I have been composing my post for today all morning, mostly unsuccessfully. There’s nothing I can really say that Jay hasn’t already, and much more eloquently than I could have, but I also don’t want to let this day go unmourned. The hurt, the anger, the fear, and the sadness need an outlet, or might just lose it. They need to be expressed, but I’m not going to guarantee that they’ll be expressed with much coherence or grace today. Like Pam, the word that’s currently bullying it’s way in front of all the others that want to come out is “FUCK!” Still, I’ll give it a go.
Misery apparently does love company. It’s made me feel somewhat better knowing that you all are taking this as personally as I am. I woke up this morning not sure how appropriate my emotional response to the election was, the crying, the anger, the profound sadness. But then, reading what Jay and Pam wrote, talking to Anika and Erik, I felt, at least, that I wasn’t alone in wanting to declare a national day of mourning, or some other such recognition of what happened. And maybe something to help steel us against what’s about to come.
The thing is, it does feel personal right now. I assume I am not the only one who was more than a little surprised by how good it felt to go and cast my vote yesterday. Good, that is, in a satisfying, country-loving, wanting to make a difference and feeling like I can sort of way. This was the first time I’d ever gotten involved in a political campaign. The first time I’d canvassed, given money to a candidate, attended a Democratic party event. This was the first time I really felt like my involvement was needed. I’ve followed politics, but I’ve always been more inclined to get involved with specific issue-related causes. Like many other people, I’ve become incredibly jaded about the political process. Politicians are all crooks, that sort of thing. And even the candidates on the Dem side have always been so far to the right of my own beliefs that I never thought of them as particularly representing me.
This time, it was different. The stakes were really high, and I wanted, really, truly wanted, to make this country a better place—to save my home from the madman who is using it to advance his own agenda. I actually felt like it was my duty to get involved, as much as any soldier might feel that it’s her duty to defend her country from external threats. Because I really did feel like getting involved was all about defending my country. I’d taken this place for granted my whole life, and then watched Bush destroy so much that was good and unique about it, and go on to threaten more of the people and ideals I hold dear. I signed up, got involved, cared—deeply—and had hope that things were going to change. That the country I was taught to love but never really gave a thought to was about to be rescued.
And then we lost. And not by the evil machinations of the Bush family disenfranchising thousands of voters or “activist judges” appointing a president, but by the will of the people of this country. So many of us fought so hard against the evil that a majority of this country willing chose yesterday. Which leaves me angry, flabbergasted, and sad. I don’t understand how they could want more of this, and I don’t really know how I can face a country that finally opened its mouth and rejected everything that I thought made it worth loving.
And that’s why I am taking this so personally. I tried to help, but in the end, the people of this country preferred to stay with their kidnappers. I feel rejected by the country.
Which, I think, is also why I’m taking heart in how many of the people are love are in the same place I am. It’s not as lonely as it might seem. We’re here for each other, and the strength that we share with each other will get us through this. And we will get through it, one way or another. The country we hold in our heart is still waiting, and if all we can do is keep the idea of it alive in our little corner of it, then so be it. We’ll nourish it, draw strength from it and each other, and mount the rescue effort again in 2008.
And so I don’t want to end this on a hopeless note, though I’m not feeling much hope at the moment. I want to retreat into the sanctuary of my little world, which is so comfortable and safe, with all of you around me, and pretend the rest of this never happened. But I am taking heart in two other things right now, which I’ll share with you.
Even when the world ends, it seems puppies still wake you up with their wet noses demanding some cuddling. And peanut butter and jelly sandwiches really do have therapeutic value. They’re small things, and certainly don’t begin to make up for what we all lost yesterday, but if there are things that still feel good, it can’t all be lost, right?