Who will we be tomorrow?
See you on the other side of the 2022 midterm elections
Tomorrow is the day. And yet, it is more likely the start of an agonizing period of waiting for finalized election returns. In 2020, they took two weeks. In light of the slate of election-deniers put up this cycle, this might take much more time. The longer it goes on the more bullshit we’ll all have to contend with — cries of victory when there isn’t one yet, shouts of cheating, calls for re-counts, and countless volunteers, lawyers, judges, and talking heads hanging on every ballot. Get your calculators ready. And your patience.
Tomorrow we may see some results; we may not. We know about 41 million Americans have already cast early votes, and according to The Washington Post, the number of early votes through yesterday had already surpassed the early-vote total from 2018. Of course, that was pre-pandemic. The whole game has changed. The pandemic made early voting and vote-by-mail more popular than they ever have been. It also changed some of the norms, traditions, and standards that once kept democracy functional.
So tomorrow will be a day of watching how the process itself rolls out, even if actual results are not in the cards — or on our screens — by primetime. Will voter rights be respected? Will they be intimidated? Will poll workers be safe? Will people keep their cool or not? Will we see long lines and hopeful districts come out in droves? Or will we see an annoyed and exhausted electorate lose their shit with a system that has been trying to shut down and shut them out since the last time at this rodeo?
Tomorrow is an important concept in American politics. It is when things change. It is when the moral arc bends. It is a brighter day. It is the essence of hope. But, to be honest, tomorrow scares the shit out of me. Because there is no promise it will be any of those things. This is no regular election. This is a test of and at the very core of who we are. Or who we purport to be. Can we assemble our people and have them raise their hands (um, pencils) to make a choice about their future — or can’t we?
The world is watching to see which path America will choose. Will it demonstrate its process peacefully? Or will it succumb to the chaos inherent in most human systems? Will it…