Generation 911 - Post Election Post Mortem by Asia Moore
Good for america, at least I can be proud to be of that generation that elected a non-criminal president, I know it’s a historical event. But till I see that promise of “change we can believe in” turned into a reality that we can dance with at an unpermitted wilderness festival or a protest at the Republican National Convention—I mean, until we can do these things without being profiled, pulled over, probed and processed by a policeman with a power problem, I remain unconvinced. Pardon me for being cynical—(it’s a defense mechanism, I know, so spare me the lecture)—but I have often experienced my rights being treated like a joke. So my attitude is to save myself the heartbreak, just in case the change that was promised doesn’t happen; just in case the “Yes we can” turns out to be just another way of saying “No, YOU can’t”.
A note of reassurance: I want to see things moving along in the right direction as much as anybody else does. But I can’t set myself on the course of patriotic joy just because this first good step has been taken. I can’t take this election that seriously. Blame the past eight years of bad government. Blame my apathetic friends, and our pipe-dream rebellions. Whatever. I think that my inability to trust the government and their ploys stems from being lied to, and having our rights and freedoms suppressed by the overwhelming power of “the man”, a.k.a. a conservative society that doesn’t tolerate diversity very well. Something inside tells me to wait and see. I’m not jumping on any bandwagons, believing all our problems are solved just because somebody smart finally got elected to some high office.
Change? Oh I hope so. I can understand the outrage of my elders. But the older generations have been so caught up in creating a new america that I’ve been feeling lately there’s too much preaching going on. About Obama and democracy, and eventually it all sounds like the same rant set in different tones. Who wants to listen to a skipping record anyways? What is this, a new way to test endurance?
Meanwhile, I’ve just come through a summer of dreams hitchhiking and picking grapes in Europe, and a fall of failures and triumphs back home in Oregon. If there’s one thing that’s really become clear, it’s the knowledge that I can never be sure of a ‘stable’ reality. There is really only one situation that I have a chance of being in charge of, and that’s myself and my ability to be (occasionally) rational. I must admit, it’s been difficult to maintain during some of what these past months has thrown at me. Everyday I am faced with the responsibility of keeping it all together. And one other thing is really clear too: no president can make it easier for me to do that, I have to do it for myself.
This year, because I am 19 and ‘of age’, keeping it together and acting responsibly has included politics. Me and my generation bore through the paperwork, we read the ballots, and a lot of us voted. For me it was my first real experience of participation in the rights of full citizenship—suffrage, the right to vote. We won, in the sense that Bush is finally going away. But will the police state go with him? And maybe we won or maybe we didn’t with the election of Obama. I’m agnostic when it comes to political parties. Who knows what’s really going to happen? But I am open to the possibility that something good might happen as a result of this election.
And because this is the first election that I ever voted in, politicians and political issues have taken on a whole new role in my everyday life, ranging from outraged conversations to tear-brimmed eyes of hope. I don’t know how to feel about it. A part of me is confident and sure, the other is hopeless and apathetic. Regardless, it’s a manic ride through these history-cranking days. The part I don’t like is it’s easy to feel small at a time like this.
Can you blame me? In the months before the election, I trekked through foreign lands with the weight of my country on my back, and the first topic of conversation (once they found out I was american) was always about who I was going to vote for. Politics is a passion, maybe even addiction for the masses—but what about my own dreams and aspirations? Will they ever be as worthwhile as the agenda of the political parties and the president-elect of my oh-so-important government?
Wearing an Obama pin does not make you politically hip. Making politics support our rights and dreams is.
Asia Kindred Moore currently works and lives at Breitenbush Hot Springs. She can be reached at [email protected].