Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier managing editor
It feels like a million years ago when I watched Donald Trump’s inauguration in my senior year art history class in January of 2017. I remember thinking, “wow, the next four years before the 2020 election are going to feel so long.”
And boy was I right, with this year alone already feeling like it has lasted a decade.
But the 2020 election is officially here and happening. Of course, it’s been happening since absentee ballot submissions and in-person early voting started weeks ago. Tuesday was Election Day, and states are in the process of counting up ballots now to determine who will win the 2020 presidential election.
It’s really stressful. We’ve been told for months now that this will likely be the most important election in our lifetime. Compounded with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and an elongated period of ballot counting due to mail-in voting, the next week or so will be anxiety-inducing for everyone.
That being said, it’s important to remember what’s actually at stake in this election, and for whom. This election could have broad and dangerous consequences for all Americans, as everyone will be affected by policies related to fighting the coronavirus, climate change, healthcare and tax law. However, not everyone is going to have to face these consequences to the same magnitude. People belonging to communities of color, lower-income brackets, LGBTQ+ persons and other marginalized groups are going to be significantly more impacted by the elections and have much more to lose based on the results.
In the last couple of days, I’ve seen a lot of people, at Berry and beyond, who are white, cisgender, straight and in the middle or upper middle class talk about how worried they are about our next president. That is completely fair and valid, I’ve been doing it too. But when doing that, it’s important to remember that in actuality, if you fall into those categories, you’re probably going to be fine.
America is built and run on the success of privileged people at the expense of marginalized communities. The continued horrendous policies of the Trump administration ultimately come down the hardest on those already suffering under the United States’ fundamentally racist, homophobic, classist and ableist government and society. It’s important to remember that while stressing about the 2020 presidential election. While it is fair and valid for everyone to complain, and completely right to be worried, people in privileged positions should recognize the stress that they are feeling is nothing in comparison to those without that privilege. It’s not fair for those who will not be as affected by the election results to take up the emotional space on social media or in a relationship with their concerns, equivocating those concerns with the stress of people who could be denied access to healthcare, justice, equality and even marriage.
Over the next few days as we continue to get closer to knowing who our next president will be, remember and value the mental health of the members of marginalized communities. So refrain from posting a doomsday tweet about the world ending, or jokingly making a Tik Tok about the second American Civil War, and help diminish the negativity currently rampant on social media. Also, that sort of dire, alarmist posting, even as a joke, creates the perception that the worst will happen after the election. So, when it doesn’t, it’s going to be easier for those privileged people who aren’t as affected by the results to pretend everything is fine, and everything is going back to normal. However, in reality, marginalized groups are still being targeted and harmed.
One way to counteract this, and create a better society for all Americans, is to continue listening to marginalized voices during and after the election. Even if Biden wins, there’s work to do. Privileged people: alleviate your election-based stress by donating to causes like Black Lives Matter, the Trevor Project or other organizations aimed at assisting and advocating for marginalized people. It will make you feel better, and you can make a difference rather than adding pressure to the already repressed parts of American society. Don’t make this election all about you.