Election Night

In 2008, I went to an election night party at a friend’s house. My son was a baby and spent the night alternately being passed around for snuggles and laying on the rug, eating his fat feet. When Obama won, I looked at my son and sobbed. I thought about my late father-in-law, who entered the military when it was still segregated. I thought about how interracial marriage was still illegal in 22 states when my husband was born. And now, here was my beautiful boy, about to grow up with a president who looked like him.

I think it goes without saying that I miss having Obama as president every day.

In 2016, I went to an election night party a friend’s house. My daughter was already tucked into bed for the night but I was already looking forward to waking up the next day and telling her that we had a woman president. Instead I went to bed with an anxious heart and then woke up the next day feeling heartbroken and angry. I got into a fight with my Trump supporter father on Facebook and I still haven’t spoken to him since.

It’s discouraging to think that Trump has, in fact, ended up being EXACTLY as bad as I feared he would that first day.

We had a mayoral election yesterday and, oh, there was a candidate I wanted so badly to win. He’s smart and progressive and when we met him over the summer he was incredibly engaged and friendly to Miles, who of course wanted to ask him a million questions. His name is Melvin Carter and he happens to be African American.

Would you be stunned to learn that toward the end of the campaign he became the target of some racist ass bullshit? In our particular election, the racist ass bullshit came from the police union, who were endorsing another candidate and attempting to blame Mr. Carter for the increase in gun violence in our city… because his house got burgled and two handguns belonging to his father (a former police officer) were stolen.

Anyways, it was a whole ugly thing and I tried to have faith that people in my city would see through it but I was so nervous. Melvin was clearly the best candidate in the field but 2016 happened. Being the best candidate in the field feels like it doesn’t matter when there are rich white guys in the race.

But then last night, he won.

HE WON.

The best candidate in the field, a 38 year old African American guy, won. And all over the country other really interesting and exciting candidates won too. And I got to go to bed feeling a little, tiny, maybe a bit hopeful again for the first time in 364 days.

(Don’t get me wrong — the world is still a trash can fire and this isn’t evidence that things are getting magically better. But there at least there is this one small good thing)

I’m not sure how long this feeling will last — probably just until Trump tweets again. But it felt good.

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