A Sad Day In America

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No matter who wins today… it is a sad day in America. It’s a day in which our citizens were forced to pick between two bad actors. A day in which our differences are magnified and our tolerance reduced to rubble. It’s a day everyone wishes had happened months ago so we would have been spared an election in which ugliness triumphed over decency and the worst in bad behavior was seen by our young.

When I was a kid growing up, I was excited about the possibility of someday having the privilege and honor of voting for president. It was taught that it was my duty to vote and I felt lucky to be able to exercise my right to determine which way I wanted our country to go. No more. Today as a fifty-five-year-old, I feel defeated and pessimistic by this system I once felt so comfortable in.Even worse, I feel scared and vulnerable that this experiment in Democracy is failing before my eyes and there are few alternatives available to replace it with.

These days, I no longer believe that my single vote can make a difference in which direction our country moves. And if I, an indoctrinated child of the 60’s can feel this way, why would any young adult, who now sees the world through the eyes of social media, believe that their vote would make a difference? In these days of declining voter participation in the electoral process, how can we expect our children to want to vote, much less hold the process sacred, when they hear so many people dissatisfied with the candidates and the deadlock we have been enduring? Why would they want to participate in any election when they have been told that it has been rigged? Why would they have faith in the system when so many of their elders no longer do?

Today, when I went to vote, I realized I was stooped over like an old lady, the weight of this election bearing down on my body, crushing my spirit and soul. Instead of being joyful I felt sorrow that our country had come to this…so many words without substance, so many promises that will never be fulfilled and so much hatred that neighbor has turned against neighbor. And I wonder whatever happened to the enthusiasm I once felt and I question if I can ever get it back?

Yes, today is a sad day because the possibility of new beginnings and the excitement about exercising our right to vote has vanished; replaced instead by an obligation to vote for the lesser of two evils. This election and these two candidates have brought this country to new lows we never should have reached and today I wonder if it is even possible to dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. The promise of America has been compromised and it is a sad day indeed.

Window of Opportunity…318 Days To Fix This

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In the world of public policy there is what’s known as a “window of opportunity.” This is where the all the stars align and the perfect opportunity arrives to push your agenda and get it through the political process. All of a sudden “the window” opens and you have access to government the likes of which you have never seen before and you must act fast before the window shuts again to your particular cause.

Recently, I have realized I am pushing open that window of opportunity with B. I know I should stop but I am full of questions and like an addict on a high I cannot seem to stop asking. As I explained to B, since he has been so closed off in the past and he is trying so hard to be open; I can’t help but take advantage of the open window as I try to crawl through to his brain. I have to admit he is also using this opportunity to ask his own questions.

We all know that an open window can be a delight with soft breezes clearing out the stale air. But since it is accessible it also allows the rain and snow to soak the floor and possibly wreck the precious things it comes in contact with. ¬†While I am enjoying this chance to peek inside the window I am also discovering that the questions are difficult and I don’t always like the answers I find inside B’s house. His answers sometimes make me uncomfortable. They occasionally make me squirm. Often, they bring tears to my eyes and make me dream of a time when things were sweeter.

The truth is, that the here and now, it is a burdensome season. It is summer, and the earth, like our relationship, feels scorched and dry. I long to turn on the air conditioner for relief but to do so would mean that the window would have to be shut. And like most windows, I am afraid that once shut, that in the future the wood may swell making it difficult if not impossible for it to be opened again.

And so I sit in the heavy still heat of the day, with the window still wide open as I try to relish this time, asking questions of the person within, while hoping the window does not close tight on his soul.