"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Monday, November 03, 2008

a change is gonna come

i am so nervous and excited about tomorrow's election results that i am having trouble doing anything but reminiscing and imagining the future. for the whole of my political and social consciousness, i've only known a world of disappointing Bush policies and political farce. i can almost hardly imagine living in an america i am proud of, where i trust and believe in my government and my president. but, i am ready for a change.

it's been hard for me in the past months to watch all the election coverage and read the news about the grassroots efforts to support Obama and have to remain removed from it. hard for me to feel like teaching my little classes of 6th graders california math and science standards was a better use of my time and energy than campaigning to ensure fair elections. it was hard for me to understand how best to take part in achieving the ideal of america i wanted to see. admittedly, i was never really a huge fan of Obama, but i like the energy and enthusiasm he's breathed into the political process (eventhough i think his stances on policies are kinda lackluster and stale). i think Obama's significance is his function as a symbol of hope, change, and youthful energy, and that is sadly all i'm looking for right now from my political system. the thought of his possible loss is just too tragic to imagine. i get sick to my stomach thinking of the possible repurcussions. i think that if Obama loses this election, millions of young ppl will be forever removed and distrustful of the political process, will lose their belief in that great dream called Democracy.

so here i am: a middle school teacher in south central LA, close enough to one of the few remaining battleground states (Nevada) that skipping work to do political work has been tempting, discussing the main issues (abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, immigration) with my 6th graders and hoping they take my political excitement home to their parents, incapable of planning a math lesson tonight b/c i keep thinkingabout tomorrow and how our lives might change, and the futures of my 6th graders could change, starting Wednesday, but wondering if, wishing, i could have done more.

it's funny: in the past four years, i think i always imagined things differently. as a freshman in college, having organized and canvassed for Election 04 ("anything but Bush") in ohio and being devastated and heartbroken by the results of those efforts, i was disenchanted and confused and vowed that wherever i was in 08, i'd be working even harder for election and campaign efforts. i imagined myself as a grad student, going door-to-door, leafletting, helping voters with registrations and absentee ballots, educating citizens about the issues and getting ppl excited. basically, insert a slightly more grown-up me onto a generic college campus doing almost the same thing i was doing in undergrad. it's just so funny to think back on that and see where i actually ended up, and how laidback and immobile the actual future-me ended up being.

and now, with only about 24 hours before the results of the election will be revealed, i'm remembering the same feeling i felt four years ago: the terrific electricity of knowing that possibly, in the space of a few hours, a new president will be in office, and potentially great things could begin to happen again. this moment is bringing back memories of me as a freshman in college, of waiting in the writing center late at night watching the results slowly coming in, tired from a day's hard work at the polls in the pouring rain. everyone abuzz with energy and excitement as we held on to our hopes that our work had paid off, replaced by negativity and disbelief when the results eventually revealed a Bush win. i'm hoping and praying to the cosmos that i don't see a tragic repeat of that 2004 election day, because my lack of action this time around will have me even more devastated and angry at myself for the loss.

so, for the sake of memories and posterity, a song for change, and a flashback (a blog post written November 3, 2004 – the eve of election night):

"A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke [mp3]


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