Yesterday felt like a microcosm of the emotional ups and downs of the last year. In the morning, San Francisco was rocked by the sudden death of the city's beloved mayor, Ed Lee, a champion of human rights and affordable housing and the first Asian American to hold that office. In the evening, the country was stunned by the election of Doug Jones to the Alabama Senate, the first Democrat in a quarter century.
Despite being cynical about the Senate race, I couldn't help compulsively refreshing the results on my phone as they came in, triggering PTSD-like flashbacks to November 2016. This time, however, the little blue “chance of winning” arrow tipped further and further left, until at 95% the AP finally called the election for Jones. The news zipped through the Castro Theater, where I was at the time, and in a matter of moments the whole audience erupted in cheers and applause. I was buoyed by the victory and suddenly felt more optimistic about our country than I had in 14 months.
Lighthearted, I headed home in a daze of relief, only to step off the bus and watch as a full-page memorial to Ed Lee flashed across the screen at the bus stop. Suddenly, back down to earth. And that’s how I’ve felt all of 2017: bandied about like a rag doll. At this time last year, I was filled with dread, knowing that things would get so much worse before (if ever) they got better. Now, while I look ahead to 2018 with trepidation, at least a fragment of hope has been restored. Thank you, black voters of Alabama.
Support your local swing districts, in any and every way you can. We need 2018 to be a better year. I think we can manage that, at least. #RIPedlee