Thursday, January 31, 2008

Activating

It’s funny, I’ve been reading Twittered and live-blogged accounts of tonight’s democratic debate, after watching the end of Sicko. I’m feeling immersed, and it’s bringing back some older stuff.

Last election, I mentioned, I took some vacation time and drove to Cleveland and went into the ACT office and said “put me to work.” It burned so bad, that dirty-feeling defeat…it’s still as easy to conjure as most of seventh grade. I had to pull over during the drive home—on election morning, driving eight hours home to haul my son into the voting booth to pull the lever for the better choice—I had to pull over, unsure why, and I sat there for a minute until I found myself praying, literally, praying to the people of the United States to do the right thing. Somehow, we didn’t.

So this year I’m looking at the field and I’m thinking about the country and letting the basic message of Sicko sink in, and I’ll tell you what, it’s hard to pull it together to give a rat’s ass. Just the effort required to care feels like too much. I’m tired, dammit. I’ve marched a LOT. I’ve canvassed, and phone-called, and letter-wrote, and donated, and volunteered, and continued to pay my taxes and read my newspaper with my nose held. It’s tiring, knowing what’s required. It’s tempting, so tempting, to just commute and come home and turn my eyes inward and keep an eye on the bank account and make sure the schoolbus comes on time, and let that be enough.

I won’t, though. I can feel the fight quickening in me.

8 comments:

Magpie said...

Roar! This is fixing to be a big fight.

wcs said...

It's pretty cool when you live somewhere where the siren is about what time it is and not what's going down. I live in a place like that. I grew up in a place like that.

In between, all hell was breaking loose.

wcs said...

Just so you all know, my comment was about the Twitter thing, which is probably gone by now...

Bill Braine said...

Of course, you can all follow me on Twitter to get even more of my withy pit.

BarbaraCA said...

I swear I have PTSD from the last election. I actually ached: I was wishing hard like when I was a little kid, fists clenched, physically trying to *will* things to go my way. This year, I'm afraid to hope.

That doesn't mean I won't vote, though. I'll vote vehemently.

Amy H said...

You fight, Bill! I know exactly what you mean, though. After all of the months spent campaigning for Howard Dean, and then pretty emotional anti-war protesting, I was feeling pretty hopeless when nothing anyone I knew did seemed to make any difference. Let's just hope it does this time.

Antonia said...

I hope your side wins this time. The last US election was numbingly soul-destroying from this side of the pond, too.

While I'm here, I must tell you that I made an A4 print of that photo of Ian in the woods, with your caption about the grumbly bear underneath it, and it has gone down a storm. Thank you.

Claudia in Toronto said...

It is my business what happens in your country. The whole world is affected. And mine, next door. I was heartbroken eight years ago. Four years ago, I just schrugged. There was no chance. This time, I don't see people moving. I don't hear the right words. It's scary.