Everything is going to be okay, really.
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Regardless of who wins the presidency, the world will not come to an end, despite what pundits, PR spokesheads, propagandists, doomsayers, the media, or your crazy uncle says. Here are three things I hope will help you sleep at night, regardless of who you support.
Headlines are Bullshit
All the headlines that say that the economy will implode if Trump takes office, or that American will be overrun by Islamic terrorists if Clinton is elected are bullshit. The reason is simple. Headlines are designed to sell papers or get you to click on links. They’re marketing designed to trigger an emotional response that will earn revenue. Always have been, always will be. There may be some small elements of fact or research based truth in there, but any claim to absolute truth about the future is nothing but speculation.
We Have A Robust System of Government
There is a reason the United States was set up with a 3-branch system of government… so that no one part can overwhelm any other part. No matter how much you hate Clinton or Trump, and no matter how incompetent or corrupt you think they are, if they are bad at their job, it will be one and done. If they are really, really bad, they’ll be impeached and removed from office.
Congress will overrule any truly moronic thing they may try to do. If they are unable to do so, it doesn’t necessarily mean the system is broken, it just means that the particular issue isn’t as clear cut as you think… in other words, other Americans don’t feel the same way you do.
We can’t succumb to the thinking that it is okay for the branches to become imbalanced because this time around it benefits a favored ideology. If the office of President has become too powerful, having a bad president will expose that. We can not allow party affiliation to become more important that supporting a healthy separation of powers.
Now, I’m not saying that things couldn’t get very bad in the short term, whether it is a gridlocked Congress or ineffectual, disastrous foreign or domestic policy, or a partisan Supreme Court. No denying that. But it is in the best interests of the politicians to not let the wheels come off the cart. Partisan bickering carried too far will endanger their careers and futures, and motivated self interest must eventually kick in. So having a terrible president will actually expose the weaknesses in the system, and will force a correction.
The People Still Have The Power
About that robust system of government we have… yes, our elected officials can gerrymander and vote their own pay raises and do all kinds of fuckery disguised by pretty rhetoric. The Supreme court can become partisan due to even more executive/legislative fuckery. But. BUT, states still have power. Lower Federal courts can and still do function as originally intended, and bottom-up action is not only possible, but is one of the most powerful tools the founders of our nation endowed us with.
Just one example–the legalization of marijuana. Despite the fact that it is still classified as Schedule 1 controlled substance by the Federal government, citizens of several states have made it legal for medical and in some cases, purely recreational use. And the President couldn’t stop it.
This is huge. Some people may blow it off (excuse the pun) as pothead idiocy, but that would be missing the larger point… the fact that citizens decided to exercise our power of self-determination… and won.
The preamble of the Constitution starts with the phrase We the People. Not the Entitled Nobility, or the [insert name of group] Elites. We. Us. All of us. Every special interest group. Every individual. Rich and poor. Black, white, yellow, and brown. Family on the Mayflower, or fresh off the boat. Educated or ignorant. We are the government. We are who the government answers to. We are the ones the government serves. We determine what taxes are owed and what the money is spent on. As long as we remember this, we can make a difference. As long as we hold on to our ideals and not succumb to fear and cynicism, we can make a change–regardless of who is in the Oval Office for the next four years.