Monday, November 5, 2012

Waiting to Exhale


Six weeks after my daughter Kerala was born, Ronald Reagan was elected President. Two weeks before my daughter Talia was born, he was re-elected. Then came the senior Bush. The joy of their childhoods was set against a political backdrop that spent billions on a Star Wars nuclear shield and plans to deliver the mail after the nuclear holocaust. It was 12 long and painful years when the only thing that trickled down was stupidity and greed and fear and finally, an election day of exultation when Bill Clinton took office. How sweet that was.

Well, you all know what happened next. Another four years with Bill and then the horror of the Bush years. When W. stole the second election, I was sitting at a school meeting as people tried to talk about who was on for carpool duty. I felt as if the house was on fire and people were saying, “Pass the butter.” I ended up running screaming from the meeting and fell into the arms of the old head of school, weeping copiously.

The depth of my grief was matched by the height of my joy when Barack won four years ago. I wrote a poem about Jesse Jackson’s face and if all goes well tomorrow, will reprint it on this blog. I’m allowing myself to feel cautiously optimistic, but like so many people I know, find myself holding my breath and waiting, waiting, waiting, to exhale.

It’s not that the Democrats offer the height of the human experiment, but whereas it may once have been true that the difference between the Democrat and the Republican candidate was minimal, a quick look at the line up at the Republican Convention and then Mitt himself shows that the gap has widened significantly. And I just happen to think that we can’t afford a single minute of regressive politics, narrow thinking, outright denial (yes, climate change is real), never mind four whole years. Yes, the lobbyists and the corporations run the whole show, but don’t tell me it doesn’t make a HUGE difference as to who’s at the top. I lived through George W. and I lived through Barack and I can testify that it does. And so can millions of others.

Nothing more to say that hasn’t been said, just waiting, waiting, waiting. Final prayers mixed with phone calls to Ohio.

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