For the last nine months, I’ve worn my political heart on my sleeve and today should be no different.
I am disappointed. I had spent the last week feeling very happy about the possibility of John Kerry as president. As last night wore on, it was hard to stay optimistic, though I tried. The ups and downs of this entire year seemed to be shoved into one draining night. And then, it was just over.
I once saw author Toni Morrison on Oprah (Yes, I’ve been known to watch Oprah) and she said, “Love is a risk that brave people take.” I think I could say the same about politics today. For myself, my new wife, and many of my friends, this was our “coming of age” election. We were all deeply invested in this one. Our emotions ran high throughout the year and I had many spirited discussions with political allies and opponents.
There is a certain hope that comes with the possibility of change. And for many of us, we felt in the end we would prevail because truth would transcend polls and rhetoric.
The emotional investment many of us have made in our candidate and our party over the last year should not be forgotten. And I cannot even begin to speak for the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets and gave their hearts to this effort. Three years ago George Bush was a lock for reelection with a 93% approval rating. While he did win, it was not a resounding victory, nor was it a mandate from the American people.
So many people worked so hard to make this election the close affair that it was. We should take our time to mourn, lick our wounds, whatever. But don’t feel like it was all for nothing. We were off by a couple of percentage points. If we walk away from this fight now, we will not make up those 2-3 percentage points with the rest of America.
The most important thing we can do now is keep ourselves informed. There was a lot of high talk from all politicians today about healing this rift and coming together. Let’s hold them to this. In the coming weeks, a new supreme court justice may be chosen. We cannot accept partisanship in this matter. Our ability to move this democracy lies in communicating with our senators and congressmen.
That is what we can do to remain engaged and active. And we can keep talking with each other. I loved the political dialog we had going this past year. Among my close friends, I felt like a number of us came out of our political shells and can now participate in the process with thought and passion.
Thank you to anybody who listened to me. In hindsight I wish I had done more.