They don’t think it be like it is, but it do. – Oscar Gamble
Spoiler alert: Democratic content.
Today, I checked my Facebook news feed before work and discovered that Ted Cruz had taken a knee, campaignally-speaking.
You know how you KNOW something is inevitable, and you think you’re mentally prepared, but then it happens and drops you like a sack of potatoes anyway?
That was me.
It was the most emotion I’ve felt in this entire race to the presidency…aside from the prevalent one of disgust, with sprinkles of disbelief.
They’re only sprinkles because I have spent the last 12 years conditioning myself to expect very little from our nation’s leaders.
But I digress (Not really. It’s a foreshadowing, but I can’t NOT say “I digress” in a blog. It’s what I do).
But I digress.
I was raised in a very political, VERY liberal family. I was given an education made up of equal parts politics, sports, and Sixties music, not necessarily in that order. So it became that some of my earliest memories were politically-related.
In kindergarten, my teacher wheeled in the big television and we made paper hats…all in the same day! I was pretty stoked, because the big TV and its roly stand were the shit in 1981. Then some other classes came into our room, and we all got to sit, Indian-style because that’s what it was called then, in front of the gleaming hope that television represented.
And then my teacher…who was a real shifty bitch, now that I think about it…turned the television on…and we watched Reagan’s inauguration.
THIS was the special occasion? My five-year-old self was full of righteous indignation. Why in the ever-loving hell were we acting like this was a celebration? Jimmy Carter loved the Earth AND the peanut. My little hippie family loved him, and so did I. Ronald Reagan could just go right on back to Hollywood, because he was no Jimmy Carter.
That was pretty much all I knew about Jimmy Carter, by the way.
At least I learned how to make a paper hat, even though I have flashbacks every time I fold one of those little f$&@ers.
Fast-forward four years, and I had my first female role model. Walter Mondale had announced his running mate, and Geraldine Ferraro was where it was at for me. I wanted to be her, or at least as close as possible. A WOMAN?! VP or no, this was a very big deal. I was so down.
The rest of the country wasn’t, at all, and Reagan rode in on his movie set horse for another term.
I geared up again in ’88, but I can’t even pretend Michael Dukakis did anything for me. I learned to spell his name, unlike my brother (“Vote for Dukis, he has more letters in his last name” proclaimed his homemade sign. I remember looking at it and saying, “Just barely though, huh?”)
It only surprised me a little when “Thousand Points of Light” rode in on Reagan’s coattails.
That’s enough about 1988.
But then, the 80s were behind us, and the early 90s gave me reason to be excited again. I was nine months too young to vote, or critically think, but I was ready to shout from the rooftops my love for Bill Clinton.
He was young and idealistic. He knew how to speak and rarely got publicly rattled. He could throw a thumbs-up like nobody’s business. He was determined to eliminate the ridiculous national debt, and his wife was all for national healthcare and education. So what if she looked like all of the world’s boring-ness rolled into a single woman? She cared.
High-school-senior Jen was a little too cause-passionate for her own good.
Still, he won, and I partied with my friends in my dad’s living room (well, I partied. The rest of them ate snacks and asked when we were going to go out and do something fun).
Little had happened to change my feelings by 1996, but then again, I barely slept that year. I voted with two burp rags (or vomit catchers, in Hunter’s case) slung over my shoulders and a baby in my arms. I was going to teach him the ways of politics. Starting right now, while he was two months old, a few days after he fell off the changing table onto his head. I was still young and determined, idealistic and passionate, and certain that I knew what was what.
Fast forward to the impeachment hearings. I didn’t care for what had happened, but the voter in me argued that it had nothing to do with his job and stop bullying him, wow guys.
I genuinely mourned when Clinton left office…mainly, though, because of the mockery of the next guy.
Watching that horrible, horrible month of coverage in late 2000 about hanging chads and Florida and dear God, did somebody throw the election? When will it end? Are we going to Hell? was pretty much the death knell of my political passion. I came out disillusioned. Did I love Al Gore? Nah. Did I at one time believe that he loved the environment before I read exposes about the amount of electricity he burned? Yep. But this guy was vanilla-pudding boring. He made Hillary look like a real hot tamale. I just couldn’t get behind it.
But I way couldn’t get behind Bush. So Gore it was.
2004 was even worse. Kerry? Seriously? His wife was the ketchup queen. I hated ketchup. But I was still anti-Bush, so again I sold myself out.
What I do remember about that year was seeing Barack Obama for the first time. He rode into the national convention like royalty, and I was instantly alarmed at the metaphorical parting of the waters. “Don’t push this guy. Don’t do it. He’s too new. He is NOT ready. He won’t be ready in four years. Maybe in eight. Likely in 12. No way in four.” I knew.
But, at 29, I still had just enough hope left in me that I thought there was a chance.
I voted Democrat that year, with no conviction that I was doing the right thing.
I did the same in 2008, when the way-too-rushed and way-too-young Obama claimed the ticket. I hated myself afterward, but then again, that year borderline sucked anyway, so let’s just put it behind us.
A lot changed in my life over the course of Obama’s first term. Mainly, I admitted to myself that I wasn’t sure about my Democratic loyalty. Internet quizzes were exploding around that time, and I don’t know how many of those “What Political Party do YOU Identify With?” quizzes I took, but I do know that they all came back with the same result:
I was a Libertarian trapped in a historically Democratic body.
So I read up on this Libertarian-ism. It seemed solid, but so had a lot of people and agendas in my voting history. I just couldn’t be sure. However, my disillusionment was enough that, by 2012, I went with my gut, even if it meant my single third-party vote would guarantee a Romney victory.
I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. She didn’t have a shot in hell…by Election Day, she wasn’t even on the ballot. But I had to stop the inevitability my presidential voting life was taking. I had to stem the tide of half-hearted, automatic Democratic votes. In the end, my write-in vote was between Jill and Ron Paul…either way, I was taking back control.
This all leads up to 2016, this joke of an election, and the article I read today.
For those of you who even made it this far in my 35 years of mind-numbing political memories, I’ll sum up the article. Essentially it says that, with the shit show that is Donald Trump, the Dems are lazy. They’re coasting. They’re not trying, because of the perception that they don’t have to. It will likely come down to Trump v. Hillary, and then what happens?
“In reality, Donald Trump is a bigot of such pungent vileness that the victory of the Democratic candidate this fall is virtually assured.”
So here it is. I’m calling it. The last vestige of my hope, of my idealism, of my excitement to be a part of a country with such a scrappy, underdog history…is dead.
You can keep this one. I don’t want it.
I, like Cruz, am ready to take a knee.
I’m a woman without an island. A dog without a bone. I am declaring myself party-less. The next presidential term will be my time to rebuild, reassess, and take stock. Never mind that by admitting that there’s a lot of quit in me I’m essentially no better than any candidate and a great, movie-type ending thing to do would be to gather the last drop of fuel in my reserve and remember the 19th Amendment and pound the pavement and remind people of what once made this country great and find an amazing grassroots candidate and BAM! then that person is president in 2020, but, for now…
P.S. Just realized how depressing and pointless this was, so here are pictures of something cute and something food that can both also double as my “May the Fourth Be With You” contribution.
You’re not the only ones who can be lazy and complacent, Democrats.
This is 40.
[…] because I grew up in a politically-active family, not to mention my dad’s collection of political collectables and books, I grew up assuming […]