Well, to say that I am anxious and bothered and uncomfortable tonight would be HIGHLY ACCURATE. I didn’t feel this way last election. Or the one before. I had my opinions, I was excited about them, I lost Facebook friends, I made my family upset (unintentionally), but none of it made me feel not unlike how I did when I was small, and my mom got the flu, and was out of commission for days. My dad is the most wonderful dad ever, but mom is mom, and the grim spectre of doom was REAL on those dark, dark nights of having no soothing mom presence around, just something mom-like upstairs, bedridden, stripped of her powers. I’m not turning this into a metaphor about moms vs. dads, don’t worry - though as Louis CK hilariously pointed out, that would be apt. I felt this way this summer during the RNC. Cleveland has seen a lot of victory and excitement this last year, and the mood during those times has been pervasive. The mood during the RNC was of a city with a mom with the flu. It was warm and beautiful and I sat in my house on the couch, a disgruntled gnome of displeasure that my city was being overtaken by what felt like the wasteful aftermath of a state fair come to life.
And the thing is, I am not prone to being disgruntled. I like a good party, even for the other team, when the teams are both great teams (see recent Cubs vs. Indians - so much fun was had by all). My disgruntledhood was not in protest, but in reaction. And I feel a much more disturbing version of that tonight. I can’t imagine tomorrow will be anything but worse - until, as are my hopes, it gets better (even though I am not so naive as to assume any victory will be without significant storm clouds hovering dangerously close by).
I wonder right now if I’ve said enough. Did I say I enough. I know I didn’t DO enough, in terms of civic duty of canvassing and making calls and other important deeds that I do truly value and only neglected because I’ve spent the semester neck-deep in trying to teach my of-voting-age students solid rhetoric and civic engagement. I don’t assume social media or blogging WILL change minds, but along with not being prone to being disgruntled, I am not particularly cynical. Who’s to say I couldn’t?
I should’ve said: do you have concerns or doubts, questions? May I discuss them with you? Would you like to know my complex and long-thought-out reasons for voting the way I’m going to vote, as a liberal progressive urban Christian? As a teacher, as a person close to the medical and mental health fields, as a writer, as many other things?
Could I have said, which I’ll say now, that I don’t vote a party. I don’t even vote my personal values because they are not actually quite the same as my civic values; I consider the ethics of the communities and demographics that will be impacted by leadership and policy. The personal IS political so of course there is plenty of personal in my political; for those who say I have a responsibility to vote my values - well, I do. I have multi-layered values. And expectations. And I have known who I’m going to vote for from the very beginning. I’ve been given crap about it, I’ve been given support. I’ve devoted a lot of time to my choice, though, as I continued to stick with my choice; I’ve given thought to other choices. The main thing, is that I’ve thought and thought. And I’ve held back my thoughts, plenty.
But I think it’s clear who I’m voting for - if it isn’t necessarily clear, where I stand. And if someone assumes where I stand based on who I vote for, then that would be as fair as my assuming where you stand, based on who you’re voting for. I’ve not descended into that so far, though I’ve felt like it tonight. Oh man, have I felt like it. I’m frustrated to see, near the finish line, more crappy fallacies and non-credible sources trotted out as legit evidence, as good thought, as worthwhile. I DO understand why people are voting for who they vote for, generally, along as many possible lines as I can brainstorm; I still don’t find some choices acceptable, even if I do understand them. But the thing I find most bothersome is the lack of willingness to think things through, to find real information, to have standards for what is worthwhile, to make choices based on that. Instead people throw in the towel - I know this is CHOCK FULL of mixed metaphors, and I don’t apologize - because of the sheer amount of information and feeling out there, or so it seems. That is understandable, but unreasonable.
Though don’t let me imply that reason is the only appeal I care about. I clearly care about credibility - character. And of course, emotion. I care about the complexity of our country and what is in front of us, and it is a country of humans, so I’m not expecting perfection and my goal is not “right” answers. My goal is progress, and deep humanistic values, and classic liberalism where helping each other become better is part of the social contract.
You know who I think will uphold that, far better than the other major choice.
And if you still have time, and the inclination to talk about it, feel free - shoot me a message. Because it’s not quite the end; not quite yet.