The hope, we so rallied around as a community in 2008, is gone. Our optimism's diminished and in many cases, expired.
Last election, I wore stickers and t-shirts, wrote impassioned posts. Hoped. I downloaded songs and memorized speeches, chanted during debates, wallpapered my fridge with Shepard Fairey artwork, HOPED.
This year I've done none of those things. Not a one. And because of that I've felt conflicted and detached, ambivalent.
Hope (noun): a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
I go back and read the posts from 2008 and feel sad that I can't rally behind our commander in chief as well as I was able to rally behind the idea of him. The DREAM.
It's like looking back on my old letters to Santa Claus with the knowledge that he no longer exists in the way I hoped he would, thought he did. It's called disillusionment and it's what happens to people over time. It's what happens to heroes, and saviors and people who are placed on unattainable pedestals but it's also what happens in our relationships, with our parents and our children and our partners.
I've been thinking a lot about my marriage during this reelection. How tough those first few years were - how I blamed Hal for our turmoil. How we flirted with leaving each other. Didn't think it was worth sticking it out. Decided it was worth sticking it out. Hated each other and loved each other and blamed each other. How all things repaired were once broken.
I think about how, in the middle of one of our most tumultuous months, Hal bought a ring, got on one knee and asked me to stay married to him. I think about why I said yes.
It had nothing to do with hope.
It was faith.
I had faith in us. And I have had faith in us every day since.
And yes, I'm talking about more than my marriage but that is what I do. I draw parallels to everything so that I can rationalize decisions - so that I can relate to all the things I feel detached from. So that I can relate to this election. So that I can stand firmly behind the man I will be voting for.
Until now, I've felt ashamed of my inability to get fired up.
And then it dawned on me.
Hope can only spring eternal until reality intervenes.
That it isn't about the hope for change, but the faith in it.
It isn't the feeling of expectation that carries us forward but the allegiance.
This is not an election built with dreams as its foundation, but reality. And the reality is? Obama is not our savior. Okay, so now we know. We know we elected a president and not Santa Claus. (For some reason this was really hard for me, the eternal-idealist to grasp and it has taken me pretty much up to this moment right now as I'm writing this to understand this as the case.)
I'm no longer voting for an idea. I'm voting for a people.
I am voting for Obama tomorrow because I have faith in my president and what he is capable of doing, protecting, rallying behind. I'm voting with the faith I have in people. In women to make their own choices and friends to marry for love. I'm voting with the faith I have in science and the environment, in education and disaster relief. I'm voting with the faith I have in other countries and their people. I'm voting with 100% faith that Obama represents the best of what we can be as a nation in the world.
Yesterday's HOPE, 2008 is tomorrow's FAITH, 2012. 2008's YES WE CAN is today's TOGETHER WE WILL.
See you at the polls, friends.