Ahh, outside the air is crisp and cool, and across the Wasatch Mountains, tree leaves are turning brilliant gold and fiery red. It is Autumn. Usually, I love this time of year when burning hot days fade to a chill, and tank tops and shorts are swapped for soft, chunky sweaters. This year is different, and I feel nothing but dread. This season it’s all political.
I don’t like politics, or maybe, I guess I don’t understand politics. Besides the divisive emotion it spurs, I dislike the strategy, the winner-takes-all that seems to be the conclusion, leaving everyone else, the ones not making the rules, not even allowed to play the game, left in the wake.
Social media and the news only makes everything worse. It’s too much—too much opinion without fact, too many rabbit holes and verbal assaults, loosely veiled truths, and blunted edges of hard realities, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
It’s as if I’m stranded in the middle of an ocean, sliding up and down with the waves, caught in the fluidity of the push and pull. I move because of the water. I am because of the movement. I am unmoved when the water is still.
In the ocean, I blend in. I become a speck in the vastness—swallowed up by the void. With the horizon endless, stretched out on both sides of me, I am miles from the shore, the ground, the sand. From hope.
When a wave builds, I see it. I note the ripple, the tiny pulses of gathering water, and the indent in the surface before the surge. It’s coming.
From here, I can’t tell the strength. I don’t understand where my place will be if I will join it, be consumed, or spat out. Will I live, or will I drown?
This is how politics feels to me—a white, middle-class woman with all the privilege that comes with it! Yet, I feel as if I have no risk in the political game, that it doesn’t matter what I think or how I vote. I cannot imagine how lost and alien it would be for someone else, for someone, not me—for someone who has so much to lose, has so much skin in the game that they can’t merely exist on the game board.
I worry. I doubt that whatever I do, it won’t make a difference because I am a speck, a middle echo that loses strength with time, the tiniest ripple in the sea. Still, I will go out. I will cast my vote because doing nothing might mean everything.