It’s the night before the election and I don’t know what to do.
I voted. I editorialized. I unleashed swarms of reporters — well, two, anyway — into the wild to bring back the truth of these races.
I’ve done all I can, I believe. But I still don’t know what’s going to happen. And the events that transpired back in 2016 loom in my mind. I don’t take hope for granted anymore; it comes along infrequently enough.
I had my first COVID-19 test today — a long swab up my nostrils, no big deal. Fifteen minutes later, they told me I was negative, and safe to go to work tomorrow. Had it gone the other way, I would have been stuck at home while the world moved along without me.
My art director isn’t so lucky. We won’t be seeing him around for at least a couple weeks.
It’s the closest the coronavirus has come to me so far. The day before the election.
It’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. She came into the world on the night George W. Bush was re-elected. I watched the results come in with disgust right around the time I snipped the umbilical cord. I didn’t vote that day. Never again.
I’m going to try to get some time with her in the morning, before the gears of the election machinery start to smoke and whine, and then I’ll tuck my notebook under my arm and leave with an apology.
I’ve been apologizing to her a lot since the start of the pandemic.
Tomorrow I’ll mask up and hit the polls, keeping an eye on my texts and Twitter, alert to any shady dealings. I’ll be looking for candidates and voters who want to talk, gauging numbers from the bellwether precincts, keeping an eye out for Trump trucks and douchebags in tactical gear.
I know at 9 p.m. we’ll have hard numbers for the 4.5 million North Carolinians who have already voted. I know that’s only a few hundred thousand shy of the total vote in 2016. I know that high turnout rarely favors Republicans. And I know that hope can be costly.
It’s the night before the election, and I don’t know anything more than I did when the whole thing started. But for tonight, I’ve done what I can.