19 January 2009

Changes

I remember, at the start of 2nd grade in the autumn of '92, being given a sheet of paper with three faces on it: George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot.  I remember having no idea who any of them were, circling George Bush's face after learning that he was already the president, deciding that I
was in no position to change things.

To my detriment, I never paid much attention to current events when I was growing up, least of all to politics.  I didn't understand a lick of Operations Desert Storm or Desert Shield.  I didn't know the difference between Watergate and Whitewater.  (The fact that the latter was often referred to as "Whitewatergate" didn't help.  Seriously, for the children, we need to quit it with the "-gate" suffix.)  All I knew about the Monica Lewinsky scandal was that it was sexual in nature, and therefore not
something I should know the details of.  (I did wonder, though, what exactly a cigar or a blue dress had to do with anything.)

But I remember the 2000 election.  That must have been when I really started paying attention.  I remember helping my mom vote as usual--she, my brothers, and I all crammed into one of those massive verdigris-colored voting machines--but with a purpose other than just to help flip switches and point out which politicians had the silliest names.  I remember staying up to watch the election results that night.  I remember the confusion of the following morning.

Which means that the bulk of my world-aware life--and certainly the entirety of my "adult" life--to this point has belonged to the era of George W. Bush.  I don't really remember what life was like before what has come to be known by many as the Worst Presidency.  And I don't know yet what life will be like after it.

Optimistic as I'd like to be, the uncertainty of the road ahead is unnerving.  Starting tomorrow, things will be different.  I just hope they're different enough to repair the damage done.

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