The Agony of Defeat

In 1972, I was in 5th grade and as passionate about politics as I am today. Perhaps for this reason I was chosen by my teacher, Mrs. Parsley--the first real hippie I ever met--to deliver a speech in favor of the the Democratic candidate for president, George McGovern, in our classroom's mock election. When McGovern lost the election later that year, I was devastated. I never wanted to care about politics again. That is until 1976 when-still not old enough to vote--I fell hard for Jimmy Carter and really each successive election to one degree or another, I fell hard.

I remember being numb when Bush won in 2004 and I remember crying -when Obama was nominated in 2008 thinking of my mother--the Civil Rights activist--and how happy she'd be were she alive to witness the historic moment.

And I will cry for much the same reason when Hillary wins the nomination in July. And she will because the only thing that will stop her now is her compromised self and if she's been able to sweep over those tracks for this long, she'll be able to do so for another few months. And I'll vote for her just as I've voted for other compromised (some more than others) politicians (even a few Republicans).

But here's the thing: once every generation or so there's a candidate who transcends the impure democracy that we live in and reminds us of the potential of democracy that we learned about in fifth grade, when we were 10-years old. Bernie Sanders was/is that candidate for me. And I feel the agony of defeat the just as I did in 1972.

Only it is compounded by a conversation I had with my 24-year old son who tried to vote for the first time on June 6 at 7:30am on his way to work only to find out his name wasn't in the poll book and was told he must cast a provisional ballot:

Son: The whole process is disgusting. I'm sure the only reason for it is because it's easy to commit fraud. I saw tons of reports on various Facebook pages.

The number of people saying they were forced to vote provisionally and saw other people in the same situation while they were there is [astounding]. People are brainwashed, and say they value rationality. And not questioning the government is branded as rational.

We fight against disenfranchisement of people of color because racism is visible and we know they're disenfranchised often. But when it starts happening to an entire generation it's just paranoid to suggest something is going on??

and this is the part that gets me...

I'm never voting again. I won't take part in this charade.

Me: You were called to politics for the first time. It was a disappointment. Don't give up. Bernie paved the way for your generation. It's up to you to carry out his agenda.

So, I am but I know my son. And he, like me, and my mother before me will pick himself up, and dust himself off. And carry on.

"Sometimes cause and effect are centuries apart; sometimes Martin Luther King's arc of the moral universe that bends toward justice is so long few see its curve; sometimes hope lies not in looking forward but backward to study the line of that arc."~Rebecca Solnit