Friday, September 26, 2008

Y'all, I'm not even going to pretend that I'm not having serious election anxiety these days.

You have to remember that I was in Florida for the 2000 election, just turned 18 and totally thrilled to finally be able to exercise my right to vote via absentee ballot. I had spent the summer following the election in the newspaper, picking my candidates and becoming upset when they dropped out before the primaries because man, they had positions I could get behind. Just before I left for school I had had an enlightening argument with a family friend about why no one should vote Nader, no matter what he stood for, because splitting the vote meant a loss for everyone. I figured I was well-informed and prepared to vote for Gore and win, because how could anyone not see that the other way was the way of destruction?

We all know how that went, especially in Florida, and I was totally floored. I had been resolving for my whole life that I was going to get out of Florida as soon as I could, and that election solidified my resolve, encouraged me to speed up my degree and get the hell out in three years instead of four. When I moved to Seattle people were still tender about that election, wincing and comforting me like I had just announced I had cancer when I told them where I came from. So in 2004 I was very once bitten twice shy and refused to believe that we could win, although I certainly did my part to help drink Chop Suey out of booze when we lost.

But the stakes constantly get higher, and more personal, and it gets easier to believe that people would rather be ruled by their fears than their hopes. Easier to believe that people would rather have their choices and rights taken away rather than have those choices and rights extended to others that they somehow feel are different and therefore bad. Living in a liberal enclave like Seattle it's easy to get lulled into believing that everyone understands that I am the same as you, and that we've only got this one planet, and that men in Washington should keep their suits and ties out of my uterus, but that's not true. And every time I think of the way things can go in the next month, my extra heartbeat starts doing the mambo around my ribcage.

I'm a worrier by nature, and we have so much to lose.

I'll be watching the debate tonight with my pretty and entertaining friends, and spending the next month trying not to hold my breath and eying my tiny white pills. I am constitutionally incompatible with election season.

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