Well this is it, people. My last commentary before the recall. Heck, maybe you will all get lucky and never see the word ‘recall’ in my column again. (Hearty chuckle) Okay, sorry, probably not the very LAST time… But soon enough I can try to inch my way back to humor and non-political pieces and won’t THAT be refreshing?
SO…what can I say after 18 months of life changing, eye opening revelations, disappointments, experiences and triumphs? about how and when I became involved in the recall process. I have shared my experiences with becoming a more involved citizen and my evolution into a more active member of society instead of merely a lazy complainer.
I have attended rallies, protests, fundraisers, debates…all events which were off my radar before February of 2011. In the past month, I have volunteered more hours than I have in my entire life. And while I am tired, a bit more stressed and see my family a little less – I know it is all more than worth it.
Soon we will all be free of the political calls, mailings, and incessant television commercials. Soon we slowly start discussing things which have nothing to do with budgets or bills or banging drums. Soon we will link arms and sing around the campfire with gooey feelings of utter respect, forgiveness and compassion. Right? RIGHT?? Sorry, my inner naive child tends to rear her fantasy-like ideals when she is lacking sleep.
I admit though, I often wonder how we can truly repair the damage which has been cast upon our state and the people within. Can we mend the fences which have been torn down and start dismantling ones which have been erected? Will those friends we lost on Facebook pop back into our scope? Will family dinners be less combative? Will online commenters (cough, cough) return to a space of civility?
So what’s next – what will happen after Tuesday?
Fast forward to current day….
Confused? I started writing this piece shortly before the election. I had become so entrenched with volunteering for the campaigns that I simply never finished writing. And clearly, it has taken me some time to get back into the swing of things as I muddle through my emotions.
Not only did I take a writing break, many things took a backseat in the recent past. My house was a little messier. And I had stopped my exercise routine; yet somehow still managed to lose 6 pounds…I guess I forgot to eat too.
I met so many wonderful people. Gobs of them. I can’t believe these people have existed in my geographical area all this time and I hadn’t left the house enough to notice! I learned so much about the political psychology and processes. I have learned how critical volunteering truly is to elections. And I have learned that some things are worth losing for. (Yes, I still shudder at the thought of losing…hell, I AM human!!)
Have I noticed a change in anything in the last 10 days? Are people being kinder, gentler, and more respectful? Nah. At least I don’t think so. Perhaps I need to give it more time…let the storm settle a while longer.
Being in Racine lends itself to a unique perspective from the rest of the state right now. While many of us are sad that our recall efforts were not quite successful in the gubernatorial race…we sure had an important win with John Lehman.
I organized the election night party (food, drinks, decorations and what not) at “Lehman Headquarters”. I was able to stay away from TVs and the news most of the night because I was so incredibly busy. But as the night began to die down and after Barrett conceded…it was time for a seat, a cry and some potato chips. Most were ready to throw in the towel. But my gut kept reminding me, “Hey, this isn’t over for John…just you wait.” And I repeated that to a few others with a nervous smile.
Well, low and behold…late in the night (or early in the morning I should say)…some familiar faces emerged from a back room with toothy grins and tired eyes. We did it. We friggin’ did it. Seven hundred some votes (now, eight hundred something)…Racine prevailed.
I returned home after everyone was sleeping to find a homemade condolence card from my daughter lying on my pillow. And the next day she proudly informed me, “Lehman won, though, Mom!” That is when I realized how it really was all worth it. We have one more person to stand up for us, for my kids, for our community. We have a great group of people in Racine who work ENDLESSLY to help the right people get elected. We have lived experiences many out there will never know. Worth it. Worth it. Worth it.
As I begin to step back in those shoes I used to wear every day, I am noticing they don’t fit quite so right anymore. I have changed. My expectations have changed. And I am pretty sure my future has changed. I think I will be in need of a new pair of shoes…