Those who have experienced an earthquake know the queasy feeling you get after even a minor tremor. Your senses don't quite know how to handle it when the world itself begins to buck and roll. You enter into a holding pattern of pre-panic because some mechanism of self-preservation understands full-blown terror isn't going to help you survive.

I was awakened from a tremor and I knew I had to rouse my wife and kids. "We have to get out!" The words came to me more as a feeling than a thought. It was a moment of visceral terror.

It's never easy to get the whole family moving. I started grabbing random things. I was throwing them into a rucksack when I happened to look out the window. We had an ocean view, and in the distance, I could see a wave. It dominated the horizon, inching inevitably closer.

A surge of panic overrode my need to gather up personal possessions. Instead, I grabbed my keys, grabbed the pudgy hands of the children, and sprinted for the door. We had to get away. The wave would surely crash onto the city and leave terrible devastation in its wake. I needed to get inland. I needed to go uphill. I needed to flee that impossible deluge of unthinking cruelty that was about to come crashing down upon my world.

We fled, and it felt hopeless as if there was no place in the world where we'd ever be safe.

This is how I feel as I survey the political landscape of the United States heading into the 2024 election. This feeling was conveyed to me in a meticulously crafted dream that had been heavily informed by my life experiences. I've been in earthquakes. I've had to flee to safety. I also know the agony that awaits my family if a philosophy of cruelty is allowed, again, to come to power.

I feel helpless. It feels as if the worst possible outcome is destined to roll right over the world and inflict unspeakable harm upon the innocent and vulnerable.

Racism is as normalized as a political slogan

My wife is an immigrant. For the last eight years, I've had to watch both my wife and my children endure harassment and sometimes even physical attacks because of their heritage.

The people in my small, rural community perceive us as a group that managed to "infiltrate the country" by crossing the Southern border. They're reminded about how much they should hate and resent us every time they turn on the news.

The majority of immigrants that come to the United States come through airports. However, conservatives aren't concerned about white immigrants. When they complain about immigrants, they seek to incite hostility against people who speak languages other than English and anyone who doesn't happen to be white.

Every single time a politician or a news report mentions the Southern border, it leads to unprovoked aggression against my wife and kids. This can be everything from hurling slurs to throwing rocks.

At this point, I can only conclude that mentioning the Southern border in any context is nothing more than a dog whistle for racists. "Build the wall" was a racist political slogan. Many Americans who claim to be good people, will defend to the death their right to hate anyone who they feel will "poison their bloodline."

They think of my wife and children as poison.

Where is the religious community?

I've made appeals to religious leaders in my community to denounce racism. They refuse. They're part of a larger mechanism that already gains its power from cultivating fear.

"Aren't you supposed to preach diversity, tolerance, and forgiveness?"

This they don't answer. They just smirk at me as if I'm speaking out of turn. The priests knew that if they urged their congregations to support and help immigrants, people would stop attending their sermons.

Last weekend, my daughter played basketball against a team from the local Catholic school. I noticed the players regarding my daughter with distrust. Catholic schools are funded through voucher programs that siphon money away from public education. Catholic schools are largely segregated.

Essentially, these programs are designed to disguise a program of white supremacy under a cloak of religion. The fouls against my daughter were a little harder in that game. Of course, they weren't called.

Look at the stability of the last 4 years!

Does the American population truly not remember what life was like from 2016 until 2020? The stock market fluctuated like a roller coaster. The market would crash and rise and crash like somebody was playing an accordion. I'm sure fortunes were made, but not for working-class people who make the fundamental contributions that keep our society operational.

The stock market is currently at an all-time high. Why doesn't that mean anything to anyone? Look at your retirement portfolio, it has gone up under Biden.

The nice thing about Biden is that he's not in the news every single day inciting hatred against anyone. Instead, he's in his office where we can't see him. That's where politicians belong. The less we know about them the better. We don't need to turn the presidency into the celebrity apprentice again. That was devastating.

Nothing got done except a concerted attack on our unenumerated rights. We've lost the right to privacy and the right to bodily autonomy. The Supreme Court stripped every citizen of those rights when they made the unprecedented power grab to ignore the concept of established law and strike down Roe v. Wade. We're not that far away from living in a society where the government requires women to track their menstruation so they have evidence to send them to jail in the event of a miscarriage.

The current laws of our society are based on a complete disregard for the inherent complexities of human reproduction. The truth is that the majority of pregnancies don't go to term. Modern American women have to face the reality that the cruelty in our society's approach to reproductive healthcare has turned pregnancy into an unacceptable risk.

This, alone, could be the end of our society. A nation where women are afraid to have children is doomed to die. But since forced births are already the standard, and we already live in a rape culture, I expect that the conservative solution to the problem of preservation will only entail a further departure from human decency.

Why isn't there any political accountability?

Why is such a large percentage of the American public so willing to support an individual who is accused of terrible crimes? We've been told since grade school that patriotism is a virtue.

It's not "patriotic" to attempt to overthrow the government. It's not "patriotic" to participate in a riot that led to the death of a police officer. Lives were lost during a criminal act. All those involved must be held accountable.

Why aren't we holding them accountable? The rioters, the planners, the apologists, and the participating politicians should all be in jail. Most of them are allowed to go on as if nothing ever happened.

Why are they held to a different standard than the rest of us? Why doesn't anyone seem to care?

Why is so much of our country allergic to reason? Why do we allow a propaganda machine to indoctrinate the whole country with lies? Why do we ignore all the checks and balances that were put in place to prevent a tyrant from seizing control?

Why do crowds gather together to cheer when our rights are stripped from us and our society is condemned to ruin? Why isn't anyone standing up for decency and prosperity for all?

Where can we go?

People say, "You need to move."

Well, what about the people who can't move? Also, where are you going to go? Where are you going to find refuge when a madman seizes control of the nuclear launch codes? Where are you going to be safe when an entitled jerk who has never known accountability decides to shoot off some missiles just so he can feel like a "big boy?"

On most days, I'm tormented by all these thoughts. I consider the people who I thought were my friends who happily go to the polls to vote for a man who incites violence against my wife and kids. When I call them on it, they return a blank stare, and it's as if I haven't said anything.

"You shouldn't let politics ruin our relationship."

"No, YOU shouldn't let politicians call for acts of violence against MY FAMILY!"

Why are we still talking about this?

Above all, I long for the triumph of reason

Deny, deny, deny, all you want but the wave is coming. Even the microaggressions begin to add up. The foundation has been set to topple our nation from its illusion of strength and prosperity.

Reason has to be our driving ambition, not retribution, not hate.

When are people going to learn that their safe little perfect white reality isn't what most of the people in the world are privileged enough to experience? When are they going to learn that human beings are suffering? When are they going to learn that there are consequences for stubbornly clutching the tattered remnants of a fundamentally delusional philosophy of cruelty? We're all being forced to pay for these mistakes, but the ones with the most social power are the ones who are permitted to pay last and least.

I feel like the tsunami is coming in 2024 and it's going to wipe us all off the face of the Earth. It's a constant source of anxiety, and I'm tired.