During the last two elections Z and I have sat in our living room with people we love and joked, and drank, and supported each other as the results came in. It’s a pretty grand way to spend a nerve racking evening and I hope we do it every four years. This morning as I scrolled through the status updates on FB I came across this one posted by one of my favorite people in the world, “Glad to see this morning that hope > fear.” I couldn’t agree more, Dave.
WARNING! This whole next paragraph is untrue! Read here for my correction!
The election has me thinking about how much changes every four years. Back in ’96 I voted for Dole. By that point I had already ideologically shifted away from the Republican party and into the arms of the Democrats. And part of me wishes I could say that I voted for Clinton. But then I remember the reason I didn’t and I know I was being honest with myself. I think history will show he was a great president. But I couldn’t get past the man. I was not much younger than Monica Lewinsky. I could imagine being an intern at the White House. It still fills me with disgust that he would misuse his status as the most powerful man in the world for a quick lay, especially with a subordinate who was so young. I was an idiot when I was 22. How about you? Would you have the courage to say no in that situation? As a people pleaser who fears and respects authority I’m not sure I would have been able to. I know he wasn’t the first President to do it, but I simply could not bring myself to vote for him.
2001 taught me another lesson. By that time I was a registered Democrat. In the NYC Mayoral race Bloomberg shifted his political affiliation and secured the Republican nomination, he ran against Mark Green. The Democratic primary, pitting Green against Fernando Ferrer was brutal and supporters of Green distributed racist flyers to white areas of Brooklyn. Green might not have had knowledge of the flyers, but his reaction never satisfied me. It was ugly politics and it made me ashamed to be a Democrat. I voted for Green anyway. As I left the polls I felt sick to my stomach. In ’05 it was easy for me to vote for Bloomberg; it didn’t make up for the stupid choice I made back in ’01. But you learn from your mistakes and I will never vote for someone based on party affiliation again.
In 2008 we watched the returns with my sisters-in-law. Z made the questionable decision to buy some blue curacao and invented drinks he called Obama Bombers. They were disgusting. Last night he found the blue curacao in our liquor cabinet and said he couldn’t believe we’d moved such crap from RI. Then he asked if I wanted an Obama Bomber. I told him to go jump in a lake.
That frightening neon blue liquor made me think of election night four years ago, and how different our lives were. The election took place a couple of weeks before I got pregnant with T. We weren’t thinking about being parents. We had no worries about staying up late to watch returns, there wasn’t going to be a 6am or earlier wake up call in the guise of a toddler crawling into bed with us. Four years later we have two kids, Ellie and Kelsey have one on the way, and we are able to raise our boys in such a way that they will never question the fact that their cousin has two moms. I think we are headed towards a world where their Aunts’ marriage is considered every bit as “real” as their parents’ marriage. Change can be such a fucking beautiful thing.
Change can be such a fucking beautiful thing.
That is my favorite realization this election season. Because change usually scares the living shit out of me. I always want the known, for things to be exactly as they are because I’ve figured out how to navigate right now. But here we are four years later-Z has never been this happy professionally, I am fighting every day against the crazy, we have two boys who we think are amazing and perfect and beautiful, and we’ve learned that is exactly what we are supposed to think as parents. We still have a long way to go, but becoming parents has made us both less judgmental and assholic. For once I actually feel excited about what the future holds. Where will we be in four years? What will the boys be like? We are entering the good part, the meat of this parenting gig. Our guys will be in elementary school then, I’ll have gone back to work. I don’t want to wish away our years of raising these little guys. But I want to savor it. And that is a hell of a lot better than fearing it.
I choose fear almost every day in my personal life. That is what mental illness does to me. Thanks Dave, for your update. For reminding me that a lot of the country was able to choose hope last night. I look to their example and will try to choose hope myself. Every single day.
And congratulations, Mr. President. Please, make us proud. Use these four years to make things better. We are giving you another chance. Do not squander it.