La Vie En Rose for 2008 November

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[Comments] (1) Can we?: Everyone is really excited about the election results, including me. Wheee!! We (my flatmates and I and a bunch of our fellow expats and interested parties) went to a venue in Angel where the American Ex-pat meet-up group was playing the election results. It was a fantastic time. I jumped up on stage and waved our "London for Obama" sign which got me in a little trouble but it was worth it. We played Obama bingo (although I don't think anyone actually got a row), yelled and screamed till we went hoarse, and stayed till Obama's acceptance speech. Hugs and tears and more hugs, then we got the first tube home. Yay.

That was last night. This morning. Well, afternoon really, I woke up to disappointing news about Prop 8. This is something I'm really having difficulty with because I just don't get it. I can understand why people might think that McCain would make a better president than Obama. I don't agree, but I can understand it. It's all that time and effort and energy put towards imposing your moral will on other people and denying other human beings basic rights... that's what I don't understand.

I think we should just get rid of marriage altogether. If two people want to be a couple in the eyes of the state they go down to city hall and register as such, and that's the same for everyone. Then churches can do whatever they like with marriages. The whole mixing up state and religion, imposing one version of morality on everyone, and putting civil rights up for a vote, it all makes me nervous, and sick. I know it's a matter of time before it changes. After all, 10% fewer voters went for this discrimination than seven years ago. But I really wanted to believe that Californians were better than this, that we were ready. As some of my friends pointed out, it seems that Californians care more about the rights of the animals we eat than about our human beings. Boo.

Anyway, I have some thoughts on the upcoming "change" but it will wait for tomorrow. I'm having a bath, then there's the Democrats Abroad celebration at the Texas Embassy. And maybe I'll write some words. It's November, after all.

Change: So... Thinking one things is going to change everything makes me nervous, not least because I've fallen into that trap myself, that of thinking: once x happens everything will be perfect. Not so. Thinking one person is going to change everything is just as dangerous, especially if that person happens to be a politician.

The most exciting thing about Obama, however, is not the man himself, necessarily, so much as what he had inspired: the grass roots movement, the interest in civics and democracy, a first for many people. What made me nervous was that people might think, once he was elected, okay, great job us, then go home and wait around for Change to happen. One person can't change the world, or America, even if that person is the most powerful person among us. If we want America to change, we have to do it ourselves. I read this in the letters to the editor section of the New Yorker the day before I left the US, and it really struck a cord with me:

The question is whether we can make the personal sacrifices necessary to change ourselves or whether we believe that change is only about what leadership we select... [We need to] realize that there is more to being good citizens than going to the polls. Jon Gilmore, Oct 27, 2008.

Then, after the election, was Friendman on the NY Times:

But a new politics of the common good can’t be only about government and markets. “It must also be about a new patriotism — about what it means to be a citizen,” said Sandel. “This is the deepest chord Obama’s campaign evoked. The biggest applause line in his stump speech was the one that said every American will have a chance to go to college provided he or she performs a period of national service — in the military, in the Peace Corps or in the community. Obama’s campaign tapped a dormant civic idealism, a hunger among Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves, a yearning to be citizens again.”

So, a couple days in, and the new administration-to-be already looks like it's shaping up to be something like what we hoped. I'm a little less nervous. Or, as Becca said, "it's an interesting time to be alive."

:

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
--Thomas Jefferson

[Comments] (3) 25% more free: I didn't get any writing done today or even my sunday chores, but still I feel so productive! Until today about 1/4 of my room, no joke, was taken up by a humongous wardrobe. It took up a whole wall! I really hated it from the first and I tried to pawn it off on Jenn, but she was having none of it. It really limited the options in my room and took up so much space that everything else was cramped, especially my desk, and I hardly had any room to sit at it and work which I'm sure at least partly explains why I have been so unproductive lately!

However the wardrobe came with the house and I didn't want to have to buy a new wardrobe or dresser if I got rid of it. Then I spied this little gem from Ikea, only £25! and I decided it would look great in my room. So this morning Seb and I set off for Ikea. We took two buses to get there and it took over an 90 minutes so that was no fun, but then the adventures began. It was a Sunday so it was pretty crazy, but even so we managed to get in and out with almost everything we intended to buy and a few things more. Then we came home and started the hard work, disassembling the 'monstrosity' as I started calling the wardrobe. When I say we I really mean Seb because he did all the hard work of disassembly and assembly and carting the heavy bits in between, to the basement, which is full of our landlord's junk storage and is now more like bursting. So he definitely gets the awesome flat mate award. I also put up new curtains which I bought *last* Ikea trip. My room already looks so much better! It's a shock to walk in and see open space as opposed to the large wall of a wardrobe.

It's not quite done though. I got a small pine dresser which I want to paint black before assembling, and I got lots of frames for pictures and prints, but we don't have a hammer or nails so they're not up yet. I also want to get a frame for at least one other poster. Also I don't have a dust ruffle yet, Ikea failed on having the sheets I need twice in a row so I'm going somewhere else. It's going to look so great! I will put up pictures when it's done. I'm so excited and happy. It's been forever since I've been anywhere and had an expectation of staying for longer than a year at most. It's so nice to nest!

I also got a pillow top mattress cover thingie so my bed is super comfy now. And I'm going to go use it.

Home alone: I had salmon and salad for dinner and now I remember why I never cooked when I lived by myself. There goes the whole evening, pretty much (except for one and a half hours spent at the gym). And maybe I eat even slower when I have to type to talk instead of just talk?

I really need to start getting to bed earlier. But Nimbus is in his prime, most broom-like, at these hours. Hard to sleep when there is a kitten charging through your room, over your bed and back out!


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