The hardest thing about phone calling is that sometimes people will say frankly, they don't think their vote matters. That is really painful to hear, and I don't know what's sadder: hearing it from a young person, or an older person. But isn't that just the worst feeling, to feel like you don't matter? We all matter. I matter. You matter. People we disagree with matter.
I congratulate Senator-elect Rosen, but I also congratulate everyone who voted, volunteered, or participated, even if only by having a hope that it would turn out well.
Yes, we want to encourage everyone to vote, absolutely. And volunteer. But I look at it like teaching music. If someone is standing shyly offstage, you don't shame them for not participating. Personally, I find shame is a poor teacher. You encourage them. You let them know they're welcome. And most of all, you let them see how much fun it is to participate. It's like I always tell singers, no matter how smart or famous a voice teacher is, if you don't leave that lesson feeling excited and happy about singing, that's not a good teacher for you.
My personal hope was that democrats would have won the Senate, but I truly believe that if we could simply get more people to vote, the results would be better for everyone. The more of those shy singers, on all sides, that we can get to step forward, the better. I believe in the vast good heart of most human beings, and the statistics support that belief. The issues that bind us are far more plentiful than the ones that divide us. So the greater number of people involved, the better things will go, for all of us.
So while partially disappointed at last night's results, I am overall encouraged, especially by the activism all over the country. So many groups sprouted up after 2016. Indivisible, Act Blue, Our Revolution, and so many more. And they really made a difference! They helped win the House, which will offer an important check on the Executive branch, and hopefully bring some balance to what has felt like tremendous instability. And perhaps more importantly, they gave rise to candidates like Beto O'Rourke, and the dozens of women who will be taking office for the first time, people who really may be able to show us a less divisive way to occupy the public space.
So onward, good citizens. There's more to do, but take time to enjoy any victory or pleasure that comes your way, and especially trust anything helps you to stay engaged, present, and feeling like you matter. Anything that fills you up and makes you want to join in.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying."
Robert Herrick's poem, written more than three hundred years ago is quite a bit more hopeful than it sounds. Part of a tradition referred to as "Carpe Diem Poetry." It's a kind of verse that encourages us to "seize the day," and attempts to show us the immediate, inherent value of our lives, something that is so easy to lose sight of, but must never be forgotten.