By Stephen Shumaker
My change was wholly unexpected, and wildly out of character for me. I went from being slightly political to rabidly political. The closer the election came was like watching a car accident as it happened over a period of months. I watched it the same way I watch horror movies—with an anxious trepidation that becomes overwhelming if I let it.
Once the crash finally happened, and we got the result that everyone feared, I couldn’t stop watching this horror movie that had become American politics. Is that an exaggeration? I don’t think so. I turn on Rachel Maddow or Seth Meyers with the same nervousness that I feel when I watch American Horror Story or those cheesy movies about demonic possession. I want to be scared; I like that feeling, enjoy the thrill.
The difference is that this new thrill that I tune into could—and likely will—hurt the people that I love, in ways that I don’t know how to stop.
The thing that is attached to this new old thrill that I have when I watch these political shows, that I try to fight every day, is a sense of helplessness that is so deep it threatens to paralyze me. In a few ways, it has paralyzed me; writing hasn’t exactly been nonexistent, but it’s been so much harder. It’s so easy to get lost in the political mire of Trump said this, Trump did that. So much easier to watch the horror show unfolding across the country, with the latest “what our President-elect Tweeted” and the chaos unfolding in North Carolina and the attacks on people of color or LGBTQ running rampant because our incoming Chief approves such actions. So much easier to lose myself in the horror show than to focus on doing something.