Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Seeing Stars

The New Hampshire primary has come and gone, and I eagerly await the results. Mostly. Sometimes I can't help but think that this whole primary season--and the media analysis that comes with it--totally distorts the essence of the democratic process and pushes good people out too early. But I digress.

This election is fiercely important to me. 2000 was a hard year for me. In the course of a few months I ended a 4-year-long relationship, was thrust into the Big Big City, and started my first real job. But I will always remember 2000 as the year I lost the stars in my eyes.

In Israel, the peace process that I had believed in so completely crashed and burned, and the seemingly endless waves of violence began. In America, the contested election disenfranchised me in a way I never thought was possible in our democracy.

I was only 23. Too young to become cynical. Yet there I was.

I'm not sure that you can ever really regain your youthful idealism--the complications of living life necessarily inject nuance and if/and/ors into everything. But as the election process gains speed, I'm hoping for a hint of those old stars.

Like never before I understand the damage that a bad president can wreak. This is not the world I want my son to grow up in. Too much hatred and division, too much war, too much sadness and poverty. And it's everywhere, swirling, I fear that I will only be able to protect Chamudi for so long.

A new president won't change everything. But if the United States could just rise high enough to consider--and maybe even elect--a deserving African American or female candidate--I might just begin to believe that we are indeed a progressive society, that as a nation we stand for something worthwhile. That Chamudi will grow up to be a proud American in a safe and free society, and that I will stand beside him, social security check in hand and stars in my eyes.

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