A Tough Day
I don’t know exactly what I thought I was going to feel at the end of this election. Angst with a bit of disgust with the entire process. Go back to my corner. Work on my projects. Move on. Something snapped for me this time though. I couldn’t sleep last night. I don’t know exactly what I was feeling, but it has definitely had me in a contemplative mood for the last 12 hours. I am struggling to understand myself and what I my role is as a human and American citizen.
My Political Tapestry
Age 5 I start reading Newsweek magazine, specifically drawn to political cartoons. I announce, “I will be a political cartoonist when I grow up!”
I become obsessed with the mythology of the American revolution. I want to visit all the landmarks regarding the formation of this country that New England has to offer.
I remember the first Clinton election. We held a mock vote in my school. I was particularly interested in Ross Perot, but as a good catholic democrat – I backed Clinton.
I hear Sublime for the first time. “April 26, 1992” informs me about the tapestry surrounding the Rodney King trial and riots in LA that I only peripherally understood when watching the news with my parents.
I’m a freshman in high school. It is announced one day during class, over the loudspeaker, that President Clinton was acquitted of all charges and remained in office after a year long media blitz about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Limp Bizkit plays “Break Stuff” at Woodstock ’99 – riots ensue. (thus cementing a very different relationship between my generation and Woodstock than the original).
Gore wins the popular vote but Bush wins the electorate. Controversy ensues. I stay up all night to see who is announced as winner. My jaw hits the floor as I get my first feeling of disillusionment with American government.
August – I turn 18 and get my driver’s license right as I enter my senior year of high school. A receive a draft card in the mail. I get nervous.
9/11 happens. I get mad as classmates of mine talk about wanting to kill “towel-heads”. I get up and walk out of school.
Bush is up for re-election. The DNC is in Boston where I’m in college, coincidently taking my Poli-Sci requirement. The teacher arranges for both a republican and democrat to come in and answer question. The democrat seems condescending to me. The republican is unabashedly honest, despite the fact that I agree with almost nothing he is talking about.
Obama gets elected. I barely noticed as I was completely checked out of politics at that point.
Economy crashes followed by an unprecedented federal bailout of Wallstreet. Nobody is tried in court for mishandling the American economy.
Occupy Wallstreet captures my attention, but not enough for me to join the protests. (I still don’t know why)
Donald Trump is elected POTUS.
Today was hard because all of this history, my history, flashed before my eyes. I have spent so much time as an adult feel lethargic about American politics and government. I feel something else happening now. I don’t feel like sharing just yet, but I did want to share that I am resolved to not let this go. Something needs to change. We all need to act in a direction that aligns our values with our actions. We cannot be passive consumers any longer. That got us what we have today.
A reality TV star elected to be the leader of our country.
Now is not the time to be sad. Now is the time to mobilize. Before you act though, take a step back and truly ask yourself what your values are. I guarantee you don’t value hating or judging anyone.