I was pregnant with Eamon and had opened a little gift shop when the 2004 election re-elected George W. Bush as president for another term. My husband and I were grief-stricken. And we talked of what was to be done and would we consider moving. And then we had our baby.
What I remember from that experience is that eventually, after the drama died down, my life didn’t change all that much. I still woke up, had my cup of coffee with cream and sugar, and knew I could hop in my car and go to any drive through for the fast food of my choice. America was still a free country for me. No gum toting goons were pillaging my village and raping my children. And in recognizing this first world perspective, I got through emotionally. Then the economic recession/depression finally forced me to shut my shop down on the coldest day of the following January perhaps while President Bush was being sworn in. I returned home terrified to raise a soon to be toddler trapped in my house.
This time the election rumbled around, I was spared election coverage since I no longer had cable. I did not have to watch any debates or read too much to know who I wanted to represent me. And I knew that the one and only bit of power I had was the power to vote. And so I did. But I also knew that there is no way to predict the outcome of anything even after it seems a done deal. And so I offer this: Empower your daughters, your friends, your friends daughters to stand up for what they need. Support one another, be empathetic, offer hope and hands. Be community. I believe there is nothing that will tear my community from my heart nor the hope that one day I will see a woman in the oval office.
I have voted every election since I was 18 when I voted for Clinton. I was so proud of myself. This time, as I do every election, I took my children to show them that there is a democracy in process. It may be a flawed one but those people working at the polling place have so much honor and integrity. So much pride I felt richer for being there, even if the outcome wasn’t the one I’d have preferred.
Yes, there is something rather scary and ominous trending in humanity. A lack of care for our global community and its plights that I find terrifying. The age of Me me me is upon us. It’s fear not faith talking. But then I have to remember that becoming anxious will get us nowhere. And Hope is where I need to live to make my life work for me and help others to feel the same. I want to show my children that I do my best every day and let go of the rest.
So I will continue to fight my way out of the chrysalis that I was trapped in for so long. And when I emerge as a flawed and beautiful butterfly, I will stay true to my intentions to help others to emerge and find their self-kindness and their tribe and spread their gifts to the world as well. This is all I can do. And wait with hope and gratitude. Because there is Always something to be grateful for.
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