Sunday Morning ~ Fate
Kali konse kouluka, kamatera. ~ All that flies, comes down.
~ Chewa proverb
November 1, 2020
On a trip to South Africa in December of 2016 I was still reeling from our election results. I found myself hoping the electoral college would prevent the inevitable inauguration, knowing that would take a miracle. It was a loop that went round and round in my brain. The other loop was our country going from technicolor to black and white the day the fraud took office. It seemed all the more poignant traveling in South Africa. We drove through a good part of that immense, spectacular country and got immersed in both it’s history and it’s beauty. We visited the museum at Nelson Mandela’s capture site and I stood for a long time in front of a photograph of people voting in the first free election after apartheid. I had a hard time tearing myself away from that image. I thought about our own recent election and the Americans who chose to sit that one out. I wondered how they may have changed the course of our history. The lines in the photograph before me were more than a mile long, snaking around and around dirt paths. People waited twelve hours in some places to cast their vote for the first time. Violence was predicted. People worried there would be no peaceful transfer of power. But what actually transpired that day in 1994 was a mostly jubilant celebration of democracy for the first time in that nation’s history. The election was on April 27 and Nelson Mandela was sworn into office two weeks later on May 10th. In 2016 I was glad we had a longer transition period. Today, I’m wishing it was two weeks. I walked away from that photograph toward the exhibits documenting the struggle to end apartheid and the fierce conviction that sustained the fight to gain representation. I felt sick that so many of us take voting for granted. I didn’t fully realize then how difficult we make it for people.
I am anxious, excited, terrified, and hopeful. The 2018 caravan never arrived and hopefully the violence won’t either. I am joyful at seeing the numbers of people waiting in line here to cast their vote. I’m both aghast and not surprised at the repeated attempts to thwart them. It’s like watching a sloppy chess game with very high stakes.
We raised our kids without a television and spent a lot of time reading aloud to them. Once a year we’d read the entire Lord of the Rings series and it became part of our family vernacular. When the movie came out, my teenage son and I went to see it. In the first scene with the Black Riders I had my eyes closed and buried my head into his shoulder. His teenage self gave a little shrug to get his ridiculous mother a decent public distance from him and said, “Mum, you know what happens! What’s the matter with you?” This is all to say, I get anxious about the outcome when I know what’s going to happen. I still get tense when the flying monkeys come out in the Wizard of Oz. I’m nervous when I see instant replays during football games. So the next three days are just ridiculous. My cautious optimism ebbs and flows. I hate being a chump and I cover my ears when I hear someone say, “Yes, that’s what we thought in 2016.” I was overconfident then, too.
I hope the pendulum is swinging back and we’ll be celebrating soon. I’ve been in a frenzy organizing things as a way to work off nervous energy. I’ve made a quilt and sauerkraut. I’m afraid to stop moving. I go through my address book looking for friends to call in swing states. I’m holding onto my faith in gravity and the human spirit, and am ready to strap my ankles to tackle whatever comes next.
Stay safe my friends.
Love to all,