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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going (Demo)Crazy

I have to look away.

I can’t read the polls anymore. Every time I do, the news is worse than it was before. I tried to take a rational approach up until now. I told myself the following:

·         In 2004 Kerry won the first debate, experienced a surge in the polls, and he and Bush were polling evenly at the time of the election. Wall Street was predicting a Kerry win. Yet, Bush still won. (But I still have my doubts about that, with all the voter fraud in Ohio.)

·         In 1984 Mondale clobbered Reagan in the first debate. Voters questioned Reagan afterwards, wondering if he was too old. Yet Reagan went on to win every state except Minnesota.

·         The voter support that Romney has gained is most likely due to renewed enthusiasm from his base. That means it’s finite. There weren’t many undecided voters before the debate, and there are probably fewer now. All Obama has to do is present well at the next two debates, and his supporters will feel fired up again too. Then when they’re polled they’ll call themselves “likely voters” and Obama’s numbers will go back up.

But then I ask myself – What if that doesn’t happen? What if Romney continues

 to gain ground? What if he WINS?

            This is why I have to look away, and the younger version of me would be horrified. When I was in my twenties I would have volunteered and gotten the message out, because I was committed to the idea that every U.S. citizen has a responsibility to support their democracy. We will only get an equal voice if we insist on making our voices heard.  But I’m in my forties now, I have two young children and a full-time job, and I live in Washington State. If Obama loses here, he has much bigger problems than my lack of volunteerism.

            I have bigger problems to worry about too. But thankfully, I can cross one of them off my list. I finally found a new daycare for Abby and Noah, and it looks really great. It’s full right now, but on October 29th the kids can start.

            I told Natalie the good news.

            “Guess what!” I said. “You can go home soon. Abby and Noah will have daycare starting on the 29th.”

            It was evening, and I’d just put the kids to bed. Natalie was folding her laundry, and the heat from the dryer was hanging in the air. I wanted to take off my sweater, but I figured this would be a short conversation and I wouldn’t be standing in the laundry room for long.

            “What is this place that you found?” Her voice was tight, and I knew immediately this wouldn’t be the easy exchange I had been hoping for.

            “It’s independently run and close to where I work. They have a great preschool program. I’m really excited.”

            “I don’t know, Lucy.” She sighed. “Do you really think it’s a good idea? Abby will probably have the same problems at this new place as she did before. Then what? I’m not leaving and coming back.”

            Is that a promise? I held back asking her this, and instead I said, “Well, that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Nobody expected you to stay permanently. I would think you’d want to get back.”

            She vigorously shook some lint off of one of her sweaters. “I’d like to stay and see my son. Is that okay with you?”

            I clenched my hands into fists. Why does she have to sound so snotty? “He gets back on Tuesday. That’s nearly ten days that you’ll get to see him.”

            “Right.” She finished folding and picked up the basket. “Well, it’s nice to know I’m appreciated. And I wonder what Monty will think when he hears that you’re kicking me out.”

            What would he think? According to Monty, I have difficulty saying no, so at the very least he’d be surprised.  “I honestly don’t care what he’d think. This is my house too, and these are my children, which I distinctly remember giving birth to. That means I get to choose what happens here, and I’m choosing to enroll them in this new daycare. I’ll understand if you want to leave sooner, and I do deeply appreciate everything you’ve done, but you’re leaving on the weekend of the 27th. And that’s all I have to say about it.”

            By now I was sweating underneath my sweater in the claustrophobic climate of the laundry room. Natalie and I were faced off, with nothing but the laundry basket she held between us. So I stepped aside. But she was the one to step away.

            Here’s the problem with democracies: people start to believe that they actually have a say. But over the years I have learned that there’s no such thing as an even distribution of power. That would lead to – wait for it – a democrazy.

            I might have to accept that my voice will not be heard in this election, at least not in equal proportions to other peoples’ voices, ones that are saying different things than mine. So I’d better start speaking up whenever I can, wherever I can. Before I go crazy myself.


1 comment:

  1. I loved the book and I love the blog too! Thank you!