Yesterday I expressed an unmistakable political preference through my outspoken alter ego, Gemini Girl, and if the thought of two voices running through one head makes you uncomfortable, try taking a look at the secondary characters rolling around up there. Some people seem to like her. Others don’t. When I was sixteen years old, the direct nature of her point of view would have intimidated me to the point of paralysis, but now that I’m forty-two? Bigger things than winning Homecoming Queen keep me awake at night. I still kind of care about wearing the right jeans and all, but don’t tell anyone.
It’s 3:30 a.m., and many of those larger issues (not to mention half a bottle of a solid, if cheap Malbec) have turned on a mind that swore at about midnight it would dream peacefully of greater days ahead for our country; of a nation redirecting toward the right side of it’s immigrant roots, a more forgiving silhouette of equality, and the sense of spirit and idealism that once led a disenfranchised group of colonists to reach for something more.
Under the artificial light glowing in my kitchen, though, my Utopian fantasies look more like hallucinations, as temporary as the confetti that rained down in a blur of glory last night, already swept up and thrown away.
Our nation was at war with itself before the Declaration of Independence was even penned, and today? It still is. Thomas Jefferson famously insisted that all men are created equal, but it doesn’t feel that way to me in yet another election where almost half the country declared, through a constitutional right to vote, that “this is not my guy.”
This morning, the hope and optimism I felt four years ago has been replaced by a sober sense of urgency and purpose, because not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as a nation, we need to get it right. What do I mean by “it”? Everything. How do you define everything? The same way you catch confetti falling from the sky. One piece at a time.
With an almost unfathomable amount of debt busting through the lining of our collective pockets and an economy that’s only recently shown sputtering signs of life, I don’t feel like celebrating. I want to work, because a promise that doesn’t meet the greater good of all the people it’s meant to serve quickly becomes a hollow reminder of what could have been. And we aren’t a nation made of yesterday’s news. Not at all.
If we’re to live up to the challenge of our forefathers; to exist as a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people, we must respect yet set aside our differences, move quickly and methodically toward a platform of common ground, and sacrifice for the greater good. We can’t let partisanship succeed any more than allowing our school systems to fail. We have to hold our President, our Congress, and perhaps most importantly, ourselves accountable for future generations, because the re-emergence of this great country depends on every single person privileged enough to call it home.
Last night, while striking his trademark inspirational chord of hope, the President looked and sounded more mature than he did four years ago. But we’ve grayed a little around the temples too. Let’s hope we’re all wiser for the wear.