I did say a few days ago that I'm not a pundit or politico, but I do follow politics. And this election was particularly exciting for me.
I love that I can measure out periods of my life with elections. Regardless of who is in office, four years is a long time, actually. A person's life can change a great deal in the space of a Presidency, and these election cycles make me reflective of what has changed in my life since I started becoming politically aware.
The first election that really charged up me was in 1992. I was torn between Perot's against-the-grain, fix-it attitude, and Clinton's progressive message. After the convention, I finally decided to get swept up in the wave of support for Clinton. The night he won, I was so hopeful. I was 23 years old, discovering who I was myself, and now that I look back on it, I believe that a great deal of my excitement about election was also tied into the great changes I was about to make in my own life.
The night Clinton won, my dad and I had champagne and oysters and crowed about Clinton's victory to my mom, who had voted for Bush that year (sorry for gloating mom!). That night, woozie after the many toasts, I fell asleep with my walkman on, listening to the NPR coverage of the night. An idealist as ever, I dreamed about how happy the Clintons and the Gores were, dancing on the stage to Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow."
That rosy feeling manifested itself in the weather itself the next morning--as I drove into Chicago early that post-election day, the eastern sky was flushed with the most amazing sunrise. Stuck in traffic, I crept along the southbound Kennedy, and I felt as glowing as the glassy skyline that was drenched in pinks and golds.
I was going downtown that day to "audition" for a model UN class, the class in which I would meet my future husband. Retrospect is tricky, and memory is wily. Perhaps my memories of that election are all the more poignant because of what happened immediately following it. What I do know is this: because of my own enthusiasm, something did change in me, and for the first time in years, I started to see real Possibility--in the world, and in my life personally.
If a soothsayer had been in the car with me that morning, and if he had whispered to me his predictions, I would have been able to suspend my skepticism and believe. -- Yes, you will meet your perfect mate. Yes, you will share your world with him. And one day, in 16 years, huddled together in your darkened bed at 2am, you will celebrate the returns for an even greater election as they roll in on a tiny computer called an iphone.
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