One Year Later

Image and video hosting by TinyPicWe’re back here, the first Tuesday in November, the day when major decisions in American democracy are made each year. I still remember how I felt that morning one year ago: tired, ’cause I’d been up, giddy with anticipation the night before; anxious that things wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted them to; scared that something would happen to the Obamas; excited to see what was going to happen next.
I’d be a lie if I said I was still excited. It’s not that I don’t want to peek into the future—it’s that I’m frustrated with the present (and the past 287 days). Yes, I know that the president hasn’t even gotten though his fist year, and yes, I know that he had a lot of fires to put out, and yes, I know that he made a lot of promises and prioritizing is a summbitch, but that doesn’t stop the overachiever in me from wishing we’d accomplished more by this point.
I’m frustrated that we’re not making any progress toward the president’s first-week-in-office-promise to close Gitmo by “no later than one year from now.” I’m frustrated that the president is acting as if prisoners are not undergoing the same treatment at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base. I’m frustrated that healthcare reform is being watered down to the point that it might not help anyone at all. I’m frustrated that the president’s yearning for bipartisanship seems to be trumping getting things done. (Really? That’s the promise you want to keep?) I’m frustrated that Republicans still suck. I’m frustrated that Democrats still suck. I’m frustrated that at times, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seems to have all the swag I admired in President Obama. I’m frustrated that we’ll probably re-elect the bogus-ass Dems who are holding up progressive legislation. I’m frustrated that the fear is still so thick that I’m choking on it. I’m frustrated that more people don’t care. I’m frustrated that I care so much.

How am I coping with my frustration? Trying to do my part and not become cynical, I guess. I’ve phone banked, written letters, written this column, called and emailed congressmen, argued with my television (Is it just me, or is CNN really sucky lately?), murmured assurances to myself—all the usual stuff.

What can you do? Whatever feels good, I guess. Hold your elected officials accountable; from the POTUS to your mayor, if they don’t keep their promises, don’t vote for them (I’m talking to you, eight-years-isn’t-enough NYC mayor Bloomberg of the rogue police force that seems to be able to kill Black off-duty officers and drunkenly run over women and get away with it). If you’re passionate about an issue, let the folks you put into power know how you feel. If you’re tired of Lou Dobbs talking out the side of his neck about immigrants on CNN, cuss him out through the screen and change the channel (or better yet, join up with Basta Dobbs and let him know how you really feel)—you’ll feel better.

And there’s this: One year later, I’m taking a moment to remember the excitement that propelled us on that fateful day, the feeling that it was only the beginning and we had at least four years to get things done, the spirit of the days that had me using “Obama” like “Aloha” (hello and goodbye, bitches)—and reclaiming it to push us even further. Care to join me?

How are you feeling one year later? Still encouraged and excited? Frustrated? Let me know.


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