This man refuses to find out who won the election. Is there room in that bubble for us?
In today’s 24/7 digital world, it’s mostly impossible to insulate ourselves from the soul-destroying hatefest of American politics. Mostly — but not entirely. This man’s refusal to find out who won the election may hold the answer that can save us all.
When Georgia resident Joe Chandler attended an election party, he noticed how nervous everyone was as the vote counts rolled in. So instead of staying up until the final announcement, he just went to bed, intending to find out the results in the morning. As he told the Today show, “All I wanted to do is give myself 24 hours of blissful ignorance.” However, when the next morning came, Chandler decided to turn those 24 hours into as many hours and days as possible. He went offline and stopped reading newspapers and watching TV (he hasn’t even watched his own TV interviews) in order to avoid any news about the election.
Chandler has also managed to maintain his bubble in public by wearing headphones and a sign that says: “I don’t know who won, and don’t want to. PLEASE DON’T TELL ME.” If he has to interact with others, he notifies them of his decision at the outset. As explained in an NBC interview, he says, “‘Listen, before we begin the conversation, I don’t know who won, and I don’t want to, so please don’t tell me,’ and people have honored that.”
A peaceful existence devoid of Trump propaganda and neo-Nazi alerts would be the absolute best right now. Does Chandler have room in that bubble for all of us?
Of course, we who aren’t white and male would get pushed out from the bubble into the hostile real world pretty quickly. We could wear all the signs we wanted and unplug our TVs and routers, but as soon as someone shouted “Go back to [non-Western country which is probably unrelated to our ancestry anyway],” as soon as we saw swastika graffiti on a wall, or as soon as a Trump bro tried to grab our crotch, the outcome of the election would be very clear.
We have to know who won, because it helps us ensure our safety in a society where that’s already at risk. Sure, ignorance is bliss; although Chandler’s self-imposed isolation sounds like a lot of effort, he’s probably much happier than we are right now. But for those of us from marginalized populations, ignorance is a barrier to our survival.