I’m not an overly political person. Wait, maybe I should retype that…I’m not an OVERTLY political person. I have strong beliefs, strong ideals, strong stands on things, but I’m not the type to ram them down anybody’s throat. In all honesty, you believe what you believe, I believe what I believe, and unless your beliefs offend me on a deeply personal level, I won’t really say anything to you about them. If you are offending me or those I love and care for, well, that may very well be a different story, but otherwise, I’m a firm believer in “Live and let live”. I may think you’re an idiot, but I won’t say it out loud. After all, this is America, and we are blessed with the freedom to have our own opinions. That’s why I love this country so much, and don’t think I’d ever want to live anywhere else.
And because I feel so strongly about not arguing pointlessly about political beliefs, I’ve refrained from commenting on this blog about my stand on the election. Candid Karina is my little world away from “the world” and I didn’t want to invite the sorts of things political discussions can bring into this world.
I don’t think it was any big mystery where I stood on the election, but I just didn’t feel the need to get into all of that here.
I still don’t. That’s not what this post is about.
This post is about how I’ve completely fallen in love with America all over again. Last night, hearing the numbers come in, I was hit with a bit of nostalgia. Nostalgia for those days when I was young and living in Portugal, knowing that one day soon I would move to the land of opportunity. America, the promised land. Where I could be anything, do anything, achieve anything. A country where all men AND women are equals, and the only obstacle to getting what you want is your own lack of motivation to do it.
My parents uprooted themselves when I was 10 years old to give my brother and I a chance at a future only America could give us. And I’ve always believed in the American Dream.
Over the last 8 years this country has seen a lot of turmoil, pain, disappointment and crushing of that very dream. I’m not blaming “that guy” alone for this. There were events beyond his control, there were tragedies, nightmares, and so many other culprits in creating the dissatisfaction of Americans worldwide. But even I, an immigrant once so full of the hope and belief in the American Dream, stopped dreaming.
And yes, I realize that as a nation, we are highly flawed, and there is still such a long way to go before equality for all is a reality. I realize that glass ceilings, bigotry and hatred still exist. I realize that there are wounds too deep to heal maybe even in my lifetime. I know all that.
But here’s what else I know. I am a 30 something year old woman who owns her own home, ALL on her own. I have a college education, a good job, and the ability to get up on a Tuesday morning and vote. I can wear what I want, when I want, I can cut my hair short, or let it grow long. I can have many babies, or choose not to have any at all. Get married or stay single. Believe in God, and talk about it…or not. I can be friends with people who may not agree with everything I believe in, and have that be okay too. I can date a black man, a white man, an Asian man. Hell, I could date a woman if I wanted to.
Yes, there are still many battles to be fought, but that American Dream? Oh, how we take it for granted.
So yesterday I voted. And if you didn’t, shame on you. No matter WHO you supported, that vote counted. It counted because it was your voice, so it counted FOR YOU if for nothing else.
I was so proud last night to hear about the high numbers of people who realized that, and got out and voted. It is those numbers, the numbers of people who got out and cast their votes that have me feeling hopeful and proud to be an American this morning. It is not about WHO we elected, it is about the fact that we showed up in record numbers to do it. Highest number of voters since women got the right to vote in 1908. That says a lot, don’t you think?
What it says to me is that we are ready to be active members of this great nation. To participate, to speak up, to be citizens.
I have my own thoughts and feelings about our President-Elect. About how I think he has an incredibly tough road ahead of him, and no matter what he accomplishes, it won’t be “enough” to those who oppose him. About how refreshing it will be to have a president who can speak eloquently. About how history was made last night. About whether or not I agree with what he stands for. A lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings.
But there is only one feeling I have for America today, and that is one of hope. We the people came together yesterday and voted. We the people decided it was time to get involved. I hope we the people can continue to care for this great nation and bring it back to that Promised Land I used to dream of as a child.