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.
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. My sister-cheerleaders and my boyfriend are not.
- The only vote I know for certain from the above list is mine, but I’m guessing it’s a mixed bag.