The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

O Hope November 5, 2012

While I’d like to avoid this cliche, I just can’t. The most frightening thing I saw on Halloween night was not merely the absence of Obama placards on people’s yards, but the number of Romney ones present. It never crossed my mind for a second – not until Halloween night – that anyone in their right mind would seriously consider voting for him. I liked to joke about it with my mother – there was no way anyone could possibly vote for the guy. No way! I laughed it off, it seemed so impossible. Yet here were all these signs… These were not the homes of the uber-wealthy; what, oh what sort of improved America did they expect under his direction? Did not the sane ‘everyman’ now have the pulpit?? Was not the ‘everyman’ of 2012 indeed a better educated, more enlightened citizen of the world than just a few years ago? To me it seemed nearly every time Mitt opened his mouth he was sealing his fate as the loser by a long shot; he was a handsome buffoon, a billionaire trying to pal up to the very working class folks whose labor he used to help build his empires. The same laborers Mitt would fire if it improved the numbers enjoyed by a privileged few. (He could do it in high spirits, too.) His feelings about women’s issues were archaic (stunningly so) and if nothing else, his very persona gave off the vibe of a slick salesman on the make for his quota, not a civil servant bound to represent his people and relieve them of their hardships. I realize that like every other human, he is fundamentally after the same things as we all are. And I’m sure he doesn’t think he’s a selfish or uncaring guy – quite the contrary, all those years as Bishop in his church couldn’t have been entirely without some real desire to help his fellow humans. But when it comes to removing choices, freedoms and much-needed services from people who don’t think or live as he does – that’s where I believe we’ve got something to be concerned about.

My life changed in 2008. It was the end of all things familiar in my life, and with the election of President Obama it was the symbolic beginning of all things new and possible. Finally, a man of spirit, intelligence and compassion with real, grass-roots ties to the people he represented. Emancipation. Finally. As it was with me too; my husband had come home one night in fall of 2007 and told me he had a girlfriend, she was having a baby, and he was leaving me. Right away. In a strange sort of daze I piloted through the process of culling my treasures, wrapping up my affairs and moving to a new home, very far away. It was in that winter of 2008 that I began to embrace my tiny new home in the country, to come to terms with my new-found poverty, to begin to understand that often some pretty big things have to change to make way for better things yet to come. I have come a long way these past four years. I’ve learned so much, accomplished things far out of my known world, and I’ve begun to create a forward path of my life, a trajectory of yet-to-be-fulfilled projects and goals which I’m certain wait for me just a few paces ahead into my future.

I remember that snowy night when Obama won the election; I stood on my porch facing the lighted sky above nearby Saratoga. At once I heard the great roar of a crowd, and as it ebbed, every now and then I could distinguish an individual shout rising above the rest…. The voices traveled over five miles of forest to find me there, standing alone in the night; moved, changed, almost unbelieving. I felt a surge of hope, a breath of elation. He made it, therefore we made it – and I would too. I just knew that we, as citizens of the planet, had finally stemmed the rising waters of greed and power. We had come into our new intention for the nation, the world. Finally. Finally. Obama’s victory injected hope into my new, unrecognizable life.

Hope is the word tonight, dear friends. Do we not all simply hope for better things yet to come? I don’t enjoy talking about politics with people because I believe as human beings we pretty much all want the same damn things, and really, politics is mostly about the game, and very little about the goal. And since I don’t care to lose friends, create unnecessary tension or to incite anger, I don’t often even open my mouth about it. I don’t believe that I am likely to change whom anyone will vote for. Those opinions run too deep. However, in this eleventh hour my hope is that, like in Horton Hears A Who, just one person here present who might otherwise have stayed home and avoided the whole mess, might find the spirit and resolve to vote, thereby winning the election for Mr. Obama by having raised that tiny, albeit mightily important final voice.

O, I hope.