Letters to Myself: Election 2016 Edition
Dear November 2017 Liz,
I hope this letter finds you well. I know you’ll stumble across it next year when it pops up in your Facebook ‘On This Day’ notification. If you’re reading this from Lisbon, the worst has happened and Donald Trump is President of the United States. However, I hope you laugh that last sentence off because the far more likely thing happened and it’s been a year since you voted for America’s first female president.
Just to be on the safe side, I decided to write to you both. To both versions of me? Ugh, get ready for some pronoun shenanigans.
(It also helps get my NaNoWriMo word count up for the day. Remember when I thought that was a good idea?)
Dear Darkest Timeline Liz,
In some ways, I envy how easy it was for you to make your choice. Yeah, our internship might have ended in December 2016, but that just meant you didn’t have to put in your notice. You just started applying for jobs in Portugal on November 9th. Funny that you had to leave the States to finally become an English teacher. The pay may not be that great, but the cost of living is nowhere near as insane as Silicon Valley’s, so Lisbon works for you.
Did Jim start Portuguese classes the week of the election like he said he would if the Orange Menace won? I worry. It’s one thing to say he’d go with you, but it takes a lot to pack it up and move to another country where you don’t know anyone or speak the language. Maybe he got some tips from Pai.
Speaking of which, I wonder what our parents think of all this. They grew up under a dictator, but they lived in a bit of a bubble so they don’t remember much about it. Silicon Valley is a far more comfy bubble than the Azores under Salazar ever was, but I still wonder if their childhood made it easier for them to cope with America under Trump.
I hope Steve’s okay. He’s a better man than me, sticking it out instead of getting the hell out. As a gay man, he has more to lose. I hope he’s still teaching his students to believe in the promise of America. He’s always believed in that promise, with far more conviction than we do. After all, he stayed and we left.
How do you cope with being away from the twins? I’m sad whenever they don’t come by for the weekend. I feel like they grow so much in two weeks. I can’t imagine having to watch them grow up via Skype. Or did Debby and Michael leave too, because they couldn’t bear to raise daughters under President Trump?
Do you miss home? Do you worry about being priced out of being able to go back? Or are you content? I just hope that you’re happy.
Dear Liz That’s Far More Likely To Be Reading This,
What I hope for above all else is that you read this and laugh at how worried I was. Have a good chuckle about how I’m overreacting.
Did you enjoy that? Good. I hope you’re happy. I know you’re proud to see a woman you have always admired, a leader you’ve based your personal leadership style on, in the highest office in the land.
I worry, though. (Though let’s face it—we’ve always been a worrier.) The past few elections left behind an afterglow of hope. This time around, I spent the eve of the election dreading the post-Trump backlash. It feels inevitable. Tell me I’m wrong. Is Scalia’s seat still vacant? Please tell me I’m wrong. Has she been impeached? For the love of God, I better be wrong about that.
Really, I just hope that the President of the United States doesn’t have much impact on your everyday routine, as has been the case for most of our life. I hope you’re not worried that even though a woman is president, you’re watching your nieces grow up in a far more openly misogynistic country than you remember from your childhood. If we must be robbed of our joy of seeing Hillary finally break that glass ceiling because we came so terrifyingly close to the alternative, let us at least be relieved that poisonous rhetoric of this election is behind us.
I hope the little things that worry me now, like finding permanent employment and a roof to live under that doesn’t belong to our parents, have been resolved. And even if they haven’t been, it could still be worse. At least you’re not the Liz from the darkest timeline, right?