Walking up dark, 3am streets in Washington, DC, people filtered out of every door; filing quietly, quickly toward the Capitol.
Despite the small, traded smiles, I couldn’t help thinking that the mass of bundled-up bodies looked like the calmest reaction to a city-wide evacuation ever (think the complete opposite of ID4).
Running on a few hours nap after an evening spent carousing with SCU alums, I was nervously excited. And cold. So, so cold.
A few months earlier, sitting at my desk during Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (oh Grad School, you are so useful…), I finally put my finger on the odd feeling of lightness that had overcome me. For the first time in my conscious, active, public life, I was for something. Not against. Not opposed. Not fighting to tear down.
I felt finally free to create, and as corny as it sounds, to hope. I had hope for my government, not the need to rail against it.
Just the prospect of not lying when I traveled (I’m totally from British Columbia) was exciting.
As most liberals of my age bracket can attest, the Bush years (starting when we were freshmen in high school), 9/11, the subsequent wars, the lackluster Kerry campaign of our college years, the PATRIOT ACT and all the rest, added up to a pretty demoralizing young life.
Frankly, I often felt like my efforts were as useful as mittens for a cat.
Despite all the political wrangling and lack of care for people that emanates from the Capitol right now, I remember how I felt that day.
Actually huddling with a literal million of my new closest friends, trying to keep warm, straining to find a good view of the jumbotron, happy for a fresh start.
I watched little old ladies cry, little girls get lifted into the air to sit on shoulders, and listened as the crowd starting singing “Na na na na, Na na na na, hey hey hey…GOODBYE” as Bush’s helicopter lifted off after the ceremony.
I hobbled back toward my friend’s apartment, resisting the urge to buy a Michelle Obama spray paint T-shirt, wondering how to keep this hope moving – to translate it to action and make changes to better our world.
While I don’t claim to have found those answers, I know that one of the most positive and powerful things I can do with my life is to be for something.
To not let obstacles, or disagreements, or even fundamental truths make me purely anti, purely against. Rather, to continue to create, even in small ways, the world I want to leave better than I found it.
And just for the record, it was so cold that my doctor told me my foot sprained itself.
This was my creation of “Living History” for this week’s writing challenge.