Like most people, I’ve had so many emotions this week- and even today that I’m really struggling to make sense of- to make peace with, to be able to put into words. I think it will take a long time to fully digest and process all the things that happened this week– and I don’t just mean my two- 2!!!!- national television appearances. You can see one of them here- on the ABC Q+A Website, https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NN2016H119S00. They also highlighted it as their “hard question of the week.”
I don’t have a link to the other appearance, only a video of me watching myself with a small, curious voice in the background.
Yet another Podcast was released (https://youtu.be/ZqpentdsHuo) and I did 2 live Election Day crosses for the radio show.
But that’s obviously not the biggest news of the week. The biggest is Election Night/Week and it’s outcome. And I’m a bit lost for words. I’m thinking about so many diferent things.
There’s 4 year old excited me- the one that remembers crossing the street to go to the school auditorium one November morning to watch her Mom vote for Geraldine Ferraro. I think that little girl had finally been given her first Barbie Doll- Day to Night Barbie, and knew on some level that it was a big deal to vote for a woman. Or maybe she knew that voting for President was a big deal no matter who was on the ticket.
Then there’s me in school, dreading the first day attendance since inevitably I knew that the teacher would get to my name and pause. I always thought- If I can pronounce it, why can’t they? Now we’ll have a Vice President who knows what it is like, to have to literally spell out/sound out her name for people. I get it, she gets it, that’s awesome.
Then there’s me who is interested in politics, studying political science and American history, learning about elections and the electoral college. Believing, trusting that the 200+ year system always gets it right. Learning about political institutions and checks and balances and how it all works.
And 20 year old me, reading about hanging chads and learning that the system can be flawed, and doesn’t always represent the will of the people. And a year later seeing how one election can lead to one moment that can change everything in the world.
8 years later there was 28 year old me watching, hopeful, crying with joy and disbelief as Barack Obama became the first Black President. Feeling energized and excited about the possibilities of America and a President who was friends with Oprah and Jay-Z and was smart, funny, cool…. and Black. But also terrified for him and his family because I knew that there were dark, awful parts of America.
Flash forward to 36. Me- pregnant and thinking the world was pregnant with the possibility of the first female president. So much excitement and so much anticipation. So much optimism— all crushed while watching the election results come in. I was sitting with a friend at home, while my Mom sat in a room full of strangers. I called her looking for comfort and answers- “why, what and how”. For one of the only times in my life, my mother didn’t have the answer. No one did, I don’t know if we do even now. Crying, shocked, speechless, disbelief. How could this happen? What did it all mean? What is wrong with people?
And now this week. What was I feeling? Everything. All of the above plus fear of what might happen. Fear of the results, fear of the reaction, fear of the future. I spoke up, I spoke out, I tried to rally troops, I tried to do something, anything from here. Was it enough? Did it matter? How would we know? When would we know? What might happen either way?
And today, a breakthrough. Maybe not an end, but the beginning of the end. A sense of relief, a sense of hope- and dare I say, Joy! Joy that we’ve elected the first female Vice President, the first Vice President of Colour, the first of many things…. Joy that even though a LOT of people voted differently than I did, which I don’t fully understand– more people voted with me. Voted for unity, voted for science, voted for cohesion, and for love of what we have in common not what separates us.
It’s an odd mix of feelings- pride, relief, joy mixed with worry, surprise and fear. I’m so pleased with the result and hope that my minuscule contribution maybe played a teeny, tiny part. I doubt it– but isn’t that the great thing about voting and democracy– when we all do our teeny, tiny part, great big things can happen. There’s a huge part of me that is ecstatic and feels excited and energized for what the future holds. I haven’t popped champagne yet, there is a small bottle of Moet in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m waiting for but I’m happy and thankful that I have something to celebrate this time around! Thank you America for getting it right this time!