Election night reflection

It’s 1:49 a.m. on the night of the election (technically the morning after the election) and I can’t sleep.

I tried to distract myself with homework. I tried to distract myself with mindless TV. I tried to distract myself with old videos of Bernie Sanders.

I know that the official results won’t be out until later tonight at the earliest, likely by Friday or after.

But I can’t sleep.

There’s a part of me that knows that I’m privileged enough that maybe I’ll be safe in Vermont. I’m a young woman of color, but I could be safe here. I hold a lot of privilege that many people in this country do not.

And still, I’m afraid.

I’m not just afraid for myself – I’m afraid for all Black, Indigenous, and people of color, I’m afraid for everyone who identifies on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, I’m afraid for immigrants, I’m afraid for women, I’m afraid for people with health conditions or disabilities.

It feels like everything is weighing on this election, and beyond that, I’m worried about what happens after. When I went out to the polls today, a lot of people mentioned normalcy, and the hope to return to that after this election.

What is normal now? What will normal look like after this election?

Pandemic aside, social unrest across the country hasn’t stopped. And it will only increase after this election, regardless of who wins. It doesn’t seem that either side of the political spectrum is willing to simply accept defeat this time around.

Maybe you think I’m being dramatic, but that’s how I see it.

I’ve seen countless tweets tonight urging women and people of color in particular to stay in during these days after the election. To keep themselves safe.

Maybe you think they’re being dramatic too, but it doesn’t feel like it to me.

Part of me feels like this doesn’t apply to me – I’m in Vermont. But Castleton and Fair Haven and West Rutland all voted red in the 2016 election. By small margins, sure, but I can still feel that presence.

Part of me wants to make myself quieter, smaller, less outspoken, less noticeably different.

It’s past 2:00 a.m. now, and I’m considering it.

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