aka It’s My Birthday & I’ll Vote If I Want To!
As the economy continues to wreak havoc on friends, family and strangers, as the wars rage on in the Middle East, as my own future looks incredibly uncertain, I went out today and voted for Barack Obama & Joe Biden. And while the cynical part of me knows that it’s very likely Obama may disappoint in many ways, the optimistic part of me has allowed myself to believe this guy may actually create huge positive change and is a self-aware individual, something I’ve never felt about a candidate in my lifetime (I’m 45 today). So I’m hoping that Obama is a president I can take pride in and can restore this country to a country I take pride in. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to feel that.
It saddens and confuses me when I think about family members I dearly love whom I believe will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin today. Family members who struggle to make ends meet, find themselves out of work, deal with major and minor physical and emotional disabilities, have young children who will want an education and a safe future rich with possibility, homes that are under construction and in flux… It pains me to watch decisions be made that I think are destructive, both to self and others. And I can’t help but feel that it’s not unlike finding your family members in support of Joseph McCarthy and his power-hungry, hate-filled communist witch-hunt. People whose fear is so malleable that they can be made to believe that cutting off one leg will help them run faster. It’s a terrifying misjudgment of character and an extreme example of the political illiteracy of many Americans. Let’s hope not too many.
This election has moved beyond simple ideological differences. It has moved to the difference between right and wrong. In this time of such conflict the world over, in a time when our country faces its greatest struggle for survival since, well, the Civil War, it’s difficult to watch the ones you love be taken in so easily. Good people, kind people, well-meaning people. It does not sit easily in the gut. And it is disheartening, frightening and confounding. And it is hard to know exactly how to react, except to know that it’s okay to feel torn, to be confused, and to wish it were otherwise.
And to hope.