I've never been one to participate in politics. I'm not the girl you find in line at most polling places. I have little faith in our legislative and judicial systems, as they are currently practiced. My experience of politics has been 101 promises, 99 of which are broken (and one is reworded to exploit a built-in loophole). Why would I need to vote when I could get that sort of abuse from any number of previous relationships? Deeply ingrained in Generation-X cynicism, I embraced apathy... for it was easier than expressing and channeling the fury that our world's current state aroused within me.
And so, when the pre-presidential flurry began to spin, I tried to ignore it. ALthough I live with a man who has been working to support Obama since it was a grassroots campaign in Chicago, I tried to ignore it. I fought being won because in the end, it all comes down to one vivid and sometimes toxic emotion... hope.
Hope comes with strings attached. Strings of expectation. Expectations leave gaps and opportunities for disappointment, when they remain unmet. And so many times, they do.
Yet somehow, in all the chanting for change, a tiny seed of hope crept in. Small as it was, I did my best to avoid it, and not let it run any major decisions. I did however, find myself willing to vote, for the first time in a long time. Not only for the presidency, but for many state propositions that are important to me. I cast my ballot by mail, as I wasn't in the county during any open polling hours. And once the envelope was sealed, I didn't give it much thought. In fact, inundated with animals and education, I actually forgot several times that today was election day.
But as I killed time between evening classes, dining with a friend and seeing the first peek at the numbers, I felt an overwhelming stirring in my gut. I recognized it at once. The aching butterflies in my tummy were the twinges of hope, gnawed at by the fear of unmet expectations. Momentarily paralized, I did my best to push the news report and the quivering tingles aside, and focus on class.
Time passes, events roll forward whether you pay attention or not, and by the time I was in my car for the long ride home, McCain's concession speech was being aired. Driving east on the 118, tears rolled down my face. Me... my face... the face of a woman who until now has never much cared for election results, who avoids political discussions, and despises the bickering two-party system. Face to face with the fact that I was emotionally invested, I turned off my radio and came to terms with my unexpected reaction.
Can we? Really? Can we Change? Human beings are creatures of habit and radical turns of events have never been well embraced by society as a whole. The best of intentions can still be stymied by fillabustering and stalling. Worse yet, promises may not be kept.... best intentions might not be brought to the table. What then?
Hope. It terrifies me. But I cannot help but fill tonight with it. To let it float like smoke in the air, resonate like the final chord of a piano concerto. It hovers tangibly, waiting for expectations to be not only met, but embraced and bettered.
Yes We Can..... I certainly hope so.