I’d be remiss not to mention that it is the day after Election Day, and I am pleased that the smart people have prevailed over the stupid people. I never doubted as friends will attest. I wasn’t biting my nails or losing sleep for the past few months. I was enjoying the ride to victory. So much more fun than the anxiety most everyone else suffered up until now. I’m not smarter than most (again as my friends will attest), and I can’t see into the future. But when the financial markets tanked, I knew it was a done deal. So it is with absolute sincerity that I say THANK YOU GEORGE W. & DICK FOR FUCKING UP SO ROYALLY AND HANDING THE PRESIDENCY TO BARACK OBAMA ON A SILVER PLATTER.
Pipe down! I know! Of course Obama played a role in his own victory. He led a fantastic campaign beginning with the woeful annihilation of Hillary Clinton. A moment, please. He mobilized communities; gave people hope; never lost his cool and selected a worthy running mate. But no one was ever sure it would be enough. When the economy went tits up, the deal was done.
Gabriella asked Asher if they talked about the election at his pre-school. He said that they hadn’t. Gabriella was outraged-outrage from a girl who has lived in the U.S. since she was 5 and never bothered to become a citizen. The day before the election, I was making breakfast for the boys while listening to Gabriella give Asher a lesson in politics. I delivered the oat bran pancakes as quickly as I could so that I could be a part of the indoctrination. We tried to be objective about the process and not emotional about the candidates. I decided not to tell Asher that McCain is a prisoner of war who is psychologically damaged. I decided not tell Asher that Palin is a mindless whore. And, I decided not to tell Asher that anyone who votes for McCain earning less than $250K per annum is most-likely a racist and/or misogynist and/or imbecile who does not understand the concept of separation between church and state. Instead, we told him that there were 2 people who wanted to lead the country but that each one had a different plan to make this country better. We all get to decide who we think has the better plan when we vote. The fact that 9 people were running for President will be a lesson for a later time.
We did tell Asher that we thought that Barack Obama had a better plan than John McCain. Asher wanted to know if people would be sad if John McCain didn’t win. Yes, we said, they would, but hopefully, Barack Obama’s plan would make everyone feel better. It’s tough to take the high road. I know there are plenty of parents who don’t, and I can’t always blame them. I do love to hear how other people describe the election in their homes. One mother told her pre-schooler that she was voting for Barack Obama because President Bush made a really big mess and she thought Barack Obama could clean it up. I added that there weren’t enough paper towels at Costco to clean it all up. Obama would use cloth towels instead of paper towels to be good to the earth but that everyone had to help clean up, too.
It has been the most fascinating race I’ve ever studied or experienced, and I have tried to appreciate all the ups and downs of it along the way. Occasionally, an out-of-body experience was required for those ugly moments, but I never lost sight of the fact that history was in the making at every step of this election. Of course, the real work begins now. After Obama’s version of JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” speech, it is clear more than ever before that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. We can’t count on government to make everything right again-no matter who’s in the White House. I realize that I have used an inordinate number of clichés in this entry for which I do apologize.
The good news is that this IS the age of grass-roots organizing and that people ARE mobilizing to change the world-one issue at a time. Why, even in my own little pocket of the world in suburban New Jersey, I see change-and it’s closer to my house than Russia!
Ever since I took on the role of meat-lady at my synagogue, I see change. More and more people are choosing to support sustainable farming over industrial farming and fulfilling Michael Pollan’s call to eat ethically. They can’t help but share with me how good it feels to be part of a movement.
After choosing to birth Asher and Levi in birth centres with the support of midwives, we have become a part of a growing movement to empower mothers and fathers to have healthier births in the face of a fear-mongering, litigious medical system. In the past few years, we’ve seen the publication of books like Jennifer Block’s Pushed and releases of films such as Ricki Lake’s The Business of Being Born and Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s Orgasmic Birth. Clearly, change is in the air.
We lost the gay marriage battle in Arizona, Florida and California. It’s a wake-up call. We have to stop faffing around with individual states. There is no equality unless gay unions are recognized by the federal government. We have to stop tippy-toeing around it and take it to the Supreme Court as soon as Obama gets some decent Justices in there.
All the planets have aligned. It is time for change, and it feels great to be a part of it. As many a parent has cautioned his/her child, MAKE GOOD CHOICES! I hope your vote was the first of many good choices.