Sanders.
Now I just don’t know. If Trump loses and calls “Rigged!” I could be in physical danger for the bumper stickers on my car.
Speaking of the Twilight Zone:
This week on my Facebook page, a “friend” whom I don’t really know (relative of another person I don’t know well) went whacko on my actual friends. When I posted that I was worried about the polls and heading to New Hampshire to work on the election, I got a lot of “you go, girl!” and “thank you” and “go for it!” responses.
And then up pops this woman. A conservative “Christian,” who drops in Jesus references here and there. She begins with sarcasm, descends into rants about Hillary murdering diplomats in Benghazi/the Iran nuclear deal/ISIS/Obama being a “muslim sympathizer”/email email email, and ends up by calling my friends “ignorant hater . . . insane fool . . . liar . . . ISIS sympathizer . . . revolting moron.”
Her main sources of information appear to be (her version of) Jesus and Fox News: “As for Jesus, he did cause a stir among the politicians of his day because he told them the hard truth that they didn’t want to hear.” (Presumably like Trump.) And this: “Fox News is the ONLY major news media who even attempt a non-biased approach.” No comment.
She did own that perhaps Trump is “a bit of a wild card,” but still better than HRC because she is “pure evil.”
And here, in case you missed it, is an astonishing video of another denizen of the Twilight Zone, claiming that there was no racism before Obama came along:
So: when today’s word prompt of “panic” came up, there was no question what I would write about.