He was our first president. He was the first in our generation to govern us. We had finally rid ourselves of the old, white, rich establishment that for 12 years trickled down both bombs and economics, neither one doing much good other than for their skull and bones cronies. We had our own deadly virus to deal with back then. We were fresh into several years of AIDS. Without the aid of social media, we still managed to spread as much bad and confusing information as we could. You can get it from shaking hands and sitting on a public toilet and kissing your gay cousin-or maybe not. It took a new President and a new administration to sort it all out and three years hence, a new class of drugs saved both the righteous and the wronged. It mattered not that it targeted mostly homosexual men. It changed the recreational pastimes of sex and drugs but left the rock and roll largely intact.
We were tired that summer going into the election season. Our happy idealistic hippy selves were now parenting and/or working and just plain slugging through the trappings of life. We couldn’t take another useless war, this time trading blood for oil. We were just starting to get into the full swing of 24 hours news bombardment. So many traded sitting still for the news an hour each night at six and 11 for sitting still with the news for most of the day, thus shrinking their time and their minds forever.
That election summer brought the requisite race riots courtesy of the Los Angeles PD and Rodney King. The same place that punished rogue cops with an acquittal of OJ Simpson, applauded the excess force used on Mr. King, proving once again that money will always trump racism. When they took to the streets to burn down their frustrations, they did it in the discomfort of their own neighborhoods. Not in 2020 though. Some less than peaceful protestors took to Santa Monica and Beverly Hills this time as Inglewood and Compton said “hell no, not here ever again.”
We had hope that year from Hope. We thought that if our generation could finally be in charge everything was going to be better. We would no longer be under the chokehold of white rich racist America. We were right and we were wrong. It lasted a measly eight years. A lot was accomplished though in that time. The first family friendly work policies were born. Al’s superfund cleaned up our air and water. Things like that. We may not have succeeded in health care but not for lack of a First Lady’s trying. We didn’t know that not every one of our generation marched to stop a war as teens and young adults. We didn’t know that some instead kept their hair nicely clipped well above the collars of their white starched button-down shirts. We didn’t know that while many roamed the college campuses with signs and anger, others simply peered out behind the curtains of well heeled fraternity houses. We didn’t know that proselytizing their politics from newspaper print was no longer enough. Instead they took it to the pulpit, leading the unsuspecting sheep not to salvation but to the slaughter. We witnessed our democracy’s collective suicide in 2000, courtesy of a hanging chad. It changed out world, our country and our elections forevermore.
Voting was no more a civilized stroll to your local polling place, perhaps with a young child in hand so you can share and showcase the country’s electoral process. You proudly wore your “I VOTED” sticker, a symbol of your accomplished patriotism, both honor and duty for the land you live in. To go home that night and see it debased as a childish street brawl of epic proportions had to be one of the saddest experiences ever foisted on our collective civic psyches. You did your part. You cast your vote. But now through the most insidious of means it all gets torn asunder. None of the 2000 election was fair. None of it was right. And just like childbirth, we forget the pain and horror and do it all over again. And so it was in 2020. A simple ramping up of decades of the ‘worst’ election ever. We were there once more, a maddening déjà vu with no end in sight. Race riots in the streets. Months of voting chicanery news rather than just one night. We added the insanity of social media into the witch’s brew of 24-hour talking heads that long ago blurred the lines between news and entertainment. We yelled about ‘fake’ news but were too lazy to find the facts. We never even recognized the failure of having two old white men as our choices for President. We ran home to the comfort of our baby boomer 1960 TV sets and turned on “Father Knows Best’ because we could not do much else. The only other choice, a relentless nonstop circus to stop the imaginary steal.
We peeked at our progressive selves in 2008. We had to. Both to save our overly mortgaged homes from ruin and because Oprah told us to. We renewed our hope once more in the election of our first black President. As if the color of his skin was enough to right all wrongs, to ease all racist pain. We cheered for healthcare reform even though we didn’t truly understand it. We got a tremendously good deal that lay an equitable foundation perhaps for generations to come, though. One part of the deal, as explained to me by a very astute reporter from National Public Radio, not generally known for its rightwing conservative leanings, was simple. In exchange for the lowering of health care costs for aging baby boomers who needed it the most, a promise was made to mandate the purchase of insurance by the young. The infusion of cash from these new insureds would be more than enough to offset the reductions. It worked, along with mandated employer requirements, penalties for not having insurance and extension of the age of dependents on the policies. Things like that. And then came 2016, a mess of an election. A botched Democratic plan if there ever was one. The same old, same old soon became evident by the white woman/white male bickering that took place for no reason at all, as they never realized they were playing for the same team. And so the other team blustered their way into a victory. And with the stroke of the executive order’s pen the penalty for not having health insurance was changed from ten percent to zero. The young and healthy took the windfall and ran. And the rates went up and up for those who needed it the most. And with a base so base, that was the least of that so called President’s antics, as evidenced by the grand finale on the Capital steps in January of 2021.
Here we are now, careening into another election in 2024. I suspected this race would be decided by who is left holding the pandemic bag. I suspect there will be much chatter in the coming months of where the ‘swing’ vote will swing this time around. I ventured a guess; these voters will base their choice on whose pandemic policies failed the most. But then the least Supreme Court we have ever had changed the game again this week with 231 pages of diatribe that included the views of 13th century England as to the punishment for one who caused a pregnant loss. A sprinkle of hope remains that all women really woke up this week. We always seem to know when the old rich white establishment must go. We just don’t seem to know how to keep it out. Let’s hope we get some hope in 2024.
9 comments on “Hope From Hope”
This may be the best piece you’ve ever written. Good job my friend.
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Wow! What a well written piece describing all we’ve gone through! And so thought provoking! Great job! Loved it!
thank you so much!!! means a lot to me
wow, thank you so so much!! I’m flattered and honored you think so
Maddalena, I continue to hold onto hope less I drown in despair. I, too, am heartbroken by the way in which we as a nation has gotten to this low point in America’s modern history. Our generation of women born before Roe v. Wade has let the ball slip from our hands. It will take a while for the generations of women born after 1973 to fully grasp the impact of losing control over their reproductive system. This has been a victory for the ruling minority white male patriarchy. The struggle continues for all genders of the human species to enjoy the same human rights.
Thanks for the follow 🙂
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Thank you so much for reading!
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fab job and thanks for the follow.. happy to share in each others journeys! 💖🙏🙏
You’re getting pretty good at this stuff.
High praise coming from you Duck, you once told me to stay away from politics and stick to comedy LOL! Thanks again for reading, you know how much I appreciate it! hope all is well with you!! M