When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. on the morning after election day, my second thought was “Oops, it’s blasphemous to pray to Nate Silver.”
Then I opened my laptop and was hugely relieved to learn that Obama had won re-election. And then I started trying to recall if any friends or family might possibly live in Colorado or Washington.
I jest. To use marijuana, you have to be someone who knows someone who knows someone, or else you have to be a very good gardener. Neither description fits me. If I ever live in a place where it’s legal, I will gladly enjoy its recreational and medicinal (for anxiety) benefits, but for now I’ll be content just knowing that resistance to marijuana is thawing.
Most drugs that are illegal in the United States are illegal for very good reasons, and I will continue to support their illegality. Meth destroys families. Heroin destroys families. I’d rather restrict an individual’s right to abuse drugs than suffer the societal consequences of those drugs. Probably that is because I am a godless communist and I hate freedom.
But marijuana is largely benign. It has many medical applications, and no few recreational applications. And more importantly, legalizing it will allow us to better focus our anti-crime efforts on actual crime.
Back to election morning: because I was checking the news at an hour that could still reasonably be considered the middle of the damn night, I deferred my political news gorging till the evening. I was about twenty hours late watching Obama’s acceptance speech. When I finally got to it, I cried the whole way through. I don’t mean that I got teary-eyed. I mean that I had to go into the other room to blow my nose. I sobbed out loud at one point.
I have always been quick to cry. I don’t know if it’s a biological thing — are some people genetically predisposed to tears? — or if I never learned the trick to preventing or stopping tears, but I respond to strong emotion by crying. The tendency has become stronger in recent months, something I wouldn’t have believed possible. For example, I stopped to listen to some street musicians in downtown Asheville the other day, and I started crying, for the simple reason that the ensemble was doing a nice job. I don’t even like jazz all that much!
President Obama’s speech reminded me of why I liked him so well in the first place. His first term was not all I hoped it might be, and maybe the second term will be marred by the same partisan rancor and extremism in Congress, but he talked about things I believe in. He made me feel hopeful. And he is so very good at delivering speeches.
But my final sob-story came from this picture. Even before I researched this lady (with “researched” meaning “visited the wikipedia page of”) and discovered more about her story, I broke down and cried — the full treatment, snot and everything. I encourage you to learn more about Tammy Duckworth, but for now, I leave you with the image that reminds me that some people are extraordinary — and that sometimes ordinary Americans make extraordinary choices at the polls.