Four Years Later, Election Day is Darkest Timeline Déjá Vu

A sign sits in a snowy sidewalk that reads 'Everybody Sucks: We're Screwed 2020'.

Four years ago we, the 93%, all lined up to cast a vote for a white woman we were moderately excited about. Many of us felt the dread seeping off the other possible candidate, and resigned to suck it up and vote for not-Cheeto Satan. Truly, we couldn’t fathom our current set of unfortunate, illogical, highly incompetent circumstances.

We’re in hell. We’re in the Upside Down. This is the darkest timeline. A friend of mine believes the rapture has happened, and we’re the Left Behind. So, you know, there’s a ton of viable explanations on the board.

Black nonbinary woman sits in a car after voting. She's wearing a blue shirt with black letters that spell out 'History has a way of repeating itself itself itself, and a white facemask with a 'I Voted In Dallas County sticker.'

You can’t see it, but there’s still a little scowl.

The whole globe is reeling from a viral pandemic that’s marked our generation, devastated economies, and forced us into cautionary solitude. We’re learning new expressions of grief, as nearly 230,000 of our family, friends and community members have died from COVID-19 and old ways of mourning are far too dangerous. The police are still happily killing black folks (I’d say haphazardly, but it’s exactly what they’re trained to do) at a higher clip than post-slavery and Reconstruction, and our cries for justice and humanity are just putting more targets on our backs.

We’ve waited four long centur- years for the chance to vote out this administration, and the day finally comes this Tuesday. I tend to early vote, so a week ago I waited an hour and 15 minutes, masked up in a line that wrapped around my local library. I wore a shirt that said “History has a way of repeating itself itself itself” because thinking about voting for Joe Biden put the same bitter taste in my mouth. In 2016 I was #TeamIGuessImWithHer, this year I was a mix of #TeamSelfPreservation and ‘There’s a Black woman VP on the ballot.’ Instead of reading all the candidates’ names, I fixated on Kamala Harris. Clicking on her name did not, in fact, cast the vote because racism.

Let me take the time to say here that if no one’s told you, please prepare for nothing to be decided on Election Day. Between 45 suggesting vote counts should stop at midnight and the (also illegal) back and forth about mail-in ballots, Tuesday is gonna make the 2000 Election/Florida debacle wince. Call it Bush v. Gore Returns with A Vengeance or The Man’s a Facsist Candidate! with John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett reprising their roles as spineless legal lackeys.

Like I said four years ago when I angrily voted as self-care in a Black Panther hoodie and scowl, I’m still only worried about the folks who’ll feel the need to ‘defend businesses’ or ‘spark civil unrest’ no matter what the results say. Many are itching for a second Civil War and doing whatever they can to get it poppin’. So as important as Election Day will be, the days after should be on our radars, too.

What are your election night plans? Over here we’ll be eating charcuterie boards and actively avoiding watching the final collapse of American democracy. Cause trust me girl, it’s gon’ take all week.

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Princess McDowell is a poet, writer and journalist from Dallas, Texas, and Rebellious Magazine's Special Projects Editor. She's also a cohost of the Feminist Erotica Podcast. As a writer-in-rebellion, Princess reviews graphic novels. She can be reached at princess.mcdowell@gmail.com