Though we’ve known for four years that the 2020 US election cycle would be even more fraught than the strange and painful fall of the 2016 elections, most of us still find ourselves a little disoriented these days. For some, the urgency to remove Trump from office has immobilized us. For others, it’s fortified us into action to get out the vote and to sway those who are undecided, apathetic, and reluctant.
In the final five weeks before the election of a lifetime, we asked writers to consider the undecided voter and contribute compelling arguments and ideas for making the world right. Some contributors sent us work that takes on issues with precision and gravity. Others sent us different work, perhaps an even more visceral snapshot of this alarming moment — a one-act play, an open letter, a story of exile. New writing will be published weekdays; we believe its wisdom and strength will help us all navigate the uncertainty ahead.
Dear Magical Creature,
It is often hard to get enthused about politics, isn’t it? We who are on the crooked path have very different definitions of power than those gesturing from the podium. We collaborate with the elements, listen to the planets, and leave offerings to ravens and ancestors. We astral travel to other paradigms and download information from tree roots. We reside in worlds far away from screaming men in shitty outfits and lies disguised as laws. Our current politics are so far removed from the spiritual that they serve as warnings for what happens when institutions are devoid of spirit, collaboration, and care. We’ve had front row seats to the chaos, destruction, and violence that happens when egos run rampant, when fear and trauma responses take the wheel.
When casting spells, many witches take into consideration our sphere of influence. This is composed of who we know, what is in our control, the agency we have, the wisdom we hold, our energy and influence, and where we are (on multiple levels). It is the locus of our power. Our magic can be strong, our energy vibrant, and our sphere of influence, holographic and robust. And yet. Our sphere of influence is impacted greatly by politics, laws, and cultural and ideological constrictions. White supremacy still terrorizes and murders millions, Native Americans have rates of COVID-19 infections three times higher than white people, and up to 35 million Americans are facing eviction this month. The best protection spell can’t stop police violence. The best love spell won’t help you access a doctor affordably if you aren’t insured. Under an oppressive system, our sphere of influence and our magic is limited. This is further impacted by our race, class, gender, ability, and documentation status. Love and light won’t save us. Action, resilience, and continued commitment will.
As witches, we know that everything is interconnected. We know that right now our earth is in crisis, and humanity has reached a crossroads. We know that when we hold something sacred, we honor it by taking care of it. The personal is political; our magic must be as well.
Let’s use our magic, power, agency, energy, and influence to positively impact this rotten system that deeply needs dismantling. It is our responsibility to vote. Voting is the least we can do, and we must do it. Moving forward, let’s work together even more to create a wilder, weirder, and more magical and liberated world.
If you enjoyed this essay, please share it with an undecided voter in your life, and please consider contributing to First Nations COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
To learn more about the Trump presidency, McSweeney’s is compiling a list of his misdeeds and is also tracking the Trump years, by the numbers.
Sarah Faith Gottesdiener lives in Los Angeles. The Moon Book, her forthcoming book, comes out December 14 with St. Martin’s Essentials.