The Blog

How long can I feel happiness and existential dread at the same time?

It looks like a win. It sure as shit FEELS like a win, and Imma soak up this feel for a while yet. (And I’ve already rolled up my sleeves and pulled out the checkbook to support Senate runoffs and county-level organizers in states who are eager to build up their community political infrastructure and keep this movement…moving.)

I’ve already lost friends because I refuse to not celebrate, because my celebrating in my own spaces is somehow hurtful to them but their direct mockery of me four years ago–also in MY spaces, as comments–was totally okay, because standards are only unfair when they’re affected…but I digress, as one does.

I’m as stressed as I am happy, and I will be until December 23, or such time before then if the GOP’s use-the-machinery-against-itself long con finally succeeds and we end up with an unelected dictator for four years minimum and become the world’s laughingstock forever.

How I can be thrilled about the projected numbers, the historic turnout, and successful re-enfranchisement efforts etc AND still be terrified it won’t last? Two words: electoral shenanigans.

The presidential part of this election ain’t over until the Electors vote & their votes are recorded–and that won’t happen for entirely too many days for my peace of mind. There’s many a slip twixt ballot box and inauguration stand, and I know too much history to be sanguine about the state of our union right now.

Here’s a handy timeline for the clown-car slow-motion shitshow that is our Electoral College system, courtesy of the Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/biden-wins-electoral-college-trump-511b69134b9120a2f114e6781a54da84

And if you were thinking, “Hey, this seems unreasonably complicated and unnecessary,”as you read it, you’re right! The Electoral College was specifically designed to keep the election of our president LESS democratic. (If you’re thinking, “AP, pfft, fake news, you are possibly in the wrong blog.”)

I’ve had a soapbox labeled “amend away the fershlugginer Electoral College already, FFS” under my desk for decades.

BUT I DIGRESS.

The AP timeline doesn’t tackle allof the potential issues. So. Here are some are important dates in my hope/fear timeline:
1320 November, 2020. Most states will announce their certified official vote tallies from the November 3 election during this window. Until each state announces its certified, official results, the posted vote totals are provisional, subject to litigation, recounts, and general fooferall.

Now, there are literal books’ worth of laws protecting vote counts from fraud, and thousands of eyes from both parties on the tallying at all times. Organized fraud just cannot long endure where paper ballots are used and their count is being watched by many people. Sadly, there are whole swaths of the US where electronic ballots can still…vaporize.

BUT. With the exception of the Georgia recount (which I have no faith will end any better than Florida in 2000) I expect the system will cough up certified totals reflecting the projected ones. So. So far, so good.

BUT! (there’s always a but, alas)

14 December, 2020 is when the Electoral College votes are cast, and no state’s popular vote matters a hill of beans until the Electors cast their votes according to rules that vary from state to state. And the potential for the Electoral Vote to go wrong is both real and flatly terrifying.

Litigation and challenges are already in progress, and challenges could easily go to the current Supreme Court, which has recently abandoned any pretense of judicial impartiality and bent the term ‘originalism’ to translate as ‘whatever we want it to mean.” And some members (Hi, Bret Kavanaugh!) support hella wacko positions regarding the interpretation of Bush v. Gore from 2000.

There’s a non-zero chance state legislatures in up to 17 states could nullify the will of their own electorates. It’s slim, and based on a questionable technicality (here’s an article on it: https://www.lawfareblog.com/state-legislatures-cant-ignore-popular-vote-appointing-electors ) but any non-zero chance of a big decision reaching our current Supreme Court is enough to give me nightmares.

23 December, 2020: Electoral votes must be reported and certified by this date. So. If we get this far with a Biden/Harris victory intact, that will make for a very nice “the sun will return” solstice present. If we do not, I will angry, I’ll be sad that I’m witnessing the suicidal death throes of American democracy, but I won’t be shocked.

January 6: The Electoral votes will finally get tallied in Congress and the results are announced. By the Vice President. I plan to watch C-Span.

20 January, 2021: Inauguration Day. For someone.

I’ll be riding this hope-fear swing pretty hard for 71 more days.

IN THE MEANTIME, to keep my mind off All The Things I’ll be finishing Sharp Edge Of Yesterday, (November is National Finish My Fucking Revisions Month!) then tackling the first draft of Ghost Town because I hate leaving projects unfinished, and setting up Sharp Edge for publication.

That’s all until later.

I will not look away.

I’m really trying to stay off Twitter, Facebook & news sites until I get to work late on November 4. It’s dipping my brain in pure stress for no gain. Nothing I read can affect my vote. I voted last week. Nothing I see will make me think better or worse of anyone supporting candidates whose explicit political goal is to make me an un-person.

(I am willing to discuss incendiary topics calmly and rationally. Honestly, when it comes to support of Trump, I have QUESTIONS. But the chances of online or on-screen hyperbole and insult changing my mind? Not high.)

There’s no reason to watch the process unfold from here to the finish.

