Morning After


As I write this, the results of the election are still unknown.

Which means most Americans are experiencing some level of anxiety. And if you’re the kind of person who loves to sit in front of Fox News or MSNBC or CNN, absorbing their collective stream of fear-mongering bullshit, it’s likely your anxiety is off the charts.

Nobody knows when the final results will be announced, let alone if they will be challenged in the courts. But, at some point in the near future, we will know if Donald Trump is back or has been replaced by Joe Biden.

And it will be over.

Some will be elated. Others despondent. Some will feel reassured that the Republic for which we stand has been salvaged. Others will be convinced that democracy, as we know it, has come to a grinding halt.

Sadly, we may see violence, perpetrated by small groups from either side of the political and cultural divide, calls for civil war, or anarchy to right the mythical wrongs that have been heaped upon them, thinking that they speak for “us.”

And, if you’re the kind of person who loves to sit in front of Fox News or MSNBC or CNN, you will continue to absorb an even greater stream of fear-mongering, misinformation, and talking-head dribble that will further fuel your already off-the-charts fear and anxiety and self-righteous anger.

But, here’s the one thing I am certain of: after it’s over, the VAST majority of us, will get up the next morning. They will flick on the coffee maker. They will get the kids out of bed and crank up the toaster for those Eggo waffles. Some will go to an office, others will move to their make-shift home office. Some will go to work in fields or factories, some to greet shoppers at Wal-Mart,  some to save lives at hospitals. Some will wear masks, others won’t. Many will pray. Some will make love. Some will take a walk to absorb the sunlight and morning chill, in an attempt to cleanse their psyches.

We will go on, some more slowly and fearfully than others. But it’s how life works. Gradually, and through the sublime simplicity of our everyday lives, we will (yes, some grudgingly) learn to appreciate that everything changes, the nothing is permanent and that, in the larger scheme of things, with the exception of casting a vote, we have no way of controlling the world around us.

In this spirit, I leave you with a quote from Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl survived Auschwitz, where the rest of his family perished. He, like other survivors, experienced horror that none of us could even begin to imagine. And, he came out of the experience with a life-philosophy that we should all take to heart as we wake anew each morning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”