Ten years ago I strutted around feeling like I changed the world. My vote for Barack Obama was the stuff of legend. I had actively participated in the election of the first African American President of the United States. I truly felt that I had been a part of the hope and change our country and this planet needed. Since then, I have endured my share of disappointments. I have lived through what appears now as the inevitable backlash of all that hope and change.
I am old enough to remember casting votes for Al Gore and John Kerry. I can also remember the tearful days of consoling my wife who feels these things even more deeply than I do. We had voted for Bill Clinton, twice, and we assumed that the United States was coming around. When Bill's wife lost her chance to become the first woman President of the United States to a blustering, questionably coiffed real estate developer, it became clear that the path to hope and change was a winding one. It was not an escalator.
Seeing how I was in this for the long haul, I signed up to vote by mail. I did this primarily to ensure that I would be an active piece of the democratic machinery ongoing. In case my tires were flat on Election Day, I had already passed my ballot on to the proper authorities and my voice would be heard. And, after the debacles of 2000 and 2016, it seems like a lot of others decided to join my in my compulsion. Thirty-six million of us in the 2018 midterm election.
We voted for a Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives. We voted for the youngest woman, at twenty-nine, to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a dreamer, a Dreamer, and a Bernie Sanders-style progressive. In Colorado, the first openly gay man, was elected Governor of the Centennial State. Jared Polis vowed to fight for Medicare-for-all. He also backed stronger gun laws, investments in renewable energy, repeal of the death penalty, and for universal full-day preschool and kindergarten as an extension of Colorado’s public schools. And what did I do, here in California? Well, I kept my little corner of it blue. Deep blue. As I talked about the returns to my mother back in Colorado, she sounded disappointed. "I guess I wanted more," she said. And I understood. The fear and hate is still out there, and all this hope and change will be hard pressed to extinguish it.
But it's a start.