Well I've Been Looking, Looking for An Answer*
We recently had to complete a school project for Gabriel that involved creating a time-line of the first year of his life. (I don't even want to start on how much I am dreading the time when that assignment comes home with Lana.)
I pulled out the baby book I kept for Gabe's first year, and I was somewhat surprised at how much detail I poured into that book, which was in calendar form. (I don't remember writing so much, but, it seems I did.)
On November 6, 2000, which was a Monday, I wrote, "tomorrow we will have a new president."
And the next day, Tuesday, November 7, 2000, I wrote "it looks like Gore will win" and, then, clearly, I went to bed.
On Wednesday, November 8, 2000, I wrote, "we don't know who won". Which is what I continued to write, every couple of days, until December 9, 2000, when the US Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, which resulted in George W. Bush being sworn in as the President of the United States.
I can tell from my entries in the baby book, and as I clearly recall, those weeks were extremely stressful for me (and the rest of the nation.) It was a time of great anxiety. I was a first year law student. (If you've never known a first year law student, take my word for it that they are not the calmest, most rational individuals.) Take the anxiety and stress of 1L, mix that in with the anxiety and stress of mothering a sleepless infant, and add in the insanity of not knowing who the President of the United States was...I am pretty sure I needed Xanax just to get through those days.
I was taking Constitutional Law at the time. (In retrospect it was kind of fascinating to be studying Con Law while one of the most important Supreme Court cases was being argued.) And I distinctly remember something that my Con Law professor said, one of those mornings, when everything seemed so terrifyingly unknown.
He said, "It is a testament to the strength of our democracy that we are not rioting in the streets right now."
And he was right. It was a testament to the strength of our democracy, at the time, that the uncertainty did not cause us to descend into anarchy.
I hope that our democracy is still strong, but, I do feel like our democracy has taken some pretty hard knocks in the last 8 years. I sense that people on both sides are angry, frustrated, and scared. I'm not sure that, if we don't have an answer tomorrow, that we won't riot in the streets if we don't have any answer.
So, what I am hoping for, what I am praying for, is that, tomorrow night, before I go to bed. I have an answer.
I don't want another November like the one we experienced eight years ago.
*Melissa Etheridge, 2001