I got you to read it, didn’t I?!?!
Okay, it was a sneaky thing to do. BUT…the title of this post does hold relevance, so if you bear with me, I’ll elaborate more after I say what I have to say.
It’s been a week and two days since the election. A week and two days. I have needed that time to reflect. To absorb. To mourn. To not move to New Zealand.
I think we can all agree that this election was heated, contentious, and thoroughly exhausting. I still feel a disconnect. To everything. On the day after the election, I drove to work on autopilot (honestly, I don’t remember getting there). I was a shell of myself. I think many Americans felt exactly the same way.
I didn’t want Trump to be President. Let’s be honest: I didn’t want him in the running to begin with. He was a joke, after all. Laughable entertainment. “Oh, that silly Trump, trying to Make A Point! Good for you, Donald….now please go away and make room for a viable candidate.”
Not that there were many to choose from: Cruz, Rubio, and Christie. The Three Stooges. But I digress.
My knowledge of politics has always been bare bones. Enough to know who I want to vote for and who I don’t. Republicans hate gays and abortion. Democrats don’t. Republicans want the rich to stay rich. Democrats want them to pay their fair share of taxes. And so on, and so on. For me, as a gay man, I identify with Democrats for their progressive, liberal views.
But what, really, did I know outside of that? Anything I’d learned about politics in high school had long since been forgotten. The Constitution? The Bill of Rights? That was pretty much it. I was out of the loop.
Then…Trump won. Donald Trump won the Presidency of the United States of America. The man who grabs womens’ pussies. The man who called Mexicans rapists. The man who goes off the handle more often than John McEnroe. Donald Trump, Leader of the Free World. Commander in Chief. He will be making decisions that will affect the country. Worse, decisions that will CHANGE America. In my opinion, for the worse. That’s quite a responsibility to shoulder, and I can’t imagine Trump understands the gravity of the situation.
Suddenly, without warning, a fire was lit inside me. Incendiary. I can’t quite explain it. Before I knew it I was reading what I could about American politics. The process. How things work. Can the Supreme Court really change decisions when they want? Can the President strip me of my rights? Do I need to marry my partner now before Trump takes the Oath? WILL AMERICA FALL APART??
You name it, I was reading it. CNN. Daily News. The New York Times. If there was a word I didn’t understand, I Googled it. If there was a policy mentioned, I looked it up. Oh, so that’s what NAFTA means! Oh, I see, a Supreme Court decision can’t be overturned quite so easily, can it?!? And so on, and so on.
My best friend, Liz, who lives in Seattle, suggested I find out who my local councilpersons are. “Contact them,” she told me. “Find out who they are and tell them you have concerns.”
So I did. And everything changed.
Olga Diaz is the Escondido City Councilperson for District 3, where I live. Not only is she the only female councilperson, but the only Democrat. I reached out to her and expressed my desire to become more involved. Even at the most marginal of levels, I wanted to roll up my sleeves and pitch in. She responded within two hours and invited me to the local Democratic Club meeting, which was to take place the next morning.
Of course I went. It was inspiring! Granted, a bond was formed simply to commiserate over the recent election. But soon, during the meeting itself, ideas were discussed. Me and the other newbies introduced ourselves. We need to move forward, make changes. We were eager, and ready.
There is something I’ve realized about Trump’s election. It is definitely a tough pill to swallow, but ultimately his election as President is a Lesson. It’s a glass of cold water thrown in our faces. WAKE UP! We’ve been complacent, it seems. I mean, haven’t we? Sure, we’ve taken on opposition, fought for equality, done miraculous things. But we became sedentary, assuming politics would remain…political. Sure, there would be Republican candidates that the Democrats hate, and vice versa, but chances are they’d all be career politicians. I mean, would they??
But then came the jarring eye-opener:
We didn’t take into account that maybe, possibly, an everyday person might enter the ranks. We just assumed that every person to enter any political race wouldn’t be a racially charged businessman with a hidden agenda. A demagogue. A charlatan.
So it was decided: I am going to involve myself. I will attend rallies. I will be that annoying guy at the grocery store entrance asking if you’re registered to vote. I’ll make phone calls. I’ll pester my Congressman and legislators. Aside from my morning rituals that now include CNN, The Daily News, The New York Times, you name it, I have been to the library and picked up books on politics, how it all works.
Mind you, though I’m a Democrat, I will be reading opinions from ALL sides. I want different perspectives. You can’t write unless you know how to read; you can’t fly if you don’t have wings. A little dramatic, I know (come on, it’s Sean you’re reading here), but certainly truthful.
So, back to my blog title. I can see it, being in some kind of office. I would like for you to know and understand something: For years I have had a dream. A goal. I don’t want to be rich, or famous. What I want is simple: I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR SOMETHING. I don’t think that’s such a selfish longing. And maybe politics is that thing.
I’ll say it here: I’ll run one day, for something local. Mark my words. But what I need first and foremost is education. Information. I would never – EVER – pretend to be more than I am, a citizen with a goal to change things for the better. My community, my city, my county, my state, my country. I have no need for divisiveness, which is where we’re headed at this point. I have quite a bit of road ahead of me to travel. Quite a bit.
I wish I could explain this fire, this need. It’s bigger than me. But I want so badly to embrace it, to see where it takes me.
I love my country. Now more than ever. And I didn’t even know it until November 8th.