A long ago memory woke me a 4:15 a.m.
When I was a not such a little girl, one of my dearest friends ran for student council president. She was already destined to be the valedictorian, but I didn’t know that. She was just my friend, Judy. I hung out with Patti and Sandy and Judy, when I wasn’t practicing double-jumps or pom-pom routines with my sister-cheerleaders or trying to find quiet places to be with my boyfriend. My real friends were “eggheads.” Like me.
Judy was the obvious choice for President. She already served as the Junior class representative. She was dedicated, she was smart. Judy was a Girl Scout, a drum majorette, a Daughter of the Revolution, and volunteered at the Red Cross.
Craig ran against Judy. Craig was a nice enough fellow. I had nothing against him, in fact I liked Craig. He was cute. I might have even had a teensy crush on him. Craig was not involved in any extra-curricular activities, he wasn’t on the student council, he was an average student. He wasn’t one of the popular kids and he wasn’t one of the hoods either. Craig was the underdog in the election.
My sister Deanna, was a senior the year that Judy ran for President. Deanna was popular. I wanted to be just like Deanna. Deanna was a lot of things I was not. She was pretty; she knew just what to say to make people smile. I was none of those things. I was a bit of an embarrassment to Deanna.
At our school, seniors got to vote for President, even though they would not be in school when the President actually served.
Craig won the election. His success dumbfounded me. How could this happen?
“Judy thought she deserved it,” Deanna told me. “That’s why everyone in the Senior class voted against her. She needed to be knocked off her high horse.”
“She did deserve it,” I countered.
My indignation had no clout. Judy lost the election.
That might have been the first time I thought Deanna was less than perfect. How could she do such a despicable thing?
The school didn’t fall apart. Craig did okay as President. A lot of new people got involved in student government, including me. Judy and others like her stayed involved, and that filled the knowledge gaps. School administrators’ oversight prevented chaos. Besides, like I said, Craig, was a nice enough guy. He meant no harm. Later I learned that Craig had a laudable reason for running. “Judy was running unapposed,” he told me. “And that didn’t seem right.” If I knew that, I forgot it.
Of course the whole injustice of it hurt Judy. It hurt me and Sandy and Patti. My faith in the way things were supposed to work got shook. I was righteously indignant.
Sometimes, in elections, the most qualified person loses. The person who deserves it, works for it, has the experience, and all the obvious credentials can lose just because others want to see her knocked down a peg. There’s an injustice in that, and plenty of reasons to be angry and even lose faith in the people we admire. And it hurts in a way that makes recovery difficult.
Yet, if history proves prophetic we’ll be alright. If everyone steps up to the plate, we can fill in the gaps with our own expertise and fervor. If we have dependable oversight, we can weather through. We can still make things happen.
We can do this. I have hope. And I intend to remain diligent, vigilant, and active. I’m going to the Million Woman March, and it will be the first time ever that I’ve joined a demonstration. Will you join me?
Disclaimers and explanations:
- Deanna and I are political birds of a feather. We both Lean In for “social justice.”
- Craig is a dedicated family man who helps people find their dream homes.
- Judy is a psychotherapist who empowers others to realize their true potential.
- Patti and Sandy and Judy are still on my friend list. I lost touch with my sister-cheerleaders and my boyfriend, is, well he’s not my boyfriend anymore.
- The only vote I know for certain from the above list is mine, but I’m guessing it’s a mixed bag.
8 thoughts on “Past Post-election scars”
Oh, my goodness! This gives me a whole new perspective! Thank you!!!
Thank you, Diane. In no way do I mean to minimize the need for activism. I have joined the Safety Pin movement and I am going to the March. Those are two simple things among many that I can do to fill in the gaps. Trump will be our President. It’s up to us to make sure his time is not disastrous.
Yep, that is an optimistic view and I appreciate it. But we have a lot of work to do to make things right because in this situation the stakes are higher and there is much ugliness. Calling Mrs. Obama an ape in heels? Really? Fortunately, that Mayor resigned today. But the “real” is coming out and it ain’t pretty.
I agree with you, Carol. Believe me, I don’t equate Craig with Trump. No comparison.
There is a lot of hate in our country. And it’s been brewing for a while. We must become vigilant and active. And we must not return hate with hate.
We can weather this together.
I hope your optimism comes true!
I am hopefully optimistic.at the same time, I’m not laid back. I’m optimistic that mindful involvement and activism will right the course.
I had a similar experience my sophomore year of college. My best friend was applying for the nursing program, her GPA perfectly matched to that of my roommate in the dorm. She was VP of the Silver Wings Veteran Outreach group, and an active member of the ROTC. She was inspired to be a nurse by her own extended stint in the hospital as a young child for a rare blood condition, and her personal essay was absolutely moving! And her charisma and spirit was undeniable!
My roommate was quite a pouty person, not much of a personality to speak of. She participated in no extra curricular activities outside of watching Nip/Tuck marathons in our dorm.
In the end, I’m sure you can guess, my best friend received a rejection letter from the nursing program, while my roommate was accepted. She was obviously crushed, and is presently teaching chemistry to tenth graders. It was sad for me to watch her give up on the dreams she had talked about being a part of since we were children. It’s difficult more to watch how miserable she is at what she does. I think this entire thing is far more harder on me than it was on her. 😉
I am sorry for your friends rejection. It’s never too late to change direction. I hope she finds her bliss.