The election and everything that happens next is the biggest source of anxiety in my life right now. And I know that’s true for a lot of us. As a Black, queer woman, I’m well aware of what happens if Trump wins again. My life will only get infinitely harder. But at the same time, I know a lot of my fears won’t magically go away if Biden is elected either. No matter who wins the election, I fear retaliation from the right. They stand the most to gain and also the most to lose, however this plays out.
No matter who wins the election, racism isn’t a thing that’s going away overnight. You can’t fix a 400+ years long systemic problem with one election. I’m very aware of that. But I also know that things can get a little bit better or a lot worse. Biden isn’t perfect when it comes to dealing with systemic racism. He has some potentially good policies about beginning to fix systemic inequity. But his position (or lack thereof) when it comes to dealing with police brutality leaves a lot to be desired. Again, this isn’t a problem you can fix with one president. But at least he has a plan, even if it’s not great.
Trump doesn’t even think there’s a problem, so he definitely doesn’t have a solution.
I will say that no matter the results of the election, I will still fear for my life as a Black person. The last four years has allowed people to wear their racism proudly than ever before. Obviously, it’s always been an issue, but when the president is out there openly discriminating, of course people feel they can say whatever they want too! When you have the leader of the country calling Black Lives Matter “Antifa,” (which isn’t even a real thing, JFC) that’s creating open season for Black people. I’ve seen white people say that BLM is a “terrorist organization.” Actually it’s an organization fighting against the real terrorists in this country.
If Trump wins again, I worry that white people will be even more boldly racist and violent. They’re already pretty bold, but who’s going to stop them if he’s still in charge? He will incite them. Encourage them. I’m afraid that I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time and something bad will happen to me. That the cops will target one of the Black men in my family and I’ll get a call that my father, brothers or nephews is dead. And even if Biden wins, I’m afraid that these same racists will just be lurking. The same racist cops will still be patrolling the streets. I’m afraid there will never be peace because of the anger white men will carry. It rocks me to my core.
Hate over how the election plays out is my biggest fear. So much hate has been brought to the surface in the last four years. Even if Biden wins, it doesn’t just magically go away. Those people won’t just fade away quietly as if this whole administration never happened. They will likely be so damn angry that their way of life is, once again, being called into question. And it’s anyone’s guess to how that plays out in the streets. Are they going to create militias and patrol the streets? The violence and harm would be unimaginable.
I live in a neighborhood full of minorities. Right now, it’s very safe. But who’s to say that these angry people won’t try to infiltrate our neighborhood to spread their hate? My family is absolutely a target. My girlfriend is a white woman who dresses in a masculine style. Even though my son looks white, he’s mixed race. It’s clear I’m his mom. What if something happens while he’s with us?
My girlfriend and I are planning on getting married next year. And now with the SCOTUS being majority conservative, it’s scary. We genuinely worry that if we don’t hurry, we won’t be able to. Justices Thomas and Alito have already stated that undoing marriage equality is something they aim to do. And now with the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, it’s a thing that can actually happen. Our entire future is now in the hands of people who don’t think we deserve basic rights. This is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. And because some people don’t agree with our love as two women, they’re going to do everything they can to take our rights away. It’s the definition of deplorable.
On top of all that, we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re being as careful as we can without being in total lockdown. But there are still plenty of people out here not wearing masks or social distancing and carrying on like COVID is a hoax. Whoever wins the election will certainly impact how the COVID response continues. If Trump wins, you can’t tell me he won’t just pretend this is all over and tell people to go back to normal. Cases will continue to surge, people will be out of work, no financial aid will be dispersed, our kids won’t be able to go safely back to school and healthcare workers will be beyond overwhelmed (because they already are.)
Black people are getting sick and dying in higher numbers. I’m a healthy person, but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to this sickness. I’m the sole breadwinner for my family. What would happen if I was too sick to work?
To make matters worse, all of my family and friends live on the east coast. My parents are elderly and neither are in the best health. If everything reopens before it’s safe to do so, I worry that they’ll get sick and die. And I won’t be able to get to them because it’s not safe to travel. If Biden wins, I’m hopeful that he will listen to science and we will have more hope of getting to the other side of this.
But then I worry about all of the people who think this whole pandemic is a joke. If people refuse to comply with CDC guidelines, there’s only so much that can be done. Will they comply with the rules if masking continues? Or will the COVID Karens continue to wreak havoc on everyone and jeopardize the safety of our communities?
Nothing about the election is normal. We’re all sitting in this weird pool of anxiety, fear and a sliver of hope. But for many of us, especially those of us who are marginalized, this fear is always in the front of our minds. That fear won’t go away if Biden wins, but it will give us that sliver of hope.