I never thought there’d come a day where I’d be more afraid of the results of the upcoming presidential election than psychotic clowns taking over various cities. Yet, here we are.
I was your typical scaredy-cat growing up. Turn the lights off in a room or surprise me with a demon mask and I’d quickly transform into a screaming puddle of wet pants and frightened tears. However, fear like that is temporary. Your world ends, but only for a moment, for soon you remember nothing was ever actually going to hurt you. It’s not long before you remember those monsters in the haunted house are just people; they aren’t allowed to lay a finger on you. You mute the suspenseful music in that horror movie and suddenly it’s just a bunch of actors in front of a green screen. In the end, you know you’re going to come out okay. Halloween ends, and it’s back to the dog days of childhood.
I always thought that once I got a little older, all of these petty fears would disappear. I’d learn how to put on a bold front when walking into a dark room or getting spooked by someone hiding around the corner. And I did. But becoming accustomed to those past fears meant replacing them with bigger ones, the kind that don’t fade out after the hair on the back of your neck settles. Suddenly, the scary stuff can’t be avoided anymore. It’s not as simple as checking over your shoulder for your brother with a face mask and a Nerf gun at the ready, because it’s the world that’s freaking you out. It’s the chaos that drives our global communities as they seem to spin faster and faster out of our control that’s giving you a few extra goosebumps.
What scares me nowadays is how elections are being run based on mere charisma (or lack thereof). How entire species of animals are going extinct, yet few people seem to care. People are going hungry while others dine six times a day. Vast numbers of families are suffering below the poverty line while singular citizens own entire islands. And all of those problems may just be deemed irrelevant if climate change paves the way straight to our own demise. It’s terrifying, and the fear upon hearing details about each of these things doesn’t disappear after a moment or two as they used to.
For America’s sanity, not just Tuftsanity, I believe it’s important to act upon the real-life fears that inevitably come with adulthood. We can’t afford to ignore them as though they’re witches and ghouls anymore, for simply running away is no longer an option. They won’t just disappear; we have to actively force them away. So this Halloweekend, use all that haunted adrenaline to change something that scares you. This time around, getting over fears doesn’t mean having to scream bloody murder when facing them. Through simple actions like registering to vote or flicking off a light switch, we can make the world a little less scary.