The Great Release

And it feels like it won’t come on
And it takes like you’re full of love
Still the time never to pay on
Still the time never to pay on

And it feels like I’m coming home
And it’s still like a merry cow
And it feels like it’s coming home
And it feels like it’s full of love
Still in time is the great release
Something dying will be a great release

I recently realized that I began writing for the web not long before the 2000 election season. There was no cause and effect there – I certainly wasn’t writing about anything deep on Day One – but I do find the timing curious. Soon, what had been a predominantly vain site about my school goings-on became my emotional release to the world.

As outlets go, I’ve been hard pressed to find one that can be more cathartic than writing: writing for myself, for a nebulous group of friends and coworkers, for the world. I write to preserve thoughts, to capture feelings. I write so that I will not – so that I can not – ever forget.

With that in mind: I do not ever want to forget how I felt at 5:58 in the morning, walking to PS 16 and finding a line, the first time I would ever have to wait to vote. I was #31 at my polling station. I could not cast my vote soon enough.

And I do not ever want to forget how I felt last night, at a quarter past ten, when the path to victory became clear and I began to eagerly count down the forty-five minutes left until the west coast closed and the election could be called.

And I do not ever want to forget how the nation and the world reacted at eleven o’clock the evening of November the 4th, as the tears came to my eyes.

And I do not ever want to forget watching John McCain concede – both for his attempts to mend the wounds he had caused during his campaign, and for him coming face to face with them, as his supporters booed the president-elect.

And I do not ever want to forget listening to President Obama’s victory speech, and realizing that I no longer had reason to doubt the possibility of the American spirit, to no longer believe that hope was little more than an exercise in futility.

I can not ever forget what the last eight years have done to this country. It has divided us, such that my own relatives feel that calling me a “commie pinko” is acceptable discourse. It has destroyed our good standing around the world. It has warped our values: intelligence and eloquence had become something that we no longer wanted in our leaders.

And I will not delude myself: the next four years will be extremely rough on our new government. I do not hold any expectations that everything that is broken will get fixed. President Obama does not have all the answers, nor should any one of us expect him to. But we should expect him to do right: to uphold our rights and empower us; to work with our allies and strengthen us; to deter our enemies and protect us; to set a good example and lead us. We will hold him accountable and demand transparency, just as we should any government.

But the electorate has spoken resoundingly. No longer are we a nation who can be cowed by our government in the name of security, fear, or war. A nation that can so strongly reject fear mongering has already found its strength again. And with the leadership we have elected, we have the possibility of rebuilding from the damage of those last eight years.

For the first time in my adult life, I am hopeful for this nation.

I do not ever, ever want to forget that.