Curtain Raiser

Time for That Sinking Feeling, Colltalers

As Nov. 6 gets closer, and our second-guessing, self-doubts increase, some of us are already taking steps to protect themselves from the utter heartbreak and disappointment that may follow Election Day.
A number of us go through certain rituals, to preserve their ability to get up the following day, and the following, and the following. Such rites may include even a forced temporary sense of fear from the outcome.
Just like experienced performers, these wise souls trigger an inner mechanism, that allow them to go into panic mode on command, and act as if they’re already facing catastrophe. Such complicated and elaborate exercise is not for the faint of heart, to be sure.
But it’s a well-honed ability to anticipate, under a controlled environment, near the same anxieties and potentially disabling feelings that may greet the big day, with one notable exception: they make it all ‘happen’ way before the actual date.
That way, they feel confident about weathering the storm, coming the deadline, without the risk of shutting down and being unable to function or even react to the possible bad news. Apparently it works for them.
Many a stage professional have vouched to such a clever emotional device, even if they too are aware that it’s all just a simulation, and ultimately can’t come close to the thrill of reality, the shock of something actually happening in the real world, out of our control.
About that world. However you may choose to go about this time, one thing is certain: its impact may go way beyond the two main events of the period, the playful Halloween frights, or even the mega-storm that’s supposed to hit the eastern seaboard between now and then.
We’ve all been here before. What we’ve holding with confidence, suddenly is at risk of completely lose its strength, and we may be left with a cold uneasiness inside, a sentiment of dread and reluctance to face the fact that all may go terribly wrong.
But be it as it may, most of us will have plenty of time to commiserate about our lost opportunity, from the morning after it to at least four years afterwards. So, whether preparing yourself well or not for that moment, there’s very little we can do at this point.
See, for Halloween, you can just go out and get yourself a nice costume. For the storm, if it does indeed hit, you can also get prepared for the best of your ability. It’s for the presidential election that whatever you may have done, will be it for now.
That’s why this week we’re proposing a vigil of sorts, which will serve both to prepare us for the worst, and also to remind us that, at the end of the day, we’re really all that we’ve got. So we may as well count on each other for support, because we’re going to need it.
We wish, of course, that we could be more optimist and, at this point in time, have more confidence that we really did all that we possibly could to make sure those who drove this country to a deep economic ditch, and got away with it, wouldn’t at least return to power.
But alas, many in this country have already forgotten. Some are no longer part of this equation. And others are simply too busy surfing, switching, texting, and playing, to even remember why they should care. It’s up to those of us who’re losing sleep over it.
Despite refusing being Pollyanna about the future, though, we’re not prepared to give it all up just yet. And if they ride back to dominance, it won’t be on our broken backs or through the skin of our teeth, that’s for sure.
There was a time in America that the press was free, and our politicians not so wealthy, and our corporations not too powerful, and a multitude of grassroots movements and so-called minorities owned the streets.
We owe to a coalition of passionate groups of women, blacks, gays, latinos, unions and students many of the things the rest of the world once cherished and admired as typically American: equal opportunity, civil rights, freedom of expression, democracy for all.
If it all seem to have gotten away from us, if we can no longer consider ourselves free, and capable of getting better, and have equal footing in the decisions that affect the nation, if opportunities seem now to be fewer and far in between, at least one of them is fast approaching.
Perhaps a good scare, thinking that things may actually become even worst than they are already, may do us all good this week. We certainly hope that you haven’t lost neither your nerve nor you faith in the future. Have a great one. WC

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