So are we purple, or…

We’ve reached the end of election week, and basically everyone is disappointed. Republicans lost the house. Democrats failed to get the Senate. Here in Georgia, Republicans lost seats in both the State House and the State Senate, but maintained control. Meanwhile, there are two statewide seats going to a runoff and the not so simple matter of the governorship.

Yes, THAT race. The one where the Brian Kemp (R) has declared victory and that Stacy Abrams (D) is vowing to take to court to make sure every vote is counted. The one that is less than 13,000 votes from needing a runoff. That’s 0.33% of the vote total. It doesn’t get much closer than that. I’m having flashbacks to Bush v. Gore in 2000.

But the question remains, “Where do we go from here?” I had friends working on both sides. I have concurrently been mocked for being both conservative and liberal. In an era where people are more divided than ever, how do we function in a divided government?

To any elected official who may be reading this… Remember that you were elected to govern. Don’t let good ideas die because they came from the other side of the aisle. Represent your district, not your party. Work together on areas where there is common ground to get needed changes made. Immigration is more than just building a wall. Healthcare is more than the Affordable Care Act. We have rural areas of this state without basic infrastructure like high speed internet which is the key to education, technology, and being able to start a small business. Not to mention hospitals closing throughout the rural areas. I’m lucky to live near a hospital now. But people in the surrounding counties aren’t so lucky. Work to address these issues in a practical, achievable way.  And don’t forget about south Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and everywhere else IN THIS COUNTRY that are struggling to rebuild after major natural disasters.

To my friends who were fired up and working for this election: do not despair if your candidate lost. To the victors, don’t gloat. Your victory means nothing if your candidate makes a fool of themselves in office, or if the government is in worse condition at the end of their term than when they took office. Be an activist. Lobby for your views. Make sure your elected officials (and their staff) know your name. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can still let them know your views in a rational and professional manner.

But even more importantly, do YOUR part to make your community a better place. Volunteer for different projects. Locally, I’ll be happy to put you in touch with different non-profits who would love some extra help. You drove people to the polls? How about driving cancer patients to treatment? Instead of asking people to vote, get a group together and clean up a park on weekend. Don’t leave it to the elected officials. Do your part to make your community better.

We have at least two years of divided government. During that time, let’s start identifying as Georgians and Americans again instead of Republicans and Democrats.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by…

Dreams are weird things. Memories are weird things. But the memories of dreams of yesterday are not only weird, they haunt.

“We must get away from shadows that will never let us be. Tomorrow to Calais for a ship across the sea. Hurry Cosette, say no more. Tomorrow we’ll away. Hurry Cosette; it’s time to shut a door and live another day.” ~ Les Miserables

Buried deep within the recesses of my hard drive, in an archive of an archive of an archive, there is a file that was written with Microsoft Word back when it only had a few more features than a typewriter. It is my life plan that I wrote my senior year of high school. I should have know better. It has chance quite a bit since then. Changed isn’t the proper term. Been totally and completely destroyed and replaced a few times is more like it.

That was seven years ago. Back then, I was to have been married and running a vigorous electrical company. Six years ago, I was to be finishing law school right now. Five years ago, I had decided to go to a different law school, and would have still be in it, and engaged. Not to some random person, but I “knew” who it was going to be. Three years ago, I abandoned the thought of law school, and opted instead for going straight for a PhD. At no time did I think I would be sitting out the summer of 2010 praying that I found a job before the money I had saved in grad school ran out.

“Why are entire years strewn on the cutting room floor of memory as single frames of one magic night forever flicker in close up on the 3-D IMAX of my mind.” ~ Rent

The last 72 hours has seen a parade of memories flowing through my mind. There was a time when my life was falling into place. All the pieces of my plan were there, they just had to be put together. But the problem was, it was my plan, not God’s plan. I was about to graduate from GMC, the girl I had been interested in for over a year had finally agreed to have coffee with me, and life was looking good.

We had coffee that day, and she told me about the new, wonderful guy she had started dating the day before. In the following weeks, my circle of close-knit friends began to split apart. To get over it, I buried myself in a campaign. From graduation day to Election Day, I breathed, ate, and lived the fight for the Georgia 8th. We lost. We lost by 1752 votes, or about one percentage point.

I recovered and moved on. I went on to intern at the capitol. My major plans changed again. I was told it would be stupid for me to go to law school (from someone how had just graduated law school…) and decided instead for a master’s degree.

So, what brought up this walk down memory lane? Sunday afternoon. I attended the Peach Pundit Roadshow and a meet-and-greet for a man I first met and came to respect during that capitol internship. He was a member of the committee I for which I worked and was chairman of one of the subcommittees. Rep. Scott is now a candidate for the same GA-8th. I was introduced around as having worked for Collins four years prior. I felt like one of the members of the light brigade. That started the gears of memory turning. How much I loved the game, even though I’ve never actually experienced the happy side of election day.

My old babysitter was there, telling stories from my childhood. (Yes, I really did call my neighbor, her dad, “Papa Fish-Fish”.) Then all my memories started swarming back. To top it off, as the evening was winding to a close, and we were walking to our cars, I looked up to see a familiar face walking towards the door, and me. She had the hair the color of setting sun, a smile that lit the late-night darkness, and as always, the voice of an angel.
That was it. My mind was lost in the land of what ifs. It’s been there ever since. That’s why I’m writing this. Maybe it with snap my mind out of thinking about:
  • What if I had gotten the duet I wanted instead of the solo I ended up with?
  • What if I had asked her out the week before?
  • What if I could have recruited 10 more volunteers to work for 8 more hours?
  • What if we had actually won that election?
  • What if 50 something other Republicans had won that fateful night in 2006?
  • What if I had went on to law school?
  • What if I had taken that job in Virgina three years ago? Would I have won that race?
  • What if I had taken that job in Atlanta two years ago?
I know these are questions without answers. But, they have been haunting me ever since that drive home Sunday night. I’ve given up on a plan. Now, I just wait and see what God does.