A Push and a Cry…Four Years Later
Four years ago today, I was starting my 40th week of pregnancy. On November 2nd exactly, I had a 3 year old at home and was wondering how and what I might be able to do to get to the Obama rally in downtown Cleveland. It was the last rally before then Senator, now President, Obama would have before taking off November 3rd and waiting for the election results on November 4th.
I found a babysitter, and with friends, took the bus to downtown Cleveland to wait for the man that would be president to come speak. It was a beautiful but chilly fall day and there was so much energy and excitement. In the prior 5 years, I had never before felt that excitement or energy in Cleveland. I was not there early enough to get into the sitting area and a few people mentioned there was an area for supporters with disabilities and perhaps I should wait there. Considering my baby girl was due within the next day or two, it was a good option, but further away and more crowded. So, I just stood for hours and waited.
The local politicians spoke and fired up the crowd. The loyal and dedicated to the ticket were cheering. Those local politicians, who didn’t usually have the penchant for a good turn of phrase, seemed more eloquent than usual under the aspiration of Change and Hope. During the cheers, my daughter would sometimes kick- always on the left side (displaying her liberal leanings in utero) and I wondered if maybe she needed the extra excitement to be coaxed out into the world.
I waited three hours, until my very pregnant self could no longer stand. I walked a few blocks, hailed a taxi, and went home. That night I had the best sleep of my pregnancy and the next day my daughter was born.
Now it’s election time again and I’m reminiscent of those days four years ago when I personally, and the nation as a whole, were on the brink of bringing something new into the world. I’m a daughter of immigrants. I was told that in America, anything is possible and you can be anything you want. I never realized I was brown or different until I grew older and understood the diverse forms and levels of discrimination. My dad always thought I could be a Senator. I thought I wanted to be a city mayor, but if I was really honest with myself, I never really believed I could. That is until Barack Obama was elected president. I have worked since I was 15 years old in non-profits and governments because it’s where I think I can be effective and help support making the world more just and equitable. Despite the craziness of bureaucracies, I know there is need for good, efficient, and effective government brought to fruition by the voice of democracy.
My daughter, born the day after that last 2008 rally, told me that maybe after she is a doctor fairy, that she’ll be president of Canada (apparently we are moving to Vancouver for her to go to college and live thereafter). I often attribute her personality and spunkiness to the time period in 2008 and that rally – all that positive and affirmative energy around her cheering, hoping, praying, and wishing for something bigger and better for themselves and for the country.
Regardless of your political position – go vote. It’s your right. You owe it to yourself and your country. In 2000, the presidential race was decided by 537 votes in Florida. In 2012, we are again facing a very close election – this time all eyes are on Ohio. Here or anywhere else, your vote counts.
We’re on the brink again. The world, in all its chaos is still full of amazing beauty and possibilities. A few weeks ago, my son asked me if I was a pessimist or an optimist. I said, “100%, no doubt, absolutely an optimist.” I believe in possibilities. Every four years, since I was able, I have voted – always voting not only because it’s my right, but also because I believe in the possibility of something better, long lasting, and amazing for the future. It can come through government, but I know it always starts with me taking the first step.
Please take your step… go vote. Voting information for your state can be found here: http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/contact_your_state.aspx