Election Eve, 2020.

Tomorrow is a big day for America, and that is just fine.

We have been through a lot together these past few years — and by “past few years”, I’m not sure if I mean the last four years or the last two hundred. We’ve really packed in the history, in a relatively short time compared to the arcs of many nations and/or empires.

And yet, the way that we are all collectively acting, you would think tomorrow is a doomsday. You would almost forget that this is the America that rebuilt Europe, that created the atom bomb, that drafted and enacted the Bretton-Woods system and also the Great Depression. This is the nation that had slavery and the civil rights movement. This is the nation founded on indigenous genocide and also created PEPFAR and walked on the moon and created the telegraph. The things we have been through, the depth of our character, the nuances of our history, and the scrappy determination to keep trying (trademarked 1776). And yet. Politics would have you thinking that tomorrow is our doomsday. Bitch, please.

Fearless women: a time-honored American tradition.

To be fair, it’s not wholly unexpected. Along with the aforementioned, this is also the nation that gave the world Survivor, the Real Housewives, Road Rules/Real World, Big Brother, and — ahem — The Apprentice. We are the world leader in sensationalism, in glitterati, in drama. We thrive on the adrenaline of feelings; we are addicted to the rush of high emotions. Throw in a Star Wars-esque “I’m the Light Side of the Force and those who disagree with me are the Dark Side” either-or mentality, and we have a perfect recipe for a very tense Election Day.

But if we could all just take a breath.

George Washington. Pictured here taking a breath (probably).

One day is not going to make or break us, as a nation, as a people. One day is not the pinnacle of our society. Because that’s not who we are, as Americans.

Americans keep dreaming, keep inventing, keep trying to do better, keep trying to improve. We keep striving for a better way of doing things, for the next big idea. We keep fighting and struggling and learning… even if we might whine quite a bit while doing so. Even if we are sloppy and dramatic and mean and petty while doing it. (We did, among everything else, invent social media, so there you have it.)

We have gotten things very right and we have gotten things tragically wrong. Historically wrong. Shamefully wrong. But as Americans, we keep trying.

Whatever the outcome of this election is, please don’t fall prey to the narrative that one day determines the character and soul of this great nation. America is a beautiful, amazing, flawed, learning, growing, idealistic, democratic force of a country, and her soul is that of a people that are resilient and decent and principled, a people that — no matter how many times in history we find ourselves in utter disagreement — will keep trying. Our fights are worth fighting, our truths and ideals and principles are worth… well, all of it. Our truths are worth everything.

Tomorrow, whatever the election results, I am proud to be an American; and I will never stop trying to be a better American. And that’s who we are, and that’s worth remembering.

Happy Election Eve 2020. See you tomorrow.



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