I have been flipping between CNN and MSNBC since 8 pm. I have pulled up about 4 forecasting sites and two news sites as I follow every report of this presidential election. Watching the votes come in has been a nail-biter. With every state that they call, I take a sip of wine. Some sips are in celebration. Some in agony of the outcome. I have already had two glasses of wine with a third one in my future.
My nerves are shot. And by the looks of Facebook and Twitter, so is the rest of America's.
I am not certain of the election at this juncture, but what I know for certain is that no matter the outcome, on November 9, 2016, America is going to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
We throw that term around a lot, but in less than 24 hours, at least half of America is going to come face to face with its effects. The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. America has had too many experiences – tragedies seeped in racism, classism, gender inequality, religious oppression – where we have experienced or witnessed terrifying events.
As a black person in America, I am terrified. Terrified that the leader of the free world will be a man who is neither considerate or respectful of my race or gender. More importantly, I am terrified that the people who voted for him will be considerably more comfortable displaying their own prejudices. I am fearful that the country is about to be a very scary place to live. I can imagine that Muslims and Hispanic Americans may feel the same way. I am equally afraid that at least half of America will not care about the real danger that the other half of the populous faces when homophobia, xenophobia, negrophobia and hispanophobia are rampant.
Here's the thing. I also know that half of America is afraid that the government will take away their jobs and continue to increase their insurance premiums. The other half of America is afraid they won't be able to operate their businesses because of the strains and taxes placed on them by the government. I know that they are afraid of the moral and ethical direction of our country should Hillary Clinton take office. I know because some of these people are my friends. They've openly expressed their fear. They've shown me their insurance premiums.
Regardless of who wins tonight, when we wake up tomorrow, we have got to find a way to heal. We have got to find a way to peacefully coexist. We can not allow our country to take a step backwards. We've got to keep pushing the democracy forward, no matter the odds. Operating as a divided nation only makes us susceptible to dangerous outside forces.
Tonight, President Obama said it best:
“While we've seen some new things this time around, what isn't new is that the democracy has always been rowdy and raucous. We've been through tough and divisive elections before. We've always come out stronger for it. So whether your chosen candidates wins or lose tonight, let's all agree to stay engaged and push ourselves to do even better. Most importantly, not to see each other as Democrats and Republicans, but fellow Americans.”
No matter who the president is, the sun will rise in the morning. Let's try to make the best of it and work to heal our differences.