Climate Grief refers to the sense of loss or anxiety that people feel witnessing how we fail to protect our planet from our climate-altering behaviors. Aldo Leopold first used the term ecological grief in 1940, so it’s a concept we’ve had for over 80 years. 

I’m having a similar sense of grief and dread over the upcoming presidential elections, feeling upset at the possibility that Trump might win (again). Both the conservatives who want to move this country back to a culture they imagine we had 70 years ago–pre-feminism, pre-birth control, pre-Civil Rights, and Equal Opportunity– and a cohort of the super-rich, looking for a politician to accommodate their interest in union-busting, lowered minimum wages, and no corporate taxes—are cynically supporting Donald Trump.

Conservatives longing for an imagined past is not new. Our nostalgia for a time that never truly existed – a sepia-tinted fantasy of the 1950s, all-white picket fences, and traditional family values–permeates much of our media, some of our religious beliefs, and aspects of our social media. However, how translating this nostalgia into policies reviving the injustices and inequities of that era is unacceptable. Some politicians and their media supporters try to graft this vision onto a strain of unreality – a “post-truth” politics where facts are fungible and fanning people’s anger leads to endorsement and clicks.

“My favorite candidate is Anyone But Trump, and it is disappointing that the Democrats haven’t nurtured and supported a younger and more credible leader than Joe Biden.”

My sense of “election grief” is profoundly personal and yet part of many people’s unease. The potential loss of hard-fought social progress and a dread of regression – a fear that the arc of history might bend backward–are valid reasons to be sad. I want to believe our country is resilient and can rebound even if we get four more years of Trump. 

But I have too much of a sense of history, of dictators and autocrats paralyzing governments and persecuting dissenters, not to be scared. Look at Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has steadily undermined the independence of the courts, attacked press freedoms, and concentrated power in the hands of his party. The possibility of  America moving into an autocracy, losing the very freedoms and institutions that define us as a nation, feels real.

I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. Many other Americans share my fears, grief, and determination to stop our nation from rolling back freedoms instead of moving them ahead. Come November, I hope enough of us will vote to keep Trump and his supporters out of office.

Climate Grief refers to the sense of loss or anxiety that people feel witnessing how we fail to protect our planet from our climate-altering behaviors. Aldo Leopold first used the term ecological grief in 1940, so it’s a concept we’ve had for over 80 years. 

I’m having a similar sense of grief and dread over the upcoming presidential elections, feeling upset at the possibility that Trump might win (again). Both the conservatives who want to move this country back to a culture they imagine we had 70 years ago–pre-feminism, pre-birth control, pre-Civil Rights, and Equal Opportunity– and a cohort of the super-rich, looking for a politician to accommodate their interest in union-busting, lowered minimum wages, and no corporate taxes—are cynically supporting Donald Trump.

Conservatives longing for an imagined past is not new. Our nostalgia for a time that never truly existed – a sepia-tinted fantasy of the 1950s, all-white picket fences, and traditional family values–permeates much of our media, some of our religious beliefs, and aspects of our social media. However, how translating this nostalgia into policies reviving the injustices and inequities of that era is unacceptable. Some politicians and their media supporters try to graft this vision onto a strain of unreality – a “post-truth” politics where facts are fungible and fanning people’s anger leads to endorsement and clicks.

“My favorite candidate is Anyone But Trump, and it is disappointing that the Democrats haven’t nurtured and supported a younger and more credible leader than Joe Biden.”

My sense of “election grief” is profoundly personal and yet part of many people’s unease. The potential loss of hard-fought social progress and a dread of regression – a fear that the arc of history might bend backward–are valid reasons to be sad. I want to believe our country is resilient and can rebound even if we get four more years of Trump. 

But I have too much of a sense of history, of dictators and autocrats paralyzing governments and persecuting dissenters, not to be scared. Look at Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has steadily undermined the independence of the courts, attacked press freedoms, and concentrated power in the hands of his party. The possibility of  America moving into an autocracy, losing the very freedoms and institutions that define us as a nation, feels real.

I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. Many other Americans share my fears, grief, and determination to stop our nation from rolling back freedoms instead of moving them ahead. Come November, I hope enough of us will vote to keep Trump and his supporters out of office.