As cliché and trite as it sounds, my travels changed my life. The experience opened my mind and heart to things that I more or less cared moderately about before. I befriended many amazing people and had conversations that gave me an entirely new and international perspective - especially on the importance and role of politics in this world. I know that the word 'politics' carries many negative connotations, and it certainly has earned them - but I've come to see the realm of politics as a platform and a venue for change. I am sure this sounds like a familiar message, however this is an entirely personal discovery that I have made on my own; one that has been untangling in my mind over the past several months.
Perhaps it is not as shocking to some as it has been to myself, but my focus and attention has swung in such a direction that I never imagined. I no longer think about taking photographs constantly, or perfecting a pastry or what I am going to blog about next. Those things can be important - they were for a long time for me, and still are to a certain degree. And while those things do bring me happiness, what I've realized is that I want to do more. I've had an awakening! All of this was inspired by those relationships I developed, and realizing how small and intertwined our world is. I started to take a closer look at how politics - or, the choices that we make as a people and as the most powerful country in the world - affects not only us in the States, but the rest of the world, too. I suppose this is probably obvious to most of you, but it took those moments, those conversations, to convict me - and suddenly I felt so responsible to do something about it. I suppose writing this now is a very small additonal step in that direction.
Four years ago, I was just as excited as everybody else about the election. This year, many express that they aren't very optimistic any longer, and while I can understand that - I think it's very disappointing to hear. Maybe we didn't get the change that we were all dreaming of, but don't you think we were expecting too much without ample time? Look at all of the great things that Obama has done. Shouldn't we give him more credit? Shouldn't we recognize that he does have the passion and the desire to do what is right for this country, and that it's those who swore to block so many of his good initiatives and therefore have stood in the way of progress? I know that I sound idealistic - and perhaps I am, but I believe that in many cases it's those with ideals and a wild hope that can make the biggest difference. I don't know if I will ever be one of those people who makes a difference, but I believe our President is, (his books and the stories about his life are proof of his passion) and so, I am optimistic and excited - still. For those of you who are feeling discouraged and might be less inspired to vote this year, I fervently encourage you to think a little more about what is at stake. It's so important that everyone speak their voice.*
As November 6th grows nearer and the polls are showing a tighter race, my stomach has been in knots and Mitt Romney stress dreams have been invading my sleep (it's as scary as it sounds). I've been feeling an urgency to do all that I can to have an impact on this election - it's so important! So, in writing this not only do I wish to share my thoughts and where my heart is these days with you, but also with the hope that I might reach someone who might be thinking about not voting this time around - or who may be considering voting for, please excuse me, the wrong person - and evoke a conversation or stimulate a trail of thought that could change their mind.
If you care about women's rights, if you care about civil rights, if you care about education, if you care about those who have less than you do, if you care about the future and our environment - then you better get your bottoms out there and vote, vote, vote!
*I fill many hours of my days pouring over the facts and details of this stuff - so if anybody has questions, please do ask me. I would love to discuss!