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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

The Price You Pay

“I’m going to wear this until the Texas election is called - - even if there’s a recount and it takes weeks. It will get smelly. What do you think of that?” I asked as I crawled into bed last night wearing my Beto O’Rourke t-shirt. I wore it all day Sunday and to bed each night since then.

“Well. That’s the price you have to pay for democracy…” Andrea replied, bravely considering my armpits ripening.

“Exactly!” I enthused, secretly hoping it didn’t come to that for everyone’s sake.

If O’Rourke loses, I don’t think we can really call it a loss because he will have come very close. O’Rourke raised $31 million from small donors – which is to say people like Andrea and me. He ran a clean campaign, much to the disappointment of the undercover right-wing operative who had hoped to discover the contrary. Why does a Massachusetts voter like me care so deeply about Beto O’Rourke? Because he’s a decent human being. The Texas poll numbers give me hope that other people want to restore kindness and civility in the country. The fact that O’Rourke had volunteers and contributors across the U.S. tells me that people want a leader who behaves the way O’Rourke does. Whatever the outcome for the Texas senate race, I hope we have O’Rourke on the ballot in the future. Why wouldn’t they? That’s what I don’t understand. Don’t sit in a pew on Sunday and vote hate on a Tuesday. Here in Massachusetts, we were faced with ballot question 3, a “no” vote would repeal a 2016 law that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of gender identity. The fact that this is on the ballot infuriates me - - it means that over 60 thousand people signed a petition.

The current state of things has been depressing and I hope that changes - - if even just a little tonight. Earlier this week, I was giving myself a little pep talk and caught myself saying, “Well. Anne Frank survived the Nazi’s.” Only she didn’t, she was captured by the Nazi’s and died in a concentration camp – most likely of typhus. But let’s be serious, she survived in a goddamn attic for 2 years so yes, the Nazi’s did her in. What I really meant was that she didn’t give up hope. She and her family didn’t end it all - - THEY HID IN AN ATTIC. They had hope and continued to believe in the goodness of people in spite of the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I still have PTSD after the 2016 presidential election. Andrea went to bed medicated and I had the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe open on my screen and kept refreshing each of them in disbelief. This morning, Andrea surveyed any supply of PRN anti-anxiety meds in our possession. I’m considering hemlock for the next presidential election but then I remember Anne Frank.

Anyway. We did what we could. Donated money. I wore my snappy socks today. And whatever happens, let’s choose kindness and hope. The kind Anne Frank possessed and the kind you hear about if you go to church on Sunday’s.

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