Monday, November 03, 2008

This election, part 5

I took one last look at 538 tonight--I've only read it for the last several days, and as I've formulated my own scenarios, I've clicked over there to find the data processed there about the same as my own speculation.  I've had a chair in the back now since 1988 while friends and acquaintances and people I've met in passing have prognosticated, so I guess I've listened well.  And I'm listening now to the chattering classes and the random people I've had the pleasure to meet either launch their life boats or sit up a little straighter and dare to be a bit more open--and that's just as fun.  They'll all be back.  In WDC, the deck chairs on the Titanic are always being rearranged, and yet the ship never really sinks.

Anyway, 538 is also quoting King Henry V's St. Crispin's day speech--at least I beat them to that.

I wasn't a big volunteer this election cycle.  I took care of my kid, I held down the job that got him the health insurance he needed, I put my Abbie Hoffman bumper sticker on my car (which gets the most amazing amount of notice, I've been finding) and my green peace sign magnet and my Obama magnet, I gave money to the DNC/Obama and a few bucks to the canvasser to get some coffee, and I volunteered for the PTA as the special needs parent.  And I hoped.  And it's been the worst year and a half of my life since Robert got sick and I'm still standing and I'm still hoping and I hope I've done something, no matter how small, for social justice for disabled kids other than yell.

And I want my daughter to grow up in an America in which she doesn't have to bargain her life away over having a family or not having a family.  I don't want the right to tell her she's a bad person if she doesn't honor 'life' at all costs, even to the brink of self-destruction.  And I don't want the left to tell her she's a bad person because she can't live up to the endemic self-righteousness of women who've never faced real constraints or hardship or the accidents of fate who think their careful "planning" of their pregnancies is a mark of their own inherent virtue and not just dumb luck.  Am I bitter, you ask?  Sure, just a bit, but I don't mind who knows.

Let me leave you with some sections of Campbell McGrath's "Almond Blossoms, Rock and Roll, the Past Seen as Burning Fields" from American Noise:

I don't know if the rush we felt was culturally specific,
though it was the literal noise of our culture we rode
like Vandals or Moors toward a distant sea,
but that feeling was all we ever desired, that freedom
to hurtle madly against the sweet, forgiving flesh of the world,
urged on by stars and wind and music,
kindred spirits of the night.  How the past
overwhelms us, violent as floodwaters, vivid as war.
. . . . 
At the Olympic ceremonies in Los Angeles
they chose to reenact the national epic, westward
expansion, only due to certain staging restrictions
the covered wagons full of unflappable coeds
rolled from west to east, a trivial, barely noticed flaw.
It is America's peculiar gift and burden, this liberation
from the shackles of history.  And we were such avatars.

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