I know yesterday I said that today’s post would be about SMART goals, but I feel like I can’t speak about anything other than Barack Obama’s landslide victory last night. It has left me awe-struck and teary-eyed, shocked and amazed, hopeful and inspired. Joe Scarborough said this morning (yes Mom, I watched “Morning Joe” today) “We’ll be right back with ‘Morning Joe: A New World'” while John Mayer’s “Waiting for the World to Change” played in the background.
We don’t have to wait any longer.
I’ve been raised by a Democratic family, so much so that we thought my Papa was going to walk out of my brother’s Bar Mitzvah in 1993 after the Rabbi asked for a moment of silence on the recent passing of Richard Nixon. Being an actress and living in NYC is a liberal double-whammy, and living under the Clinton administration from the time I was 15 until the age of 23 almost allowed me to forget that there are states in between the coasts. Those states hold my views in reverse: they don’t support gay marriage, they want to take away a woman’s right to choose, and they want to stay involved in a war that had no basis to be fought. The last 8 years has made me both hyper-sensitive to these ideas and also numb to them. It got to the point where I just resigned myself to it, allowing things to “happen” and feeling like I couldn’t change them.
And then 100 million people went to vote yesterday, some standing in line for hours upon hours – one pregnant woman withstood her contractions until she pulled the lever! Some then got turned away and had to see a judge to grant them the vote (yes, even a big famous movie star). Me? I was 5th in line at 6:15p last night and I was out the door by 6:30p. And while I was thrilled to not have won the 2+-block-long-line lotto, it made me feel regretful. I think I wanted to fight for something yesterday. And since voting is really the only thing that I did to contribute to this election, I almost wanted it to be hard. Tough. A war story to prove I was ready to wait on line for hours – hours! – to vote in a state that was surely going to my candidate anyway.
And while I’m so grateful and so thankful for this win – this landslide! – I don’t feel responsible. I allowed my numbness to make it OK for me to keep myself at a distance from this election, with all the elements of it that invoke such strong feelings of wrongness in me. I signed up for the Planned Parenthood & the MoveOn.org email list, but when they asked for help – either with my time or my money – I would press Delete. I would convince myself:
“It will be what it will be.”
“I’m getting married.”
“I’m too busy.”
“I don’t have extra money lying around.”
And now I’ve been proven wrong, and I could see how much sweeter this victory would have been if I felt like I contributed to it by going to the phone bank for an hour or donating just $25. I was really going to step up and sign up to canvas in Pennsylvania on Nov 1st – until I realized it was the night after Halloween and “I’d probably be tired.”
I’m so inspired by this Cinderella Story, and I’m going to take away not only the feelings of all that come along with it, but also the actions. I’m taking my cue from an America that I almost stopped caring about. If America – who allowed an election to be stolen & then voted the thief back in office 4 years later – can change, then I can change. I can make a difference. I can do what I believe in and have a really big, huge, enormous reason to celebrate the outcome.