Walking around downtown Monday — 24 hours before E-day — it felt like almost any other day.
The weather was nice. The looks on people's faces varied. It was a normal Monday by most standards, with the possible deviations that we are all a little more rested after the clocks rolled back and we all have forgotten what rain actually smells like.
That last one is especially true with the intensifying smoke around the area as the wildfires continue to grow.
But Monday was far from normal, at least that's what we think, right?
Today we elect a new president, picking from the two worst choices this side of your older brother asking "head or gut?" before he punched you.
It's Election Day, a day that should signal our freedom.
And we have this to choose from.
On one hand is the egomaniacal bully who has never been told no and has bent enough financial rules to compile a personal fortune dotted with controversy and punctuated with ethical indifference.
On the other hand is the other one.
And we'll let you choose which is which because in a lot of ways these two frauds are cut from the same cloth.
One is red, the other is blue and each is bad.
A lot of you wrote back to my question about describing this election in a sentence.
"The low point in American politics," one emailer wrote.
"I'm not sure I'd want either of these candidates to watch my dog for the weekend," a friend of mine sent, pointing out that we are dealing with two candidates who have collectively been involved in countless IRS audits, been accused of sexual harassment, raised money using international political connections, know FBI investigators on a first-name basis, have been recorded using words that I'd discipline my children for saying, and have covered up more shady deals and seedy decisions than you could fit in your grandfather's pickup.
We are dealing from the bottom of the barrel.
One side will celebrate tonight, the other will try to drown its sorrows. The truth is we will all wake up with a pounding headache.
So what is the aspirin? What will be the remedy? Tomato juice or a McDonald's Coke? Here's hoping it's not the political version of "the hair of the dog" this time in 2020.
I wish I knew. I wish we were not here, but we are.
And, like with any great change, it is going to have to start with us.
Washington has no interest in change. The D.C. machine knows that controversy and animosity only galvanize each side's base.
Worse yet, that galvanization allows each side to blame the other for the drastic and crippling do-nothingness that is known as gridlock in Washington.
Each side is too worried about keeping its jobs more than doing its job.
And now we are left with a flawed president, no matter who wins today.
We are scared. We are uneasy and unsure and for the first time wondering, "What is the worst that could really happen?"
To that, I ask, "What are we willing to do to make sure we are not presented choices this bad again?"
It's on us to change the direction of this. Sadly, that change must wait four years.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6343.