The End is Nigh by John Erickson


John Erickson, sports, coming out.When I was a little boy I was terrified that I would live to experience the end of the world.  Whether it was by an asteroid, Y2K, or a zombie plague, I would make myself sick by picturing these horrible things that could befall me and my family.  Although I was a precocious child, the crippling fear that would lurch its way up my stomach and into my head would sometimes make it impossible to sleep at night.  While I like to think I grew out of that phase, I now sit here feeling that way again.  I’m crippled with fear that the end of the world is at hand and there may be nothing we can do to stop it.   How will the world end? No, it isn’t Lucifer himself coming from hell to bring in the end times, it is someone far worse, and his name is Donald Trump.

By the time you’re reading this post, the first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will have occurred and, no matter where you look, the aftermath will haunt us for weeks to come.  We will either be sitting here, coaxing in the sunlight that Clinton has, in proper fashion, just goaded Trump into revealing to the 100 or so million viewers that will have chimed in to viewing how completely dangerous he truly is, or will we be scurrying to uncover decade old bunkers that were used during the 1950s and the Cold War to take shelter from the fallout to come should, Donald Trump become the next President of the United States.

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

However, as I sit here and write this, I wonder what levels of prognosticating can I accurately do?  I predict Trump will make sexist remarks, act totally unhinged when fact-checked by either Clinton or the (Republican) moderator Lester Holt and, most likely, use the phrase “believe me” more than a Second Great Awakening circuit preacher.  Or, will he be muzzled, refrained, and attempt to, in his own particular fashion, act Presidential.  To be honest, I do not know which version of Trump scares me more; the unhinged or the hinged Trump.

I’ve written about Clinton on this blog before, during her primary battle with Senator Bernie Sanders.  I have never seen so many comments, masked with faint hints at sexism, coming from people that I not only respect but also thought would see the ultimate test that she (or Bernie) would have to face: Donald Trump.  Comment after comment called into question many of her policies that, should she had been born a man, would have made her qualified, tough or a skilled General not afraid to make the difficult decisions.

Having read her book, Hard Choices, I can honestly say that I do not think I have ever studied or investigated a candidate that was more qualified to serve as President; and when the current President backs that up, you have to begin to question what your real motives are for not voting for Clinton, and potentially giving your vote (which equates an endorsement) to a third party candidate or worse, simply not voting at all.   Countless times I have had to discuss that this election, although it really comes down to good versus evil, is the most important election that you or myself will vote in (yes, I know, some of you reading this see no difference between Trump and Clinton) for the next twenty or so years.  Ask yourself: do you really know what you’ll be losing if Trump is elected?

trumphill_third

For me, this all boils down to one thing: my nieces and nephews.  I worry about them constantly.  I worry about what they watch on TV, what they’ll read for the next 8 years, or whom they will look up to or what horrible things bullies may one day say to them.  While I was home in Wisconsin this past weekend, I sat down to have a quick bite to eat at one of my favorite establishments.  I opened my book and began reading to only overhear a man and a woman talking about Clinton and Trump and how they were completely torn.  I turned around, apologized for intruding into their conversation and began to speak to them about why they felt they couldn’t vote for Clinton and what it was about Trump that put them on the edge as well.  Their answers were about character and what they really wanted their grandchildren to go up experiencing.

I quickly went over the list of the things Trump had said not only about women but also about people with disabilities and, people in general and asked: Is that the person you want your grandchildren growing up and seeing as the President?  A man that calls women bimbos, mocks a person with a disability in front of thousands of people, and frequently calls for violence against non-white individuals?  I shared with them that, for me, it was about my two nieces (and my two nephews) but more so my nieces, growing up during their formative years and seeing a woman holding the highest office in the land.  Yes, she isn’t just any woman but, a woman in my opinion who is more qualified that anyone ever to hold the office of the Presidency.  This race is about the future that they grow up in and one where I hope people will begin to more readily recognize the inherent sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. rather than encourage it from the oval office.

Before you cast your vote, please make sure you think about the future; please make sure you think about the boys and girls that will grow up in a world with President Trump versus President Clinton.  Think about that little boy, petrified, standing here now as a grown man worried about the end of the world not because his candidate could lose, but because the person that could win, has a very good chance and ushering in the end times as we know it and ending any type of progress that has occurred in the past 8-years.

Whatever you do, make sure you vote.  Make sure you sit there and think not only about yourself but also the U.S. Supreme Court, women’s rights, LGBT rights, communities of color, education, or the countless other topics that will be greatly impacted by the outcome of the November 8th election.  If you do anything, think about the world we have now and the world you want to be in 4 to 8 years from now and ask yourself: is a protest or no vote really worth the bleak world we may get as a result of it?

If you’re on the fence, please reach out to me; let me know what your issues are and we can speak about it in the hopes of coming to an understanding of what the future could hold for all of us.  I can be reached via email at – ericksonjohn1985@gmail.com or on Twitter @JErickson85.

No matter what you do, make sure you vote on November 8.  It will be the most important thing you do not only on that day but also for years to come.

