Tuesday, November 11, 2008

two more cents

So I'm up late, working, I’m tired sleepy and tired mentally, but I've been trying to jump back into the blog, but the longer I go between posts, the lazier I get. I'm picturing myself, watching the rope go around between the two twirlers on either end, both of my hands up and down, up and down, timing my jump, but every time I've tried to jump the past few weeks, I been sucked back into the real world where filing deadlines nip at my ass every time I try to sit down to blog and end up losing the rhythm and just put my head back into the job, but hell, I could really use the diversion and sustenance writing provides, especially when I feel like I'm stretched so thinly.

So I’m corralling my thoughts about the election and how it feels to finally, finally be represented by a leader who reflects my values, and the best way I can describe it?: it feels like a party in my patriot’s heart. And I AM a patriot, I AM a real American even though I AM a big D Democrat and I didn’t realize how very hopeless eight years of
GWBush and a lifetime of being a big D Democrat in the reddest of the red states had left me feeling. I am proud of my country, I am proud that Utah did not have the highest percentage of support for the Republican candidate like it usually does in presidential election years, Idaho and Wyoming beat us out of that distinction this year. I am proud that more of my fellow Westerners figured out that voting Republican is truly voting against their own self interest. But most of all, I am happy that at least 37% of the voting citizens in this state don’t think that I am in league with the devil because I voted for the Democrat because they did too and we can’t all be in league with the devil. I don’t think it works that way, too public, doesn’t the evil one work on a more discreet scale?

I am a life long Democrat and a life long resident in the reddest of the red states. Where, not only as a non-Mormon, but a non-Republican, and a single parent, I have certainly experienced what it feels like to be suspected of being in league with the devil because of the choices I make on my ballot. We pretty much have a one-party political system in local and state government, and seriously, it hasn’t been working all that great for us. You have to go back to the Great Depression when most Mormons were Roosevelt Democrats because the depression walloped our state so badly and like they’re aren’t any atheists in a fox hole, there aren’t many Republicans in a depression, but since World War II, the trend has been decisively red. Well, not so red anymore, you can see streaks of purple and my zip code; forget about it, blue, blue, blue, blue.

But one positive thing of learning to get along as a Democrat in a Republican stronghold, you learn to adapt strategies that keep you from screaming obscenities at the neighbors. I like to think that it has made me a better person, or maybe just caused me to retreat from a fight, but either way, no bloody noses over politics is a good outcome. So when my ancient neighbor Cuma (I really need to ask her the origin of her name one of these days) came down the street the day after Halloween to chat while the girls and I were out front raking leaves, she launched on how many other good causes for which the money Obama (although she said "that man") spent on his infomercial could have been used and that she was just livid about the waste. I was pretty gentle, I told her there were restrictions on campaign funds, he couldn't just spend the money on anything he wanted to, although I’m sure he agrees that hungry people should be fed, because the people who donated to him did so to help him get elected, not to feed the hungry, but she shook her head and said, "well, there's a reason those Democrats are known for their spending." Then she asked if the girls were still collecting for UNICEF and put a $5.00 bill in each of their boxes and marched them up to another ancient neighbor's house so she could donate too. I've lived my whole life trying to gently disagree with my neighbors without offending them because I know that (a) I can't change their minds and pretty much, they can’t change mine, and (b) they are good people who would give $20 to a “radical” cause (US out of the UN is a permanent metal sculpture at a house near my folks' home) because it made my kids feel special.

Living in the reddest of the red states makes me understand that, red or blue, most folks just want what they see as best for the country, and we all see “what’s best” through the prism of our own political biases. Although, each year when the Utah state legislature convenes, I do the mental equivalent of plugging my ears and singing Dixie at the top of my voice for 45 days so I don’t know what those yahoos are doing to the laws of my state to further disadvantage the weak, poor, vulnerable, voiceless and disenfranchised citizens of our state.

So can I just tell you, the relief I felt to wake up on November 5 to a country lead by a man who reflects my values? It felt wonderful, like a party I get to go to where I'll know lots of people and I won't have to feel like I'm a second class member of society because I'm a Democrat. And I do not over-exaggerate; so many people in this state think you are not a real American if you don't vote for Republicans. But there is no more sappily patriotic American than me and I have the trophies to prove it (grade school patriotic speech champion, two consecutive years, I was on fire). Now I have a leader who reminds me of the pride I felt and expressed out loud to a “multi-purpose room” full of fourth, fifth and sixth graders when I was just a girl and still full of hope. See, was I wrong?, sappy sappy sappy.


Nancy said...

Marji, I couldn't go to bed until I knew Obama had secured the election. I felt robbed in 2000 when I went to bed after Al Gore had been declared the winner and in 2004 when I was sure Kerry would prevail. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up to "Barack Obama is the president-elect." I cried with relief and went to bed!

I may be in a Democratic state, but I sure landed in a Republican County! Whew! McCain won at all the school elections; I was worried!


Rebecca said...

Marji, I join you from a Red Red State as a non mormon and a single parent. Yes, Idaho is just as red, just about as mormon, and I am just as single. But I forgive all these diehard oh it says R for Republican so must vote for him/her (can you say Sali) regardless of the oiliness of their snake oil (I know redundancy) they vote R.

Rebecca said...

and let me finish that statement - bacause here in SW Idaho I have found a community of people who are friendly helpful and just dang nice. What the hec.