Greetings from Atlanta...
…southern home of urban sprawl, long commutes, and much Christmas shopping. The drive out here was a bit shorter than I thought it would be, which was a pleasant surprise. I'd have come out here more often in the past if I'd have known that it wasn't so terrible of a drive.
Right now we're all curled up in Sean's room—Jess, Heather, Kat, and Sean are all watching A Bug's Life, which I've seen before. The speakers are thundering by my left ear, so I don't feel like I'm missing much of anything at this point by not watching. I've been itching to sit down and write for a few days, but the words just really haven't been coming to me.
There have been so many things for me to talk about this week, and I just really haven't known where to start. I've watched the presidential non-elections with the the greatest of fascination and horror, but I've found it difficult to distill my observations down into just a few paragraphs that are worthy of posting here.
I think a lot of my muddled thoughts come from having studied American history before—the elections of 1924 and 1876 are ones that keep coming to my mind. I keep thinking of Samuel Tilden and how he never became president despite winning the popular vote in 1876—it amazes me that no one is even talking about that election, even though it's so incredibly pertinent to what is going on now.
When I was studying Jacksonian American history during me sophomore year, I remember being fascinated by the reaction of people to the strange election that went on that year. I remember wondering what it must have been like to live during that time, to watch events like that going on, and to realize that you were living in the middle of a piece of history that people would talk about for ages and ages. I wondered what it would be like if something momentous like that happened in my lifetime.
Now I know. We were celebrating Kat's 21st birthday with drinks and corn chowder. I was sitting on my couch eating brownies with friends, shaking my head over and over and saying, "I can't believe this is happening. I really can't believe this is happening." We watched as the returns came in, state by state, and just marveled at it all. I stayed up, unable to look away from the TV set, until half past midnight. It was hard to believe that the states were splitting so evenly.
It was, all in all, like any other day—except that they were events that we are going to remember for a lot longer than the events of a typical day. As students of history and people living their lives, we forget that history is not single moments of shocking difference from what has come before, but events that pile upon events that pile upon earlier events.
American schools have it all wrong. We teach history as a succession of inevitable events, and completely ignore the personalities that shaped those events. Events don't just appear, pre-made, in history books—they unfold, day by day. It's just that on some days, the changes are more evident than others.
In other news, Sean is sending me back home with plenty of impatiens seeds for the back yard. Eventually we shall have flowers. I've just got to pick his brain to see what he's got in mind.
Time to go—time for dinner, and time to get dressed for the Cowboy Mouth concert.