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    Post-Trumpmatic Stress Syndrome Survivors Guide

    By Andrea Shorter–

    Every vote counts. In this 2020 presidential election, more than ever, every vote represents a fighting chance either to stay or change the course of America’s destiny.

    We either remain governed by an impeached, COVID-19-affected president who wills to bend, break, and corrupt everything and everyone within his reach to his own selfish benefit, including, as he has been telegraphing for months, prematurely and falsely declaring an election night victory and threatening legal challenges to the continuing vote counts across the country not tumbling into his electoral college favor; or, we elect a mature adult, experienced pro-democracy leader who is literally on a mission to save America’s tattered, yet resilient, soul from being swallowed by the fear, hatred, animus, grievance, racism, and corruption stoked daily by a hellbent, incumbent autocrat.

    With the least democratic president in history ridiculously and dangerously
    staging his own coup, every one of the recorded breaking estimates of
    160 million plus votes cast must be counted. Every vote must be counted
    towards a resounding mandate for change, a clarion call for democracy
    over demise.

    As the battle wages on in the count as of this writing, anxieties over the
    results and the consequences of this election remain high. No matter the
    outcome, America must find a way towards healing.

    Let the healing begin.

    Post-Trumpmatic Stress Syndrome certainly feels real, a phenomenon that will take a great deal of collective and individual work to get through, past, and eventually beyond four years of emotional turmoil, assaults to the psyche, and wounds to the soul. Deep wounds. There are not enough pharmaceutical products, cannabis strains, or deep tissue massage therapy to soon soothe away the high anxieties, pain, and strains inflicted by the 2016–2020 bloody reign of #45.

    While it will be a long process towards personal and societal recovery, there are a few things that need to happen right away to start restoring our common sense of humanity that has been so carelessly and brutally battered and bruised by serial trauma.

    For the love of God, let science be our co-pilot. Let science guide the way to combat and control the spread of coronavirus. Leaders who do not believe that science should guide policy and best lifesaving practices in response to this deadly virus should not be allowed to do, well, pretty much anything. Perhaps they should not be allowed to travel by airplane, train, or automobile. They should put down the Viagra and toss out those smartphones, because, newsflash gasp, the wonders of science make each of these daily modern conveniences work. They were not designed by, or work by, miracle, prayer, psycho cybernetics, elves, or sorcery. It’s all science.

    The politically inconvenient truth and necessity of objective science-based response does not make the pandemic crisis and its impacts less true, nor less necessary. With nearly 10 million cases of COVID-19 among Americans and 1,000 people dying daily adding to the death toll of nearly a quarter of 1 million dead within 9 months, please let science take the wheel.

    Get households and small businesses the continued financial aid and relief they need now. The breaking point into 2021 is the point of no return for far too many already hanging on by a thread.

    Reunite the 540 plus detained Mexican and Latin American children with their parents. We must address sanctioned terror to literally rip children from the arms of their parents at the border as a planned deterrent against migration of brown people into U.S. territory. The damage done to these children and their parents is unspeakable, unbearable. This policy is not who we are nor should aspire to be. It is cruel, fascist, and therefore unconscionable. We will never be anywhere near close to any idea of being made nearly whole until we reunite these families.

    Accept that there is no going back to “normal.” In fact, as the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 have further exposed and heightened longtime racial and economic disparities, let’s not look to recover backwards, to the normalities of inequities as status quo.

    Instead, let’s embrace the challenge of imagining what a recovery forward might mean and look like if we resist accepting as status quo the disparities, inequities, and discord that neither constructively nor productively serve anyone particularly well. Yes, the causes and systems that create and perpetuate inequities are complicated, run deep, and appear to some as seemingly insurmountable.

    Addressing the numerous social, economic, gender, racial, justice, and other inequities highlighted over this year alone will obviously require and demand a different political will than recently experienced. The record-breaking tens of millions of early voters is a strong signal that perhaps we are more prepared than ever to fight for a new, better vision of what we can be as we work to recover forward.

    Voting for our lives at the failed leadership response to this pandemic was also voting for a better way forward, not back to normal. Hold on to that thought. We’re going to need it as an antidote to Post-Trumpmatic Stress Syndrome.

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights and marriage equality. A Co-Founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    Published on November 5, 2020