For most of my early adult life I was registered Independent. I don't remember when but there was a primary in which I wanted to vote and I registered Democrat. It is true that I am more in agreement with the Democratic party most of the time but I'm not really a party loyalist.
I made it through both conventions although I didn't listen to as much of the Republican. I did enjoy many of the Democrats but I had wasn't loving all of it.
I've been writing this post in my head for a few days but today it coalesced in a different way. When I woke up MSNBC was rebroadcasting footage from 9/11. It took me back. I was lucky because Dean was here. I wanted him to know what was happening but I didn't want him to worry about things. When he was here I let him have control of the remote but when he was at his internship I had the television on muted, the radio on and I was jumping all over the Internet. Manic. My desire to protect him kept me from being too crazy. When he arrived I went to his gate to meet him but when I took him back to the airport to go home I watched him going through the new security system. Two years ago I watched my then 84 year old mother being patted down. Last year they would no longer let me go to the gate with her.
Watching the Democratic convention I felt the shadow of 9/11. I'm not comfortable with militarism and flag waving. I realize I live in a world where the military is needed and I am comfortable with the expressions of gratitude for the troops. I want them and their families to have all the support they need and want. But the wars have been abstractions. We were attacked by a rich kid from Saudi Arabia and now we dance on his grave.
Fairly early in life I lost faith in institutional politics. But I know I know I need to participate. I need to be informed. I need to vote. I need to stand with the people who I support, like the teachers in Chicago. The singers in Wisconsin. I am whole hearted in that support. I've rarely been able to vote whole heartedly.
I was whole hearted when I voted for Obama four years ago and I will be again this November. But not because I love everything he's done. I like a lot of it. I had my third party fling in the first Nader run. It felt great but I live in California. I didn't need to worry that my vote was going to disappear.
I wish we had a viable third party. I wish we had more than three. I wish everything weren't so hyper and exaggerated. I wish there was more grounded problem solving. I wish I didn't feel hostage to the process. It's complicated and frustrating.
So today is a day to close our eyes and take a breath and send our best thoughts to the families who are mourning their losses. That makes sense. That feels right. Dean is now a lovely young man with a beautiful girl friend. The women who acted as his midwife passed away last week. A day to close our eyes. Take a breath. And send our best thoughts.