Amy Brenneman
Amy Brenneman

November 1, 2012

November 1 Thoughts

The days speed by.  I got home from Colorado almost a week ago, and in five days we go to the polls.  Four days ago, our brothers and sisters on the American East Coast got slammed by Sandy.  Many (my parents among them) are still out of power and it grows colder daily.


The head spins with so much.


In Colorado I was in counties that regularly win and lost elections by two votes – that’s right, TWO!  And my friends in Manhattan who have power and beds are opening their doors to people who don’t.  The common theme?  Every person matters, and matters a whole lot.


I was talking to campaign workers in Colorado who are younger than me, and remembering elections when I was younger.  “Seemed like there was a LANDSLIDE every other election – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton – the newspapers screamed LANDSLIDE the morning after election day. “  The young women shook her head.  “Not in our time.  Ever since my memory of elections in 2000, decisions came down to a handful of votes.”


That fact has mixed implications.  On the down side, there are fewer moderates who may appeal to voters not affiliated with their parties.  Just think of how many Democrats voted for Reagan or how many Republicans voted for Clinton to constitute a landslide.  We are truly divided, red and blue.


On the up side, every vote counts.  For real and true.  To the disenfranchised or young or cynical voters who feel their vote doesn’t matter?  You are wrong.  Statistics prove it.


Election years are trying, divisive times, and this one more than ever.  Yet in the midst of that, there is generosity, humanity, and humor.  There is a Republican governor thanking a Democratic president.  There is the amazing mom at my kids’ school who supports Romney serving up sno cones with me at the Halloween fair yesterday.  I kinda wanted to get into with her, kinda wanted to get her to see things my way– but you know what?  There are things bigger than politics.  Hurricanes are one of them, and putting on a good Halloween fair for our kids is another.


Please vote. Please learn about the issues, get involved and get excited about all the extraordinary people and challenges out there.  But more than that, stay humane.  If we lose our civility, our humor and our natural generosity of spirit, then we have lost the good fight indeed.