now what?

Six months ago I skipped to the polls in high heels. I bounced down Jones Street to the SFGreenClean polling station to cast my ballot for historic change and what I perceived to be a new direction for our country. I proudly wore my red “I voted” sticker all day and into the next. And when it no longer stuck to my clothing I saved it for awhile on my dresser, uncertain whether to file it away somewhere and lamenting the day I would eventually lose or trash it. Yesterday was different. Yesterday I couldn’t be bothered to vote.

It’s selfish I know – especially since the right to vote is the foundation our country is built upon and the one time my opinion to legislators matters. But I can’t help but think this is partly what got California into this $22 billion debt in the first place. Voters are idiots. Look at how popular American Idol is and the talentless schmucks that make it through week after week because people feel bad for them. These are the same people voting on complex propositions about spending limits on a budget they don’t really understand. And frankly, I don’t have much faith in them or the California initiative process.

Yesterday I thought about voting twice – once before I left for work and once again when I got home. You know what I did instead? I went for a run. And it was a great run I might add. I saw one guy wearing a red “I voted” sticker. Did I feel like a jerk? Not really.

You see, like the majority of Californians who didn’t show up to cast a ballot yesterday, I am frustrated. For three weeks I tried reading the props to get informed. I pulled the booklet out at my coffee shop; I struggled to review them in bed and on the train. But each time I never got beyond page 13. It wasn’t because I couldn’t get through the language; it was because the whole time this voice kept repeating in my head: You want more of my money. I tried to remain open minded. But there it was again: You want my money! I give you enough of my money! Why do you need more?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other night. He said the government should not be run like a business. I agree with that. The government has a greater responsibility to its citizens than the CEO of a company. Yet … it can’t be one giant distribution center either. Maybe where the government falls short the people need to step in and help each other out. Or should it be the other way around? I don’t know.

I am not an economist and I took like two political science courses in college. All I know is that right now the system is broken, right now we need to make serious cuts to the budget. In my mind, the props were only going to get us halfway to fixing the budget crisis. And that wasn’t really fixing the problem was it?

I realize I probably shouldn’t be venting about a budget I don’t really understand or more simply because I didn’t care enough to vote yesterday. But maybe the only thing that will get people like me and the rest of the state to wake up is if the shit truly hits the fan. Or maybe people will just vote to change the politicians in office, rather than actually fix the problem and it will be more of the same shit, just a different fan.

now what?

For nearly two years we endured all the presidential campaigning. For two years we watched as things went from bad to worse to I-don’t-think-we-can-dig-a-hole-much-deeper-than-this. We listened to both sides blame each other for our country’s failures. We watched as the economy imploded and financial institutions crumbled.

For nearly two years we heard about how change was coming. Change was needed. And change did come – and not always for the better. So we took our chances on a relative unknown to catalyze this transition. Overnight our country invested in hope. Overnight barriers were brought down. Overnight we suddenly have a new chance at a better future for us all.

But I can’t help but wonder: Now what?

I find myself antsy today. Just hours after last night’s historic win, I am revisiting photos from the celebrations, photos from the campaign trail, in an attempt to savor the moment. I know that around the country today people in headquarter offices will be removing signs and taking steps to shut down the respective campaigns. I know that there is still much to do even before we can begin moving forward.

But I am straining to be patient. I can’t stop scanning the headlines. I can’t sit still. I find myself in a familiar place once again – waiting – for what is to come.