But I keep peeking, like a little kid watching a scary movie with her hands over her eyes. it’s like watching a really big, dangerous weather front move in. Like a derecho, or a sandstorm, or a blizzard. The disaster is so huge it’s visible from far off, so huge it seems motionless until you look away, and then BAM it’s crept up on you, the horror is there, it’s blowing down your walls, toppling your castle, burying you alive.

The socio-political scene in the United States is as bad as it’s ever been in my lifetime, and I don’t expect it to get better. I mean that not in a “I don’t expect it to get better soon,” kind of way, but in a fundamental “something big is gonna break and a lot more blood will be spilled before things improve” kind of way.

I can’t say, “before blood is spilled,” because that’s already happened. It’s been happening for as long as this country has existed. And no, I don’t expect the country to erupt in flaming chaos overnight everywhere no matter who wins.

In fact what worries me most is not that the current outbreaks of violence are organized or that they’re extremist right OR extremist left. What’s terrifying is that much of the violence is NOT extremist. It’s violence BY the state, normalized, supported and encouraged by vocal supporters OF the state. Who vote.

All the false equivalencies and “both sides-ism” being thrown around are signs that this time, things are a little different. It pains me to see so many intelligent people I know so focused on the basketball game of “regular politics” that they are failing to see the great big gorilla waltzing through the game while people on the sidelines loot the box office and kill the staff.

Sorry. That analogy kinda got away from me. ANYway.

To all my acquaintances who fear we are doing a replay of Russia in 1917, that if Democrats win majorities that they’ll be stripped of their fortunes by a leeching leftist state, dragged out of their dachas by leftist antifa, and hauled off to re-education camps if they dare to voice conservative ideas…

I submit that we are actually in a rerun of Germany in the 30’s

Hitler was elected. He was all about law and order and bringing back prosperity. To some of the people. The right people. Good, everyday, law-abiding people who believed that

I really hope I won’t be living in 1930’s Germany after this election. I hope that at least one more time, the system creaks along towards correction.

Free and open elections are one of the few things the USA got more or less right, back at the beginning. In most ways we have never lived up to the democratic ideals we hold to be self-evident. I mean, it’s right in the Declaration of Independence that only all MEN are created equal, and on top of that insult we committed the injury of engraving in our Constitution that idea not all men were, in fact, men, that some were only worth 3/5ths of others.

But we got elections more or less right in concept. (Our execution has not been good, and since 1929, it’s gotten progressively unprepresentative, but that’s not what this post is about.) Then along came television, and the internet, and now somehow we’ve managed to forget how the basic process of having a bunch of people cast ballots and then counting those ballots even WORKS, to the point where people can believe that not knowing the results instantly means the result is wrong.

FFS, THINK about it. Why do we wait until late January to inaugurate the new President if we know who it is back in early November? Sure, orderly transition and all, but 12 WEEKS just to prepare?

Nuh-uh. There’s that long delay because it took time to count ballots and declare official winners. Every. Time. There are rules about when and who and how ballot counting happens. It can’t be rushed. Now imagine how long it took to collect and collate it all before computers. How long it took to transmit those results from place to place BEFORE telecommunications.

Yeah. Elections ain’t over until they’re over, and this time, no matter who wins, it’ll just be the beginning of a long next act.

I’mma go work on a stories with protagonists who are good and gentle folk who want to do better even after they’ve been beaten down and done bad things, stories where they achieve victory through cooperation and kindness in a world where none of those things are valued.

So, yeah. See y’all on the other side of this bit of history.

Cute panda included for de-stress purposes
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Getting this off my mind so I can write other things

Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is losing whole nights of sleep going over and over social interactions in your head because you can’t process whether a negative comment was friendly joking or brutally condemning.

RSD is never friending anyone on Facebook because you can never know if you’ve already tried and they deleted it because they don’t like you, and the thought of being That Persistent Pest makes you want to curl up and hide forever.

RSD is putting on a good face and knowing when to laugh and minimize even though there is NO SUCH THING as friendly teasing for you. It’s being battered to pieces by casual commentary at parties and then going home to cry and swear you’ll never socialize again.

RSD is ghosting entire groups after any hint of disapproval — whether real or internally-generated/interpreted — because you’re obviously a monster who has nothing good to contribute and everyone else will be happier if you never participate.

RSD is cherishing the rare, patient people who make the effort to pursue relationships strong enough to make the joy of friendly teasing possible. It’s feeling infinite gratitude to those who understand trust is infinitely delicate structure that has to be built and rebuilt, that language matters, that honesty matters.

This is a shout-out to everyone in my life who trys to understand why I can weather open, honest criticism & conflict all day long, but minor remarks, joking judgments, and it-doesn’t-matters can create crushing internal pressure.

This is a love note to all the friends who take the time to be gentle with me in conversation & patient with my need for explicit clarification and framing. You re the best and my appreciation is boundless & endless.

Also I wanted to see if I could write a post in second-person without shriveling up into a ball of self-doubt. Go, me.

Ooo! Also, here are BUTTONS for places to buy my books. (SOON I WILL HAVE A WAY TO BUY THINGS VIA THIS SITE)
The latest “improvements” to the WordPress post editor are mostly a royal PITA, but they did add a bunch of fun toys.