If you haven’t already voted by mail as we all do here in Napa County, or if you’ve sent in your absentee ballot, then good on you. If not . . .
. . . Stop reading right now and find out where your polling place is and make a plan for tomorrow. If you can’t get to the polls, I promise you there will be a local volunteer who will provide transportation. Not registered? Don’t assume it’s too late: your state may be among the ones that could allow you to register on Election Day itself and vote with a provisional ballot, which is 100% better than not voting at all. The New York Times has a handy guide of voter registration rules for each state.
Actually, I’m confident the people who read this blog take their obligations as citizens seriously, wherever they live. The struggle for many of us isn’t voting, it’s dealing with the crushing dread that election day elicits. Still feeling bludgeoned by the last time, many of us approach the voting booth like airplane crash survivors boarding their next flight.
So, dear reader, I advise taking all necessary precautions to see that you get through the day in reasonable shape. Call this my election day survival guide.
Once you have voted, be kind to yourself. Take care to titrate your dosage of TV news and election returns. I suggest no more than five minutes every two hours, and nothing within one hour of bedtime. Much better to Netflix The Haunting of Hill House instead. You’ll sleep better, and you will need all your reserves to deal with the day-after analyses that will be coming at you like a blizzard from pundits who have spent the past weeks avoiding predictions and are now eager to reveal their brilliant hindsight.
Go about your usual routine as best you can. This is a good day to enjoy your favorite comfort foods; for me, that will mean a humble but satisfying repast of tomato-basil soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.
With an adult beverage. This is not the day to be a teetotaler. Just don’t overdo it.
Throughout the day, take short meditation breaks. Sit somewhere peaceful, surrounded by nature if at all possible. Pay attention to your breath and not to your Twitter feed. In fact I encourage you to avoid social media altogether, with the exception of cute kitten videos, which you are free to consume as needed.
Doesn’t that feel better?
All joking aside, it takes guts to participate in the political process on any level these days. But if we don’t, we could lose the opportunity altogether. It’s horrifying what’s happening already in Georgia and North Dakota.
One of the very few upsides to the current ugliness of our political landscape is that it shatters our illusions, such as the assumption that our ability to vote is guaranteed, a done deal. If we can vote, we must. No matter what.
So thank you for getting out there and doing your duty, and if you have any tips for managing political angst, please share them. We are all in this together.