As an Elected Leader, I'm 'Concerned' About the President, But I'm Sure It's Fine

R. Eric Thomas
·5 mins read
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images

From ELLE

Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

Hi, thanks for taking my call. I'm an elected leader whom you sometimes imagine has a smidgen of decency. I'm from any number of states in the "Union." I've sworn to uphold the Constitution (even the parts I hate). I was just surfing on the internet last night and I came across the video of the president refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and, I have to say, I am concerned. Wow, that was very brave of me and it was very scary to say and I appreciate you making space for this bold declaration. Yes, I am coming out as concerned. So, um, what now?

I hope you feel mollified. Even though the president's rhetoric has never been anything short of aggressively anti-democracy and over the last four years I've seen and been a party to a sharp rise of actions that are brazenly antagonistic to the American people, this last thing, the peaceful transfer of power thing, that's a bridge too far. Probably. Today. I've had enough, temporarily, and I want to yell from the roof tops (at a low volume) that I am perturbed.

Frankly, I'd even go so far as to say I'm vexed. Yes, it's that serious. One would think that agreeing to the basic tenets of our democratic process is not even step one of elected leadership, that a refusal to do so is immediately disqualifying. I am not the one who would think that but I will possibly retweet that one. Because the knives are out and like a tattered sweater, I'm frazzled.

Yes, I'm troubled. Right here in my secret bunker. I wish I could do something. And yes I could do something, like refuse to consider a Supreme Court appointee or censure the president (lol) or really anything but make a toothless statement. Yes, I imagine I could do that. So, I guess it's more accurate to say that I wish I would do something. Because folks, folks, I'm upset.

I'm feeling weirdsies. There's a rumble in my jungle. I'm bewitched, bothered, bewildered! I'd rather be dry but at least I'm alive. I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go! Something about the prospect of the president unequivocally saying that he wants to throw out ballots just doesn't sit right with my spirit. Call it hunch. But, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Sorry for spiraling. I'm sure I, and others like me who have let this behavior go unchecked for years in return for power, will definitely step up should things escalate to the point of the president refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election. Wait, I'm sorry, I'm receiving word that that has already occurred. Wow, that's concerning. Well, I'm sure that if he does anything after that, we'll step up.

People ask me "how do you sleep at night?" and I really appreciate that level of attention to my well-being. The answer is "pretty well!" but it's been a little harder with all this concern I've been having. I might try meditation. I'll let you know. To be completely honest, I do wish someone would do something. And I wish that someone was me and I wish that something was nothing.

I'm feeling a lot better now having said little and done less. Sometimes you just need to vent. Let's focus on the positive. You know what I'm not concerned about? I'm not concerned about being an active participant in a death cult. I'm not worried about being in a party so obsessed with unchecked power and rigid caste systems that not even widespread death and massive unrest will cause us to reexamine our actions. I'm not troubled about being less and less representative of the true will of the people. I'm not distressed about having to hold on to power by gerrymandering districts in such a contorted way that they look like the checkout line that snakes through the aisles of a Trader Joe's (but skips over the Trader Jose's section). I'm not anxious about being on the wrong side of history because we're just going to rewrite history anyway.

Sometimes, if I'm honest (lol), I do get a little tickle in my tummy when I realize that there are more of you than there are of me. It makes me kinda sad to think about how much harder large scale disenfranchisement is getting. I'm worried that even though we may win, we won't be triumphant. I'm nervous that while I, and those even more craven than I, will use our might and our laws and perhaps even weapons to try to push the nation back to its oppressive roots, the only place we're going is forward, though the future looks more difficult and contentious than some of you hoped. I'm distressed that even though the system fails you at every turn, you are resilient even though you are tired, and sad, and angry. I am a little concerned about that. But I'm sure it will be fine.

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