This is a post I wrote on Election Day 2008, and that mostly still holds true today. If the political climate has you jittery, take a deep breath and remind yourself of what will still be true tomorrow.
The world is a very narrow bridge. The main thing is not to be afraid (Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav).
I know I posted that below, in my election night etiquette post. But I wanted to revisit it on this day of narrow margins and fear.
Whoever wins tonight, nearly half the country will be very unhappy and afraid when the results are announced. Will that fear lead to spitefulness, isolationism, cynicism, vengeance, Nagelism? Or will it motivate us to continue to work for the world we’d like to see?
Right now, you’ve voted, or are on your way to, and that’s all, at this point, you can do. (If you are not voting and are eligible to do so, please get off my blog.) So I’d like to open up this post for some breathing space.
In your own personal worst-case scenario after tonight, what will still be true?
If tonight brings a political nightmare for me–
My husband and I will still love each other and support each others’ dreams and have bread and cheese and wine by candlelight every Friday night.
My dog will still smell really good and will crawl up from the foot of the bed in the mornings for snuggle time as soon as he knows I am awake.
I will still live in the only city that has ever felt like home to me.
I will continue my recently renewed commitment to working out, which has made a huge difference already in my physical and mental health. (And my new iPod is on the way, so I can pump it to “I Will Survive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” to my racing heart’s content!) ["Workout Songs" playlist now up to 200. Recommendations gratefully received.]
Campari and soda will still be the most refreshing drink ever, even if everyone else I know finds it repellently bitter.
My book will still come out this spring. [It did.]
Theater and the visual arts will continue to expand, refresh, and delight my mind and heart and soul.
Dubliner cheese will still be the finest of all the cheeses, and readily available at many of our neighborhood stores.
My friends will still share ideas and jokes and trials and joys and everyday moments of grace or absurdity with me.
This Saturday’s Torah portion will still be the one about new beginnings and “overnight” changes that are years in the making. [That was 5769. This Saturday's portion is the one about Jacob and Esau, reminding us that the "culture war" has always been with us.]
I will still spend Thanksgiving with my family.
Eddie Izzard will still be funny.
“Battlestar Galactica” and “Lost” will still come back in early 2009. (And season three of “Dexter” will continue to disappoint me.) [Let's not even discuss the levels of television disappointment I was to experience in the past two years.]
People will still have social dilemmas for me to solve.
None of this means that the election is a small thing. The world is a very narrow bridge, and narrow bridges are legitimately dangerous. There’s reason to be afraid. But let’s not scare ourselves more than we have to. What will still be true for you if tonight brings your worst-case scenario?
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