Just over her mask, Patra Okelo’s eyes brimmed with tears when she recalled the instant that a truth about America dawned and her innocence burned away.
One moment on Aug. 11, 2017, she thought the tiki torches blazing in the distance at the University of Virginia were “the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, lighting up the darkness.” Later, on television, she could see the fire more clearly.
Hundreds of white supremacists raised these torches, sparking 24-hour anger and death, which turned Charlottesville into a protracted battle for the 2020 presidential election.
“My heart broke that night,” Okelo, now 29, said on Saturday, as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden blitzed across the country to make the closing arguments of their bitter contest to lead the divided nation.
Traditionally, the presidential election is the moment when Americans have a high-definition appearance in the mirror. However, by the time of the final sprint of the 2020 competition, the world has already stared at the darkest corner of the country and saw a torn and troubled image.
The presidency and control of the Senate are in balance, but for many people, the situation is more urgent.
Survival is the short-term goal of mankind and of being a country that seems to want a country at a time of such division and anxiety.
The list of threats is long and personal: the coronavirus has killed more than 230,000 people in the United States, and infection rates in almost every state are rising. The economy and its families are suffering from uncertainty. After the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis triggered national protests and law enforcement crackdowns, the legacy of slavery once again swept the entire society this year.
Okelo can draw the line from the first sight of the torch on the evening of August 2017 to the last few hours of the 2020 election. She voted for Biden.
On Aug. 12, 2017, in the hours after the torchlight parade, James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a group of protesters on 4th Street and killed activist Heather Heyer. That intersection is now decorated with purple flowers and messages in chalk. Okelo says she has avoided the area ever since.
Trump blamed “both sides” for that conflagration. Earlier this year, he boarded up the White House and used federal forces to protect it from the protests over Floyd’s death. And when asked, he has most often refused to condemn white supremacy.
Okelo, who is Black, heard when Biden launched his campaign for president with the words, “Charlottesville, Va.”
“My younger brother is in danger,” Okelo said she has come to realize. “So I waited in line today, and I voted as I did.”
But the connection between 2017 and now also is marked by contrasts.
A year ago, Americans were attracted by the impeachment proceedings of the House of Representatives when Trump asked Ukraine for political help. The Senate declared him not guilty in early 2020, and Trump won, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stood out in his State of the Union speech.
The campaign began with more than two dozen Democrats vying for the right to challenge Trump and ended with Biden nominating the party’s candidate. One of his rivals, California Senator Kamala Harris (Kamala Harris) As a running partner, she was the first black or Indian woman to seek support from the Democratic Party. vice-president.
It seems to be a far away, more pure time. When Harris announced her bid for the presidential candidate nearly two years ago, she did it before nearly 20,000 people participated in the outdoor activities in her hometown of Oakland, California. Harris was campaigning in the West during the final week of the game. Harris sat on a blanket 6 feet apart with a group of distant crowds in Las Vegas.
The white circle around the chair indicates proper social distance.
As for the voice of the 2020 election, car horns replaced the roar of the Democratic masses.
“Honk if you’re fired up! Honk if you’re ready to go!” former President Barack Obama has said in the final swing.
On the Republican side, Trump still ignores the recommendations of the government’s top public health official and is still full of vitality for a large number of unblinded people.
The president finally held 10 rallies between battlefield states for the last vague, wrongly believed that the coronavirus is fading, and retreated to the familiar national anthem about his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton, and in the United States and Mexico A boundary wall was established between.
“Tuesday is our big deal as a country!” Trump said on Sunday, as he braved flurries and a stiff wind chill in Michigan. The president is aiming to run up support in the whiter, more rural parts of the state with warnings that a Biden win could be disastrous for the economy.
Down in the polls and at a cash disadvantage, Trump expressed confidence and said of Biden at one point, “I don’t think he knows he’s losing.”
In contrast, Biden’s campaign rallies through Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania were strictly distanced and often drive-in affairs where mask-wearing is required.
At an Atlanta-area event on Sunday, a Biden staffer stepped to the podium and enforced the rules just before Harris spoke.
“Y’all need to go back to your cars,” the aide said. “We are not a Trump rally.”
This movement also defines uncertainty and anxiety at the end of clothing defining. Trump refused to promise a peaceful transfer of power after Biden lost the lawsuit. He urged supporters to “support and support” the polls to ensure that the vote is legal. This sounds like a call to intimidate voters and the election. Officials.
Pictures and reports, such as a voting rally in North Carolina on Saturday, ended with law enforcement officers spraying pepper on the crowd, leaving the country on the margins. The state police said that the participants were in a traffic jam and had no right to enter there. In Texas, Trump supporters of cars and trucks gathered around the Biden Sports Bus at high speed on the highway.
The collective anxiety caused casualties.
Mary Williams, a Democrat from Port Huron, Michigan, said she was “too nervous” because she remembered being confident about Hillary Clinton’s chances and then losing to Trump in 2016.
“I jump up in the middle of my sleep,” Williams said.