Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The last of it

Beauty in the dregs. I'm feeling this year folding up on me. It's a humming sadness, like what you feel when you have to retire a favorite pair of shoes or close the door to an empty apartment with the keys on the kitchen counter inside. It's the last of it - the last pops of color on my firecracker plant, the molding husks of the girls' first jack-o-lanterns on their way to the compost heap, a spring tipula well past his season taking advantage of a tattered banana leaf, and a few ambitious peppers found clinging to a naked plant in our tiny abandoned garden.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To hope for the things we wish to want...

I feel electric. Chris says he feels electorate.

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America.

We did that.

I have never felt so proud to be an American as the moment last night when this election was called. I can’t really say that I’ve ever felt pride as an American before that moment, period. Our image abroad is poor, and we tend more toward individualism than cohesion - many of us keep to ourselves.

I voted thoughtfully in the last two presidential elections. In 2000, I punched in for Nader, because, at the time, I felt most represented by the Green Party; that was when I learned that a third-party vote is still a wasted vote in this country. In 2004, I not only voted (for Kerry), but bullied every friend and coworker into going to the polls as well; when those ballots were tallied, I sensed no injustice in technicalities - but rather the withering revelation that we were simply outnumbered.

But as the numbers rolled in last night, I knew that my knocking on doors in the cold and rain with the girls had helped 63,905,968 other fists beat down the door of the White House.

As young as they are, the girls’ excitement to walk for “O-BA-ma” stoked my own, and though Runa may not remember it in 20 years, she got to push the big green go button on my touch screen last week at early voting. I hope she never knows a time when she feels her involvement doesn’t count. And, at the moment, I have a lot of faith in hope. I look at my daughters today and think ‘We may not leave this as screwed up for you as I feared.’ I am proud that we have done this as a nation for all our daughters, and hope that we can ride this incredible collective surge of joy and accomplishment well into the hard work ahead of us.

I feel electric.