Election Days 2016-2017: A Playlist
Maybe you've found yourself having embittered political battles with close family and friends.
Maybe you've found yourself googling: how to survive family Thanksgiving and political discussions.
Maybe you've had to gently tell your mother to stop calling her representative every morning. Just me?
(Actually: way to go, Mom. You are a much better citizen than me).
Maybe like me you've found yourself checking out, slowly. I remember a year ago my shock giving way to a sense of embarrassment. Had I totally misjudged this thing? Was Trump really the best president ever who was going to make us great again?
Well after a year of Russia and little-to-no legislative progress and no end in sight to the inane tweeting, I'm going to go with - no - I didn't misjudge it, Trump is not an amazing president.
We can agree to disagree on that. I really don't want this blog to be another example of ways we find to divide ourselves and denigrate one another.
Instead, I guess what I want to do is give you a playlist of election day to election day and also tell you something that might surprise you.
I had no, zero, intention of voting yesterday. Municipal elections. I wasn't even registered in Minnesota yet. I had a lingering sense of PTSD from wearing a white pantsuit a year ago. I had become sort of cynical about the whole thing, starting to in my head join the chorus of "well they're all corrupt anyway and it doesn't even matter so just take care of your family."
But I'd always followed politics, ever since I was a kid in elementary school, wrote a letter to the St. Paul (MN) mayor, and he graciously invited me to shadow him for a day. I worked for an honorable congressman (Jim Ramstad, R-Minn.) while I was in college (summer internship), and I guess somewhere I still believed wholeheartedly in the promise of democracy, as compromised as it is now by money and lobbyists and lies.
So yesterday I was sitting in a local Minneapolis coffee shop -- tiny place, like maybe 15 people inside. I start to hear people murmuring, then talking, and then I realize that the candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, had come into the coffee shop to talk to people.
He went personally up to every person there and introduced himself. Sure it was political but it was also kind of without guile. I'm a former journalist and a current pastor, so I feel like I can read people, and I sensed there in Frey something genuine: something real. He wanted this: not because his family wanted him to, or because he'd make a ton of money, or because it was expected of him - but it seemed because he believed he could do something to help this amazing city, which as of late has made headlines for the wrong reasons (see: police shooting this summer in my neighborhood of an unarmed woman: Justine Damond, and many others).
I went home and googled my polling place and it was the church across the street. Minnesota also lets you register on the same day -- yes! Every state should do this. So I walked across to vote, realizing as I did so that this was not a right I should have taken for granted.
I found out today - a year after the shock and embarrassment of Election Day 2016 - that Frey won the election. This 36-year-old former civil rights lawyer full of hope would be one of the youngest mayors of a large city in the country.
Doesn't mean they aren't all still corrupt. But don't people say that about pastors and journalists, too?
Just for fun: here's my Election Days 2016-2017 Playlist. Don't worry, no Fight Song included.
Last year we elected a President who bragged about grabbing women by the p*ssy
This year #MeToo is trending and women are speaking out about sexual harassment, and national attitudes are starting to change.
Why not include a 90s rap great calling men out and rapping for women's right to choose