Monday, November 14, 2016

A Reason for Optimism

It's been a difficult couple of weeks. Sure the national election didn't turn out like I wanted. Like more than half the popular vote wanted. The state election went south. We had great stress at work and a lot of folks I really love are no longer in my 9-to-5 life.

But the sun came up on Wednesday. The millennial map gave me hope for the future. I have confidence that my friends will find wonderful, new opportunities. And I got to witness my friend, Kirstin Jasheway,  and 137 other people born in more than 30 different countries take oaths to become U.S. citizens.

It was a somewhat surreal capper to a contentious election and I couldn't have been more proud to be at the ceremony. We sprang Ali from school early so she could be there too.

Like many of the liberal kids at Herron, Ali was deeply unhappy with the election. There were so many tears at school on Wednesday, one of the teachers opened her office for one-on-one counseling and Alison cried one of her contacts out. It was lost to the world and I didn't even care. I like her passion and I understand her concerns.

My advice to Alison is to be the best person she can be; to represent her generation so well that skeptics will be convinced they're really all OK and to be ready to vote when the next presidential election comes along and she'll be eligible.

It's a good -- and really, really hard -- life lesson. You don't always get what you want. But the system is the system. You respect the office and you go about working to achieve the outcome you want next time. You don't give up. You don't concede your principals. You  keep your core values and you plan.

The first election I remember was when Jimmy Carter ran. Our living room at home was a polling place. My dad was a Democratic precinct committeeman. Indiana went red almost at 6 p.m. and I turned to my father, aghast. "But I thought we were Democrats," I said.

He laughed. I will never forget the day I first learned there were people with different ideas than those I'd been surrounded by.

Other than the election, Alison is doing really, really well. She competed in her first-ever high school swim meet and posted up some really competitive times. Her school won the meet, too, we found out today.

Better yet, she's loving it. And not complaining at all about all the practice. She is eating like a mad woman.

Tonight at dinner, we were having a rather spirited discussion. It might have included a double flip off and an eye roll or two between my esteemed spouse and myself. That might have inspired a roar from the Captain. All the while, Alison was trying to tell a story and kept saying to the both of us, "Can I finish? Can I finish? Can I finish my story?"

Alison's reaction to t he whole thing: "I love my family. These are my favorite kinds of dinners."

Oy vey.

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