I woke up to the news of the mass Republican conquest on TV. Shaking my head in denial, I thought, Is this for real? Had this actually happened overnight? No way. I must still be dreaming.
Apparently, the citizens of my reliably-blue home state (Maryland) had elected a Republican -- Larry Hogan -- as the new Governor. And adding insult to national injury, the GOP had taken full control of both the Senate and Congress.
This can't be, I thought. I need to wake up.
I gave myself three or four good smacks on the cheek. For a brief moment, the ensuing pain routed the panic from which I was suffering. But, after a few moments upright and a few more slaps, I was just in pain and pissing myself off.
Indeed, I was awake. And on the television screen: a sea of red across a map of the United States.
I shuffled to my desk and flipped open my laptop. So, the unfathomable has happened, I thought. We let down our guard and an army of privileged, clueless, money-hoarding, white men got through. But how?
I logged onto Facebook. Sure enough: a barrage of angry posts about the election outcome. People were mad, mad, mad.
Except for one gal. I'll call her "Mal."
While everyone else expressed their shock and dismay over the election results, Mal was bragging about how she hadn't voted because: Democracy is a sham! and Your vote doesn't count anyway!
As was likely her intent all along, my attention (and the attention of several others) was snagged.
Now, I've known Mal since we were kids. And she's well-aware that I've put a lot of heart and soul into LGBTQ activism over the years. A Republican takeover is bad news for the queer community, especially when progress maintenance is on the line, let alone pushing ever-onward. Therefore I was offended by Mal's blatant insensitivity and disregard.
But then it occurred to me: Who was I to hate on Mal when, in 2010, I didn't even vote in the midterms either?
In fact, the most notable population missing from the polls both this year and back then?
How ironic, right?
But it's true. That's because young people/progressives/liberals often don't show up for the midterms. According to a Harvard survey released last week, in the 2010 midterms, "less than 1 in 4 voters ages 18 to 29 voted in the 2010 election."
And according to a blog posted by The Washington Post, "at least five [celebrities] who appeared in the [Rock the Vote] PSA -- 'Girls' actress Lena Dunham, comedian Whoopi Goldberg, 'Orange is the New Black' actress Natasha Lyonne, 'Rich Kids of Beverly Hills' star E.J. Johnson, and actor Darren Criss -- did not vote in the last midterm, records from Los Angeles County and New York City show."
So because this trend continued yesterday, this is what we can likely expect from the new GOP-run government:
• A nationwide promotion of "religious liberty" protection.
• Immigrants being deported by the thousands, many of them back to violent home countries.
• More war, more war funding, more lives lost because of war.
• The defunding of Obamacare.
• The continuation of the war on women and women's rights.
• Continuation of global warming denial.
Guys, it looks like we're about to learn a hard lesson.
None of us should go back to sleep.