GETTING READY FOR ELECTION NIGHT
“Plenty of treats. I’m thinking a fresh bag of Feline Greenies™ for myself,” Cat said. “I suppose you’ll be satisfied with a generous supply of Milk-Bones™, the multi-colored variety pack, in which the treats are distinguished by whether they’re infused with Red Dye #1, Yellow #5.”
“That’s not exactly what I mean,” I said.
“Well, you're right Phoebe. It probably will be a long night, so maybe an extra blanket for me in front of the TV,” Cat said. “I’ll speak to the Nice One about a freshly laundered one. You, of course, will be on the floor with your filthy dog bed.”
“Still not what I mean.”
“Fresh batteries for the remote?” Cat replied. “Although I don’t know how much channel shifting we’ll be wanting to do. I think we should lock in on PBS. I mean, they all basically share the same databases. So it’s a matter of whether you want Big Three mannequins reading the Teleprompter, or you prefer the stranger-looking ones on public television. Personally, I like….”
“Stop it, Cat,” I said. “By being prepared, I mean getting ready for the worst – getting mentally ready for the Democrats to lose Congress.”
“Well, the Senate has always been a longshot,” Cat laughed. “But the House, as in the United States House of Representatives, switches to control of the Democrats. Let the hearings begin.”
“Wrong again, Cat Breath,” I said. “We have to consider that the Democrats lose the whole shebang, Senate AND the House.”
“That’s preposterous, Phoebe,” he gasped. “Haven’t you been paying attention? The Big Blue Wave has been on its way for two years. We’ve been looking forward to this for so long. The polls show that the House is going to switch from Republican to Democratic control. The only question is by how many seats.”
“The polls?” I said. “The polls aren’t to be trusted. They are just guesswork. They can show some things. But not how people are actually going to vote. You might recall how on-the-money they were two years ago.”
“And you are getting all of this ‘information’ from where? Cat shouted.
“From the night of Nov. 8, 2016,” I said. “The night of the constant nightmare.”
“But that was two years ago, and everyone’s had a chance to see what a horrible president Trump has turned out to be. Five or six lies a d y. (Actually, in the last seven weeks, Trump has upped his lie-count to an average of 30 lies a day, according to the Washington Post.) Cancelling treaties. Turning back the environmental clock. Racism. Hatred. Every day a Bad Hair Day,” Cat said. “That’s what they’ll be voting about on Tuesday.”
“All true,” I said.
“Looking forward to the mid-term elections is what has kept you and me and millions and millions of Americans going for the last two years. It’s how we are able to get out of bed every morning, or in my case, every afternoon. Nov. 6, 2018. The Day We’ve Been Waiting For.”
I thought Cat was really going to shake himself to pieces at this point. So many questions: Should I call 911? Would EMTs come for someone said to be in political distress? Are today’s rescue trucks even equipped to treat a hyperventilating cat?
“They surely are all of that,” I said.
“My point, exactly,” Cat said. “Too important to lose. Think of what Trump will do with a solid Republican Senate, a solid Republican House, a solid Republican Supreme Court. He’ll go wild. The next two years will be horrifying. Having stirred up hatred for immigrants and black people, he’ll move onto everyone he doesn’t like, which will turn out to be pretty much everyone. He’ll use the military, regular police, the spy agencies. Nationalize the networks. Jail his opponents. Sell naming rights to the Lincoln Memorial; maybe change it to Trump’s Tomb. Use libel laws to finish off what’s left of newspapers. Kill all the lawyers.”
“All very likely, Cat,” I said.
“How do you prepare for something like that?” Cat asked, his voice shaking.
“By getting ready,” I said. “First, you get your mind ready, so that you are not paralyzed by fear. So that you don’t become so discouraged that you just wash your paws of politics. So that you’ll be able to move on to Plan B.”
“What’s Plan B,” Cat said, a note of hope creeping into his voice. “In fact, I didn’t know there was a Plan A.”
“Plan B is pretty much like Plan A,” I said. “Plan A was to survive after 2016, pledging to fight the Republicans any way possible, with emphasis on restoring the balance of power by capturing the House in the mid-terms.”
“Plan B simply is more advanced version of Plan A: to win the White House, AND the Senate AND the House two years from now. Keep organizing for the next races. Learn from the mistakes of the mid-terms. Give money to organizations like the ACLU. Pay for newspapers to keep them afloat. Go to rallies. Join political groups.”
“Only this time it will be harder. Trump and his drones will be twice a strong and even more in control. They’ll be meaner. More wily. Less inhibited. More dug in. More will believe the lies. Maybe, Trump will throw in a war or two, just to keep Democrats off balance, followed by authoritarian moves we can’t even begin imagine. And, of course, the odds of success will be considerably worse than they are now,” I said.
“Well, Cat said, sarcastically. “That’s all very comforting, very uplifting.”
“I’m not saying it will be easy,” I said, “just possible.”
“Only this: we don’t have a choice if things turn out just as badly this Tuesday as they did Nov. 8 two years ago,” I said.
“But here’s the reason to stay positive: There are lots of good folks everywhere, in every state, in every city and every village. They feed the hungry, care for the sick, pick up litter on the beaches, worry about melting glaciers, bleaching of coral reefs and fierce hurricanes wiping more and more places."
"They have bake sales to raise money for school kids’ field trips. They run to cure breast cancer, walk to end Alzheimer’s. They take in stray dogs, bring birds with broken wings to the vet and even rescue a cat or two.”
“But the one thing they never do is quit; they never stop making the world a better place. They won’t let their sons and daughters grow up mean like Donald Trump, or let him and his enablers ruin their vision of democracy."
"They aren’t going to stop the day after the mid-terms or two days after, not on Thanksgiving or after Christmas," I said. "And they won’t stop all through 2019, and come 2020, they’ll be ready.”
“Something to look forward to, I suppose” Cat said.
“Still,” he said, “On election night, I’d like to get a full bag of Greenies™ and have a clean blanket on the couch to watch the returns come in. And I sure would like you there with me, especially if you turn out to be completely, totally, absolutely wrong.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said.