Thoughts On Elections

I’m tense all the time now. The election is tomorrow and I am nervous. I know it does no one any good for me to be nervous or stressed out about the results, especially me because being stressed out doesn’t feel good. And like I said, I doubt it has any effect on the outcome.

I have followed politics for a long time. My mother was very political, and I presume my father was, though he tended towards the spiritual and artistic rather than the activist. She kept the television tuned on Watergate, railed against how Carter (and Amy) were treated) and swore never again to eat Jelly Beans after Reagan was elected. I followed her and her sister around on many campaigns for Georgia Democrats, from City Council to Governor, and listened quietly as the talked about the differences between left and right (the left was right and the right was wrong pretty much sums up her position). She was terribly disturbed about Bush I, going out and protesting the first Gulf War, and very happy about Clinton (though I know she would have adored seeing Hillary in office), and angry as I’ve ever seen here in 2000. She, like many, was convinced the election was stolen.

And maybe it was. I wouldn’t be surprised that there are a wide variety of shenanigans gone on during such things. They really are like a little war, elections. I have no doubt that I’d fail miserably in one, temperament wise, but I still enjoy the process of watching them. Or at least I have. The older I get the less taste I have for war, even on my television and the more desire I have to see actual leaders lead, rather than parties be controlled by corporate interests, no matter how good a media show the spectacle is.

This one though, this one really scares me. Cause well, I’m a progressive liberal democrat feminist humanist with a radical spiritual streak.

Who wants to focus on fear though? Fear is, as they say, the mind killer.

A new facebook friend, Lynn Beisner, put up a link to her memories of election day 2008. It’s an amazing story, and should be shared, so here is the link. Mine was different, but I thought I’d recount the feelings I had in hopes of aligning myself with positive emotions.

I don’t if I ever felt so hopeful about an election prior to 2008. I remember being thrilled with Clinton and his message of hope back in 92, and having been a Fleetwood Mac fan, was pretty swept away with Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” but this was different.

9/11 had really changed everything for me. Well, 2000 changed things. I woke up after the election shocked that Bush had won. Or maybe he didn’t, I don’t know. It felt like a Twilight Zone to me, and then 9/11 locked the door that had been closed early the year before. Obama seemed so…amazing. Smart. Keen and astute. No fool. And yes, he was African American, and of complex racial heritage, and that meant something huge and nearly indescribable to me, a middle aged white woman raised in the south.

His use of social media and reach to the younger generations was impressive of course, but I was taken with his idealism. With his pragmatism. With the clear strength of his wife, and team, and family. And with the idea that we might begin to crack open that door from the Twilight Zone back into a world I could recognize, a world where racism might finally fade and disappear like a lonely ghost, where people could marry regardless of their sexual orientation, where gays and lesbians wouldn’t have to fear for their lives and families. Where women had choice. Where healthcare was available to all. Where wars might be able to stop. Where attention to our world, stewardship of it, instead of dominion, might take place.

I don’t know that really breathed the whole day.

And he won.

He won the election. And I was more relieved and relaxed then I had been in years. I think I cried. I’m sure I did.

All I could hear in my head was this song, which I may have heard linked from someone else, but maybe didn’t, who knows (it was played many many times in the days after the election so true is the sentiment), and the tone and tune totally mirrored my feeling.

I rode a progressive liberal humanist high for weeks after the election and still feel proud of the work Obama has had to do, the mess he had to clean up, and the strides he’s tried to make with health care, gay rights and the economy. Not to mention Sandy.

I don’t want to go backward. I don’t want to live in a country based on fear and rejection of difference. I want to live in a place where we can embrace our love for each other, accept dialogue and diversity. I want to live in the light with open doors and open hearts. I want to move forward.

I hope that’s what we do.


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