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The day after the world ended

I wonder what it feels like to wake up the day after an Apocalypse. To the people convinced that 2012 was coming, what did it feel like to wake up on December 22, 2012, and still be alive? No flaming comets, no polar shift, just life as usual.

What does it feel like in a cult, to go to sleep thinking that aliens are coming to destroy the earth, and to awaken to the birds chirping the next day?

But I think that I know what it feels like. Politics trigger that same apocalyptic hysteria. I have supported losing candidates in past elections. And if you know anything about how polarizing politics –  stoked by the media – can get, you know the feeling of the demise of humanity. When a winning candidate steps on stage and gives their victory speech, the Antichrist has Risen. The Apocalypse has arrived.

Campaign season. You’ve spent months in this brainwashed haze, you have suffered humiliating defeat, and you fell asleep in a world where everything is wrong.

Then comes the most unusual moment of all: the next day. You wake up, and the world is still there. Life lives on. The earth hasn’t stopped turning, and it hasn’t been devoured by flames.

The lucky ones are able to take the trauma of the loss and channel it into beautiful personal growth. They walk away from their cults, they stop reading the Conspiracy theories. The successful ones disconnect from the media and from a process they cannot control.

And they live. 

Boy do they live, because they see how much passion and emotion can exist in them. They take that raw, explosive energy and channel it into themselves instead of Emmanuel Goldstein on TV. Every cup of coffee, every meal they eat, each moment with their family is a little better, sweeter, more happy.

Or they die.

Not physically die, but they lay in self-pity, lamenting the cruelty of the world. Mourning a candidate who wouldn’t bat an eye if they vanished tomorrow. They waste away in anger and fear.

Dear friend, politics does strange things to us. It takes perfectly reasonable people, and converts them into angry mobs. Otherwise normal parents, friends, and co-workers, become unrecognizable. Some even unbearable. The loss of their candidate is not the outcome they want, but like Batman, the outcome they need.

Tomorrow is another day. It’s up to you to choose if you want to live in a dystopian post-apocalypse, or a world in which the sun still rises, the birds still chirp, and the coffee is still pretty damn good in the morning.

Also published on Medium.

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