Assume The

I’m writing this on Tuesday afternoon, a fact which may or may not become important as events subsequently unfold. Nonetheless, it’s actually a day before, and I have to admit: I’m extraordinarily nervous about the way that the next 24 hours are going to unfold.

In a month that has seen the Capitol stormed by insurrectionists — a spectacle both compelling and terrifying, one I couldn’t look away from even as I felt guilty for it — I have become convinced that something bad is going to happen around the inauguration. I’m not entirely sure what that “something” will be, how big or small it could be, but I feel this almost Pavlovian dread at the idea that there’s a significant number of Americans who aren’t prepared to let the peaceful transition of power actually turn out to be peaceful.

It is, I suspect, an attitude born of the nerve-shredding last few months, where what were once assumed to be normal limits of behavior have been abandoned not only by Trump, but by his supporters, including the authorities in response to the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer. It’s especially something born out of what’s been happening in the last few weeks, with right-wing extremists openly at war with America in the name of Trumpism — but perhaps even more than that, it’s an attitude that comes from friends and family all equally expecting disaster, no matter what.

This is something I’m going to have to learn to deal with, a trauma from the past year or so — the past four years, maybe? — to process and recover from: a firm belief in worst case scenarios and expectation of only bad things. A constant bracing for impact, in response to any and every external impact.

To have anything else is to come from a position of privilege, I know; to pretend that things will be “solved” with the next administration, foolishness bordering on stupidity — it’s Joe Biden, after all — and yet, I feel as if I have to teach myself how to be optimistic again, or how to try, at least. It feels like the only healthy option.

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