Hope and Change

Tuesday was a magical day for me even before any of the polls closed because I got to vote for the first time with my husband. The voting part was thrilling for me and I squeed a little bit when I marked who I wanted to be president. And the weekend before Kamel and I had laid in bed discussing and debating each California proposition, writing down how we would vote on little lists we kept on our phones. The whole process energized me. But that is a story I’m leaving for Kamel – a story you will hear complete with the many screen shots of the TV – on Saturday.

Today though, because I am writing this on Wednesday even though you will read about this on Thursday, something else happened. I woke up and I lalala went about my day. There was a certain quiet where I didn’t have to hear about new polls or new disappointing human behavior, I didn’t feel the need (for a moment) to bang on pots and pans and let the social outrage fuel me. I had been gripping the edges of my seat and gritting my teeth for so long that I was in a kind of daze when I finally was able to let go for a minute. And I went through the whole day like this. Lalalala. Until I was on my way home, reading the internet on the train, and I came across this amazing amazing article by David Simon. And please please please please take a few moments and read it because it awoke in me something besides outrage. I didn’t even know what to call it because when it comes to politics I couldn’t remember what else their could be. Here is 1 paragraph from his piece. I would tattoo this shit on my body if it wasn’t so awkwardly long.

Hard times are still to come for all of us. Rear guard actions will be fought at every political crossroad. But make no mistake: Change is a motherfucker when you run from it. And right now, the conservative movement in America is fleeing from dramatic change that is certain and immutable. A man of color is president for the second time, and this happened despite a struggling economic climate and a national spirit of general discontent. He has been returned to office over the specific objections of the mass of white men. He has instead been re-elected by women, by people of color, by homosexuals, by people of varying religions or no religion whatsoever. Behold the New Jerusalem. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a white man, of course. There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.

When I got to my stop Kamel was waiting for me as usual and he was all a twitter about wanting to tell me about his republican radio shows he listens to every day. How they have it all wrong and how they keep saying Romney wasn’t conservative ENOUGH and how next time they just need to keep hammering the major points of conservatism because that’s the ticket! That’s what was missing! And I got so excited about this conversation that I whipped out my phone and read Kamel the paragraph above because the world is changing. It has changed. It’s moving forward with or without you. And here is where Kamel said something that shot an arrow right into the center of how the article by David Simon had made me feel:

“Hope and change isn’t what happened back in 2008,” he said, “hope and change is what happened yesterday.” This was the change, the shift. Gay marriage is becoming more and more legal with every election cycle, women are breaking down major political barriers, and people of color are finally being seen as a formidable force – not just for pandering but as people who matter.

It’s not about hating the people who don’t agree with me and it’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about continually standing up for what I believe is right, and acknowledging when the ways we used to think, the ways we used to do things, just aren’t the ways anymore.

11 thoughts on “Hope and Change”

  1. Not being American myself I try not to comment too much on American politics, although I have very strongly held opinions. But the election results this week, particularly as they relate to the propositions that passed granting legal marriage rights to all couples made my heart sing.

    Maybe it means we’re starting to catch up with the times.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. At one point on Tuesday night I tweeted “This is getting fun.” And it really was. In part, of course, because of Obama and a second term and everything that means. But also because of the propositions getting voted down here in Minnesota and because what was happening in the Senate and House races. Elizabeth Warren, for example! And the fact that now 1 in 5 Senators will be women. Which is, HELLO, not a huge number. But it is the largest number, ever, and PROGRESS and WHOO HOO!

    And, speaking of fun… Have you seen this, yet? That is some concrete hope and change happening right there!

  3. OMG KAMEL VOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME!! That makes me SO happy! I just love voting so much, I can’t wait to read his experiences of it!

    ““Hope and change isn’t what happened back in 2008,” he said, “hope and change is what happened yesterday.””

    YES! I read another article yesterday stating that while 2008 was a landmark election, this one in many ways was an even BIGGER deal. We hadn’t just elected an African-American president–we RE-elected him. Three states approved marriage equality. Many more passed new marijuana laws. It gives me so much hope, especially after the last YEAR of listening to hateful political rants spewing out of people’s mouths. I think we as a country ARE moving forward, and its’ exciting.

    Ugh, and Lauren. I got suckered into a Facebook political fight last night. I couldn’t go to sleep because of it!! And I know that NO ONE EVER WINS INTERNET FIGHTS! EVER! And yet I went down the rabbithole. And am now trying to convince myself to stay away 😛

    1. Nooo!! Not the RABBIT HOLE! I always hide those people off my feed because I can’t handle the rage inducing-ness. And it’s true – no one ever wins. It just goes round and round and round.

      1. I ended up hiding this person–at least for the next couple weeks. I respect him, but nuanced political discussions aren’t really Facebook’s forte, and yeah…the rabbit hole is a dark, dark place 😉

    2. I love voting too! My office building is also a polling place and when I saw the long lines of people waiting to vote I almost teared up because: democracy!! It’s such a beautiful thing.

      And Lauren, thank you for that David Simon article. It’s amazing. I love when people put my own jumbled thoughts into coherent prose for me.

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