Are We Ready to Talk About This Election Year?
A tender invitation to the ones who got burnt up before
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My oldest and dearest friend and I absconded to the mountains the past few days. She’d originally envisioned a completely off-grid, wilderness expedition wherein we’d hike in to a remote site and she’d scale one of the Adirondack’s 46 high peaks (she’s done almost all of them) and I’d hike my own hike. But we pivoted at the last minute, landing instead at the gateway to most of the high peaks but with a proper bathroom nearby. Neither of us mind going in the woods, but some weeks of the month are harder for that than others, if you get my drift. We were still off-grid, still hiked our own hikes, sat around a campfire, slept with the rain pattering on our tent, and had some lovely conversations.
Yesterday morning, as we spooned rehydrated quinoa + walnuts into our bellies and talked about our plan for packing up and heading out, my dear friend looked at me and said, “We haven’t talked about politics at all this weekend.” I must have looked confused because she clarified, “You know, because it’s an election year coming up and all and I know you think about this stuff more than I do.” She’s right, I do think about this stuff and it is an election year coming up, but we don’t usually talk about politics, she and I. We talk about issues a lot and often, but rarely politicians and votes and such. There are a lot of reasons for that, none of which are pertinent to you readers, all of which are personal to the two of us and our individual convictions about civic duty etc. etc..
As we went our separate ways a few hours later, she back down south, I, due west, I thought about the coming year quite a bit. 2016 was for me, as it was for so many of us, a year of awakening to schisms and idolatry and excuses and ultimate goals. And it was hard. But it was nothing like the 2020 election through to the inauguration. All the uncomfortable feelings and conversations and tenuous tightropes many of us walked during the previous four years, still trying desperately to trust that one’s vote was just a momentary decision or (for them) an act of faith or hope, and not an indication of one’s whole character, in 2020, it went out the door. The supreme court was loaded with conservative judges, Roe v Wade would almost certainly be overturned in the coming future, now I waited to see if those who’d happily voted for Trump or even those held their noses and voted—if it had been merely, as many of them said it was, about abortion—would change their tune.
The opposite happened.
I was gutted.
Nearly eight years after the 2016 election, my politics have become even more centrist (what that means to me may be different than what it means to you) than before. I am happily an independent voter, and would be even happier if we voted along issues instead of party lines. But I don’t want to write about politics today. I want to talk about relationships and how we might make it through the coming year.
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