I’ve been watching a lot of you panicking about this election, and I’d like to help you, so please hear me out on this. To be honest up front: I’ve enjoyed watching the mass hysteria this election has started. I don’t like the reports of riots and physical violence obviously, but all of the panicking, all of the crying, all of the calls for impeachment and assassination s before the guy even gets in office, all of the fear and anger behind the riots, all of the despair and wailing about how the world is ending and we’re all gonna die; all of this has been among the most hilarious and satisfying entertainment I’ve had in a while, mainly because of the kind of people this is affecting. However, there are a few people I do care about that have also been swept up in this blender of emotional destruction so for those guys I’d like to share a story, which hopefully helps give you more of a sense of clarity:
I remember when I was around 5 years old, and the oven in the kitchen had this analog timer on it. And when the timer ran down, it would emit this screeching buzz that started pretty low, but would eventually get as loud as an oncoming jet engine (again, I was 5, though I did live under the LAX flight line). I was utterly terrified of this timer. Every time it went off, I would (sometimes literally) drop whatever I was doing, and either try to shut the timer off before it got too loud, or run screaming out the door into the backyard as far as I could get from the kitchen. And no amount of coaxing or yelling or threats my mom used could get me back in the house until the timer was turned off. I can still hear that sound to this day, it was terrible.
One Saturday afternoon my dad witnessed me running into the backyard after the timer went off. And what he ended up doing was forcing me to sit at the table in the kitchen and turning the timer on. He made me sit there for almost a full hour (I think that’s as long as it would run), and would not let me up from that chair no matter what. I of course was scared for around 10 minutes of it; thus was something that literally had me running out the back door after all. But after 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40, minutes, I started relaxing, my fear slowly being displaced by boredom and annoyance. By the time I was releases I was so happy I was allowed to turn it off, not because I was afraid of it, but because I couldn’t stand the sound of it any longer and I wanted to something, anything other than sit in a chair and stare at a fucking oven. And from that point on up until we moved, whenever it went off, instead of running outside, I ran to shut it off, and to this day if I ever hear it, just the annoyance factor will invoke the same response. In other words, my irrational fear of an otherwise harmless caterwaul was replacing by a rational displeasure of it.
Why am I telling you this story? Because for many of you, what you’re feeling right now is the result of the object you were told to fear should it come around is here. For the last 2 years or so, you were told that Donald Trump was every leftist insulting name they have. That he was racist against Mexicans, Muslims, and other assorted brown people. You were told he was a sexist asshole that assaults women. You were told he stole money, fucked over his employees and business partners, and doesn’t pay “his fair share”. You were told he was an inept egomaniac that is so unstable he would start a war over Twitter. You were told that anyone that supports him, even in passing, was as hateful as him. And should he become president, we would be the laughingstock of the world, we would lose all of our rights and social progress, the stock market and the economy would tank, the country would be destroyed, women would be raped and murdered, and you personally would be set on fire, in your underwear, in front of your loved ones, while they laugh at you.
And now that he has been elected, all of the people that believe all of this are losing their minds, because to them, the monster in the closet has come out and is now face to face with them, and they have no idea what to do. “Impeach him!”, they say. ” Shoot him dead!” “Move to Canada!” “Riot in the streets!” “Scream, make noise, shout down and attack anyone that supports him!” ” Do something, ANYTHING, BECAUSE IT’S DOOMSDAY AND WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!”
Look, I’m not telling you to like Trump. I’m not telling you not to dislike him either. What I’m trying to get across is that this reaction to his election, whether founded in truth or not, is completely irrational and outright dangerous. The things you were told were evil and destructive were told to you to evoke the emotional response you are having right now. What I’ve been telling you has been happening to you is coming out in front of your very eyes, and I’m here to tell you, today, this must stop. Much as I like watching you people squirm and scream, the more you allow this to continue, the more destruction you bring upon innocent neighborhoods and business, the more civil unrest you bring amongst your friends and neighbors, the more unhappiness you inject in the relationships you have with your loved ones and, worst of all, you continue to show that people can be controlled by negative speech and media spin and outright lies that appeal to your sense of emotion. And that, objectively, continues to make the world a much worse place.
I had to grow up at some point. It was unpleasant to say the least, but it was necessary, and I dare say I am much happier today than I was when I was 5. It’s time for you to grow up as well. Maybe all that you fear will come to pass; maybe the country will be a smoking radioactive crater that cannibalizes women and gays and minorities and immigrants to fuel the new war machine guided solely by Trump’s twitter feed, it could happen. But look at the people that told you that would happen, and what they told you that was proven wrong: they were wrong about him winning the nomination, despite almost every poll saying he would lose the election, and despite using every weapon they had to make him look like Hitler 2.0, he still beat them. And these are the same people that have manufactured your hatred and fear for him. Are you really going to let what they told you make you panic when for the past 2 years almost everything they said was wrong? Are you really so unwilling to take agency for your own thoughts, feelings and emotions, that you’re willing to accept the lies of the corrupt to write away the responsibilities of your actions and your mindset?
Like I usually say: I’m not here to tell you what to think. It’s your business how you take the news of Donald Trump winning the election. You are completely free to panic if you wish. I only ask you to look at what you’re giving up when you do. Like your happiness, your agency, the time you spend worrying when you could be loving your family, fixing problems in your life, and having a great time with friends. Chances are if you are panicking over this election, you’re someone I would care little before, but even people like you have people that care about you; don’t put them under that kind of pressure, they don’t deserve it. Again, I can understand if you dislike or even hate him; like I said, I still hear that timer to this day. But as much as I still hate that timer, I realize the fear I had of it was stupid, unfounded in fact and sparked irrational hatred that made that lowly timer a literal monster in my mind. I grew up from that. It’s time you do the same.
It’s time to stand up, face your demons. And when you do, look it in the eye and say “… What are you so afraid of?”
Whether it’s a real monster or not, isn’t that an answer you might want?