I am standing in line to vote. It is the longest voting line I have ever waited in and admittedly not the longest citizens will wait today. It is winding, not unlike our first political cartoon that shows a fragmented snake, (1754, Pennsylvania Gazette) split into seperate colonies. Below the image a proclamation from Benjamin Franklin “Join, or die.”
At the time this was a call for unity. A call for a fragmented people to come together. Today, that snake looks awfully familiar. For the last year I have had it coiled within me, an invisible knot in my chest, twinging when I thought about today.
It is a knot that twisted everytime we talked about problems instead of solutions. When we declared we were preventing a nomination instead of doing our civic duty.
When we closed DMV offices in poor districts and redrew district lines to honor Elbridge Gerry.
When we made judgements on each other instead of walking in each others shoes. When we spewed hate instead of affinity. Violence instead of understanding. And fear and blame above all else.
Of course it would be easy to say I did not say or do any of those things. To state that the party I am voting for didn’t say or do any of those things, but that would be a lie, though technically true to a degree.
All of this happened in America. This is who we are. This is a part of all of our history and a portent, perhaps, of things to come.
And so regardless of today’s outcome (and yes I am with her) this election is a legacy we must all shoulder and bear.
For hate is a seed of darkness that will grow until we confront it head on.
So when I step into the voting booth today (after doing my election day ritual) I will take a moment. I will breathe and I will also make a vow.
I will do better. We can do better. We can be better.
PS. November 9. I do not have any words of wisdom. I do not have any light to shine in the darkness. I only have this. We are a country filled with promise. And while many of us will live the next four years in fear this is still America. And I am an American. I love this country too much to let it falter on my watch. If it means I have to become more vocal I will step up. If it means I have to be uncomfortable I can take the risk.
We have more to lose today than we have ever have had before. We cannot go backwards. Always forward.