Perspective and Other Mythical Constructs.


The skies are clear. I have exhaled all the way. My fists are unclenching and the tightness in my chest is disappearing as I inhale. And now, the work begins.


Well... that's that, then.

The election is, as they say, all over but the shoutin'. (More on that later.)

It turns out my fear and anxiety were largely unfounded. It took longer than it usually does, but the process played out in an otherwise typical fashion. Votes were cats and counted. Pundits played with electronic maps, color-coded to the tribal hues that signal the ascendancy of one candidate over another. Excited voices talk fast as their owners zoom into electoral maps, closer and closer until they are giving the electoral history of the shed out behind farmer Peter's chicken run (which hasn't turned blue since 18-dickety-6).

Everyone watched the vote counting with breath that could accurately fall under the heading of "baited" but there were no eruptions of medium-to-large scale violence as I had worried. There were a few incidents and skirmishes, but no more than is usual for a boisterous exercise in American democracy.

The election was close. At least... the election looked close. Especially in the first few days there was a ratings-friendly neck-and-neck-coming-down-the-home-stretch quality to the proceedings that slowly faded away as the challenger slowly but inexorably amassed more and more of the 270 electoral college votes he needed for victory. Until suddenly, he did.

Saturday was joyful. They announced the victory in the middle of the day here on the east coast. There were celebrations in the streets. Less exuberant here in the Sunshine State than in other, more metropolitan environs, but real and vital nonetheless. We watched on the television and through social media as the news rippled out through the country and everyone just breathed for what felt like the first time in months. Years, for some.

Technically, it's not over. There are legal challenges and recounts ahead. The current occupant of the White House shows no sign of acknowledging his defeat, though his recourse feels insubstantial. Ineffectual. The outcome no longer feels in doubt.

I still worry, of course. The contest was close enough and the defeated is casting enough corrosive doubt on the legitimacy of the voting process that there will be some percentage of Americans who do not believe that our president deserves power; who will see him as a usurper. I worry about what these people will do during the next four years and I still see a deep fracture at the heart of this country. Stochastic violence feels inevitable, although for now most of the country seems to be either celebrating their victory or wallowing in their defeat. Those in the middle that keep me at night are being relatively subdued and quiet.

The skies are clear. I have exhaled all the way. My fists are unclenching and the tightness in my chest is disappearing as I inhale.

And now, the work begins.

Subscribe to Semantic Drifting

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson