Holding onto the hopefulness

A button with the text "Liberty and Justice for All," with the word ALL shown in the stripes of the transgender flag.
Liberty & Justice for All.

Saturday was a day full of joy for me. I felt such a wave of relief at the announcement of the Biden/Harris victory that my stress just evaporated (at least for a day). I was deeply moved by the speeches of both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden Saturday night. While I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of Kamala Harris, I will be the first to admit that Joe Biden was not my first choice candidate for president. I won’t go into the reasons why right now, because I want to focus on the good, and the potential for good. One thing that really stood out to me in Joe Biden’s speech was this bit:

“I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history. Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  Progressives, moderates and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American.”

He specifically acknowledged both gay and transgender people. This positive message of inclusion of affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community is not only in stark contrast to the attitudes of the current administration, it is also a historic moment in and of itself: “Biden’s explicit reference to transgender people marked the first time in U.S. history a president-elect referenced them in a victory speech.” (Source)

This brings me so much hope for my transgender friends and loved ones (and for total strangers) living in this country. You are seen and valued by the person just elected to the highest office of this land. And while there is still so much more work to do for full LGBTQ+ inclusion, acceptance and equality under the law, this is a step in the right direction.

Doing a happy dance

This morning the news broke that the presidential election was called for Biden. While votes are still being tallied, it looks like the Biden/Harris campaign has surpassed the needed 270 electoral votes. (Thank you, Pennsylvania!) The rest of my day has been a whirl of emotions. I’ve cried some tears of joy and relief, talked and texted with friends and family, and spent a good hour and a half dancing around my house. (Bonus: this was a pretty solid cardio workout.)

I know there’s still a lot of work to be done. The pandemic is still raging, and this country is more divided than ever. But for today and tonight, I’m going to drink in the joy and relief. (I also drank in a bit of sparkling wine that I had in the fridge.)

Counting some more.

It’s two days after voting wrapped in the U.S. election, and the vote counting is continuing. This is a good thing, as every vote counts. The group organizing the Protect the Results event near me was meeting again this afternoon, so I headed back. But first I decided to add the Count to my sign.

With all the talk of counting, I’ve found myself getting some counting things stuck in my head. Like this song by Feist:

A Sesame Street version of Feist’s 1,2,3,4. All about counting.

And this song by Throwing Muses:

Counting Backwards, by Throwing Muses.

I was considering doing a full-blown ThThTh list (Themed Things Thursdays, that is), given that it’s Thursday, and my mind is making a list of things on a theme. But those things take a lot more time to put together than I have available for putting them together. So instead, I’ll list a few more things on the theme of counting that came to mind:

  1. Counting Crows: a band
  2. Everything Counts: a song by Depeche Mode.
  3. Counting one’s blessings: an expression about taking stock of the good things one has in one’s life
  4. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” A line from a poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning. (Sonnets from the Portuguese 43.)
  5. Counting your chickens before they hatch: an idiom meaning to plan on events coming to pass before being sure that they’ll happen. Very unwise to count chickens based on the number of eggs you have. Especially if you bought your eggs from the grocery store.
  6. Counting sheep: said to help put one to sleep when one is having trouble falling asleep. (This is supposed to be counting images of sheep in your head, versus having a bunch of sheep in your bedroom. Because probably sheep in your bedroom would keep you awake. And likely would also smell.)
  7. I also feel compelled to mention that the Count from Sesame Street has been getting some good meme love these last couple of days.

And now I should get to bed. Because if there’s one thing I can count on, it’s that morning will come, and I’ll need to get moving again.

Counting sheep: Said to help you fall asleep. Probably an occupational hazard for shepherds.

Having any counting things to add? Feel free to list them in the comments. :)

Count every vote.

As many people predicted, the results of the US presidential election are not yet determined. While this isn’t the definitive rejection of the current administration I’d hoped for, I am holding out hope for an electoral college win for Biden. But I won’t count my chickens until all the votes are counted.

Count every vote. (I painted my sign in the couple of minutes between a meeting and the time I was leaving for the event.)

I attended a “Protect the Results” event in a nearby town tonight. Many such events were planned around the country, but most were not activated. But still, every vote needs to be counted.

Count every vote.

Last night and this morning left me feeling tied up in knots with worry and a sense of impending doom. I’ve been trying to focus on the bits of good, like my little red town going for Biden. Plus I’ve been making sure to count my blessings, and feel thankful for the many good people I have in my life, plus my dog, my home, and the many things in my life that bring me joy. Too many to count right now.

Today was a bit of a blur.

I’m pretty well exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster of the last couple of days. In fact, I am in bed already, even though it’s barely after 9:00 p.m. I was almost asleep when I remembered that I hadn’t posted here.

And now I need to close up my laptop and get to sleep. (I won’t need to count sheep. Though I may well dream of counting ballots.)

I voted.

Today was the big election day in the U.S., but I actually voted a couple of weeks ago. I got my mail-in ballot, and dropped it into an official ballot drop box at my town hall. So, no “I voted” sticker for me. I decided to doodle myself an “I voted” design to mark the occasion.

Polls are closed in Massachusetts and the rest of the East Coast, but still open in the Western States. I don’t know when we’ll know the results of the presidential race. And there are a lot of down-ballot races I care about, including some local ones. I’m a tangled mess of hope and worry. Like so many, I’m still scarred from the 2016 results.

I’m pretty tired from a long day, filled mostly with holding signs at my town polling place. It was a very windy day, so it was actually some physical work. Plus I’m worn out from days, weeks, months, years of worry. So, I may just go to bed, and hope that I have good news to wake up to.

mailing my worries away (if only)

Here it is, November 1st. It’s hard to think about much else beyond the impending U.S. Presidential election, not to mention all the other critical down-ballot races near and far. I’ve been channeling some of my nervous energy (read “anxiety bordering on panic”) into voter outreach efforts, including good old-fashioned mailing. (Bonus: support given to the US postal service!) I participated in a variety of mailing projects to reach voters, including helping to stamp and label more than a thousand postcards for a couple of local candidates I support. I also coordinated the writing and sending of over 4000 pieces of hand-written mail to voters in various states, mostly swing states. I recruited dozens of people to help me with these projects, and it was very satisfying (if occasionally stressful). And I personally wrote over 645 postcards and notes. I spent a lot of quality time with my pens. For some of the projects, there were pre-printed postcards. For others I had to provide my own cards. I bought quite a few printed cards, but also enjoyed making a bunch of my own. I was able to direct my doodling urges into voting-themed designs. Here are a few of my projects.

1000 postcards to Michigan that I took charge of. I distributed almost 800 of them to local friends, and wrote the other 200+ myself.

November means that it’s that time of year when I remember that I have a blog with a bit more regularity, and try to post every day. I think this month is going to be a rough ride, so perhaps this outlet will help.

Impeachment afterglow

impeach-banner

Last night I went to one of hundreds of events that were held all across the US in support of the impeachment and removal from office of the current occupant of the White House. Most rallies were set for 5:30 p.m., as the one I attended. Being up quite far north, and it being almost at the solstice, the sun sets a little after 4:00 here. So by 5:30, it’s oh-so-dark. Preparing for this, I wanted my sign to be visible.

I stopped by a dollar store Monday night, and got myself a black poster board and a bunch of glow sticks. (The cashier commented “kids just love these.” “Right,” I thought. “For the kids.”)

glow-sticks

Tuesday dawned dark and dreary and covered in ice. Schools were closed. Government offices closed. Meetings were cancelled. But I heard that the rally was still on.

Seeing as glow sticks only glow for so long, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, and waited until after 4 to get cracking. I cracked open the packages, and cracked the sticks to start the glow.

impeach-in-progress

Then I used packing tape to secure my glowstick letters. (This turned out to be a bit of a pain, just because I was trying to hurry. And packing tape will not be rushed. It will wrap itself back around the roll, and your fingers, and whatever else is around just to show its contempt for your hurry.) I’d planned out how I’d make the letters, and counted out how many glowsticks I’d need for each letter. I’d thought about “impeach and remove,” but the sign wasn’t really big enough.

impeach-sign-supplies

I was quite pleased with the glowing results. My sign was bright and visible in the dark. And my heart was warmed by the enthusiastic turnout at the rally, in spite of the ongoing ice storm.

impeach-square

After the protest, I brought my sign back home to share its glow. And I made my Christmas wish. (Today I got at least part of my wish.)

all-i-want-for-christmas

(And know that my merriment is only a coping mechanism in these dark times. The next few months and the coming election next year are very uncertain. Meanwhile,  I am thankful for my right to protest, and don’t take it for granted.)

Sending my support to the Hong Kong protesters

I know I tend to post bits of fluff these days, but it’s a coping mechanism. There is so much going on in the world that has me beyond worried. (The climate crisis. Human rights abuses. Threats to democracy near and far. To name a few.)

As a case in point, it’s heartbreaking to see how repressive the Hong Kong police and government have become. From what I have read, life there has become completely transformed for the residents of this vibrant city in the past few (or many) months.

If you’re interested in a firsthand perspective on what’s been happening in Hong Kong, please visit YTSL at Webs of Significance. See, for example, her musings on the recent events and protests or this post from earlier this week. I appreciate her detailed and heartfelt updates.

In other news, I was happy to see that the US Senate voiced support for Hong Kong protesters, and the House before this. (At least the US Senate is making a show of supporting freedom and democracy, even though I am concerned about how these are being undermined here in the US.)

I expect that I’ll be back to posting light content tomorrow.

Vote well, USA, vote well.

There are a lot of important races and questions on the ballots across the United States for tomorrow’s election. I have become deeply invested in many races, near and far. I have given of my time, my energy, my funds, and so much more. There is a lot at stake.

One question that should not even be up for debate, but has somehow made it onto the ballot in Massachusetts, is about whether my state should maintain protection of the rights of transgender individuals. To protect transgender rights, I hope that my state overwhelmingly votes “yes” on question 3.

yes-on-3
If you are a voter in Massachusetts, please vote “yes” on question 3. Please protect the rights of transgender people. (I made made these buttons to show my support.)

Or, as this video so eloquently puts it, “Be a Masshole, not an asshole.”

What are some of the races and questions that you are invested in? There is so very much to care about right now.