November 2016 was a month of shock and loss for me on so many levels. I'm still trying to process a lot of it. There are a hundred things to write about, but collecting myself and using energy to organize thoughts as been expended more on a professional level. Those 30 days were a roller coaster for me: profound grief, pain, surprise, anger, and disbelief abounded. But I also experienced love, happiness, gratefulness, and joy. Life. I am working to get back on the horse. I signed up for a marathon. I set some goals. I'm not going anywhere.
So we're still here.
Things have felt mean, gross, and barren, but we're still here.
It's the rallying cry for so many people as we remember that at the end of the day, states aren't really red or blue, they're purple. Or maybe we'd know the true hue of a state if everyone who was eligible to vote actually did.
I remember watching people lined up as they waited for hours to vote after apartheid ended in South Africa. It was 1994 and the teenaged, angsty version of me was still reeling from Kurt Cobain's death earlier that month. I wasn't old enough to vote, but was a bit of a news junkie and enjoyed following politics, enough so that I participated in the MN House of Representatives High School Page Program that spring. Elections interested me. I hadn't been exposed to gerrymandering or voting machine tampering at that point, but I always believed that voting was a responsibility.
The pictures out of South Africa that day took my breath away.
Oh humans, do we only realize the importance of things we've never been fortunate enough to possess?
That image burned into my 16 year old mind and I made a promise to myself. I promised myself I would do everything I could to vote, whether it was for school board or the POTUS.
We, which I say with the recognition that I am a straight, cisgender, white person, take so much for granted. The 16 year old didn't understand that. That girl knew things could always be worse and the world was never a perfect place; the most brief study of the 20th century validated that in a way one didn't need Gen X cynicism to grasp.
The system, like the world, isn't perfect. I just keep thinking about that photo when I read about the tens of millions who choose not to participate in the process. Are we the spoiled brats of democracy? Is this where the experiment fails? Is this my Tyler Durden moment?
That's totally Gen X cynicism.
Don't get me started on the fallout in the long-term. Healthcare, civil rights, and well, if we screw the pooch on the environment, Mother Earth will take care of it. We need the planet, the planet doesn't need us.
Pass the Pearl Jam and the coffee, it's gonna be a long four years...
Joey's a post millennial, so it's a good thing her language skills are limited to barks and whines. I'm guessing she'd be more cynical than I am. I did give blood yesterday, though, so there's hope. Peace.
And vote next time, you turds.