John Erickson is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History at Claremont Graduate University. He holds an MA in Women’s Studies in Religion; an MA in Applied Women’s Studies; and a BA in Women’s Literature and Women’s Studies. When he is not working on his dissertation, he can be found at West Hollywood City Hall where he is the Community Events Technician and works on policies and special events relating to women, gender, sexuality, and human rights issues that are sponsored or co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood. He is the author of the blog From Wisconsin, with Love and can be followed on Twitter@JErickson85

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18 replies

  1. Thank you for this post, John. As I have written here before, I supported Bernie in the primary and will vote for Hillary in November. I know many Bernie supporters who will not vote or who will vote for a third party candidate. They consider this vote, or refusal to vote, an act of conscience. What I want to say to them, and may reiterate in my October post for FAR is what you have said so eloquently: “Make sure you sit there and think not only about yourself but also the U.S. Supreme Court, women’s rights, LGBT rights, communities of color, education, or the countless other topics that will be greatly impacted by the outcome of the November 8th election. If you do anything, think about the world we have now and the world you want to be in 4 to 8 years from now and ask yourself: is a protest or no vote really worth the bleak world we may get as a result of it?” Thank you! Arms around that terrified boy who has become an eloquent, brave man.

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    • I could not agree more and that is exactly what I use when talking with people that do not want to vote for her. I do not talk about the candidate but rather the issues. Thank you for your comment! Hopefully, we can rally up more votes in the crucial states!

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  2. Hillary is qualified to be president, Donald is not. However, her foreign policy is hawkish or neo-con. She will not create change in US foreign policy, reduce the military budget, or lessen the influence of the military-industrial complex. She was known to have been to the right of Biden and Obama when she was Secretary of State. I too have great anxiety about the possibility of a Trump presidency. However, I do not consider a vote for Jill Stein in a state that is reliably going Democratic such as California to be a betrayal of anything. It could be a vote to create the hope of an alternative to US foreign policy. I respect those who may make this choice in states that are not “in play.” It does not seem likely that enough people will do that to sway the state to Trump. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-california-presidential-general-election-trump-vs-clinton

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    • Carol – Jill Stein? Really? Here are some articles you should look over before making public endorsements of her.

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/07/27/jill_stein_is_not_the_savior_the_left_is_looking_for.html

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/07/27/jill-stein-is-anti-science-bad-for-the-environment-and-deserves-her-anti-vax-label/

      http://www.rawstory.com/2016/08/jill-stein-says-its-dangerous-to-expose-kids-to-wifi-signals/

      Although Jill Stein never had a chance of making the debate stage (average polling is a required 15%), a vote for her or Gary “What is Aleppo” Johnson is making a significant impact on polling as well as certain state results. In head-to-head matches, Hillary’s numbers increase versus Donald, but in a four-way race, they shrink. These people, when given the chance to vote for these other candidates, actually do hurt the over chances of certain candidates, mainly Clinton. Let me also remind you, Gary is a Republican. He may call himself a Libertarian but he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He LITERALLY said that he would kill himself rather than vote for either Hillary or Trump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlDgh6WM-Cc)

      Additionally, you’re right: a vote for Jill or Gary in a state like California won’t do much. However, a vote for them, say in a state like Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin…well, those people better think good and hard before making a vote that could cause a repeat of 2000 election.

      Sadly, I think I said this before in regards to a post about Hillary and a comment you made, saying that her US foreign policy is hawkish, etc. is veiled in some form of sexism. If she had the exact same policy and were a man, I highly doubt anyone would be saying this and instead they would be saying that she is a skilled general of our military forces.

      A vote is an endorsement and voting for Jill or Gary in ANY state goes beyond what I would consider a sane choice in an election like the one we have before us now: Jill – “Keep WiFi away from children”; Gary – “What is Aleppo?” <—Does he even know what foreign policy is?

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  3. Very well-written and thoughtful analysis. I’m Canadian and have no vote, but watching the debate yesterday sent shivers down my spine. Glad to read such an intelligent piece on the whole matter. I’m a Ph.D. Student too (in Toronto), but likely moving to Claremont next year. Hoping for a better world by then!.

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  4. John, I have those fears, too. I had them before Dubya was appointed president, but we survived him. But Dubya was merely (???) led by Dick Cheney, whom Pence has vowed to copy. But The Donald? He’s immeasurably scarier. I watched the debate last night–he stood there and made faces, he interrupted, he bullied Holt, he tried to bully Clinton (she wouldn’t let him). He lied and spoke in his usual circles. Is that how he would act in meetings with the leaders of other nations?

    My blog on Sunday will be about The Donald.

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  5. Is there any movement in the US to move beyond the First Past the Post election system to a more representative system?

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  6. John: Thanks for the great post. I almost had to laugh, though (wryly…) since I had an anxiety attack myself in the middle of the night two nights ago, worrying just as you did. I can relate!

    I’m not taking any chances. Although, like Elizabeth, I might have preferrred Bernie, I’m voting Hillary. “Realpolitik” wins.

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  7. I don’t think any state is “safe” for a third party vote for president this year. I am remembering that California once voted for Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Prop 8.

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    • I could not agree more with you! Once you open the floodgates, it is extremely hard to close those proverbial doors to stop the flood of destruction that a Trump Presidency would cause!

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  8. John, thanks for the question, I probably won’t ague it very well, but basically the candidates can’t change the system, and that’s where the problems often arise. So you vote for someone, but not in a context of your own perspective quite often. Let’s look at Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump? Neither one is much of a choice — it’s the system in place that rules ( in the case of the USA, that would be capitalism.) .And of course that’s not the fault of the candidates either, nor do they have the power to change that system — and what would that change look like? I’ don’t know myself.

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