When I was growing up, my parents never told us who they voted for. They made sure we understood the gravity of the act, I remember going with my Mama out to Norge Elementary school in the Virginia of my childhood (before “red” and “blue” were things or slurs, when George H.W. signed our Presidential Fitness Certificates, and the first-ever black governor since reconstruction, democrat Doug Wilder, was on the back of the phone book) and waiting outside the booth, watching her Frye boots shift weight under the curtain, playing with the red metal sample ballot lever. If I’d ask who they voted for my parents would tell us that politics were personal and that we may decide differently when we were older, but we had to decide for ourselves. Accordingly, either in the name of sanctity, or in the name of civility—even before the age of facebook vitriol— I’ve mainly kept my views to myself.
But, after this wild week of bare-nerve humanity, trying to keep wonder and faith alive on a small scale, I have to say that I am proud. Chest-swelling, tear-welling proud, and yes, Hopeful for the future.
And, now that I’ve decided that for myself, this morning my Mama (probably wearing those same awesome Frye boots she still rocks) sent me this:
And one felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen’s access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward – pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.
That sentence will never now be unwritten. By anyone.