Sixteen years ago the newspaper headlines read "Waiting for Florida" as the Nation combed over pregnant, hanging chads, recounting votes in Broward County, Florida. Twelve hundred miles away, my parents also were "Waiting On Florida", and their pregnant daughter in Broward county, who had been in labor with their first grandchild for the last 32 hours.
In his baby book, on the pre-printed pages that record what was happening the day he was born, I wrote the words, we have no idea to complete the line "The President is...". Folded away in the book is the front page of the paper with the aforementioned headline. Oldest was born into political controversy, amidst talk of rigged elections, and politicians that just don't know when to quit. Sound familiar? All of this, during what was ironically, the most stress free time of my marriage.
It all fell to hell a few months later of course, both the marriage and the country. Ten months later were the terror attacks on NYC, rolling into countless endless wars, recessions, national debt crisis, and politicians acting like spoiled toddlers, refusing to uphold the constitution because someone looked at them funny on the playground.
I don't think anyone was happy about the choices this year. The candidates, all of them, were heavily flawed. But here's the thing. Regardless of who won, nothing was going to change.
Nothing ever changes.
The country is virtually deadlocked in polarity. Those who voted Clinton wanted establishment, a shattered ceiling, and/or the status quo. Those who voted Trump wanted an overhaul of the whole system, supreme court justices, and/or vindication for their own private beliefs said behind closed doors. And, those that voted otherwise either couldn't bring themselves to vote for the two front runners, or actually believed they had the best candidate.
Regardless of the reasoning, nothing will change. And how do I know this? Because nothing ever changes. There are 500+ other people in charge who make sure that nothing. ever. changes. And if, on the off chance it does, in four years or so, it will change back. Regardless of what judge gets appointed, what law gets speedily passed through, Congress will swing and it will return to the status quo.
I sit here today hopeful that this new elect will ultimately land in the middle. That he will get none of the promises/threats that his campaigning boasted of, and rather meet at a point of compromise that doesn't send women back to the stone age, or land us in a war so horrific that they reenact the draft. He has, of course, changed his position on virtually everything, even taking his own words and quickly contorting them or just dismissing them as being sarcastic. I am hopeful that the wacko-extremists on the right won't get their way, and that the hippie-extremists on the left won't be correct in their doomsday predictions. That we will somehow, as a country, land somewhere in the middle. But the truth is, those that hated during this election will still hate. Those that gloat, will still gloat. And those that believed that women should be seen (only if their attractive) and not heard (unless they have a good singing voice) will still feel that way. Because the President doesn't change that about our country, WE change that about our country. And clearly, we are not ready for that kind of change.
But if on the off chance this country does change it's mind, we get a do-over on November 3rd, 2020. By then, both Oldest and Youngest will exercise their right, whether it be for Red, Blue, Orange, or Kanye. I'd like to say that it will be different then. That it will be better. That we will have less of the right and left and more of a scenic one lane country road. But in the end, I will not be surprised if nothing actually changes that election day either.
Unless of course, you're speaking of that election day sixteen years ago.
That election day, everything in my life, in my little country, changed forever.