Liz Marsh

Happy Election Day, America!

Election night parties have been one of my favorite things ever since I was a small child. I distinctly remember everyone milling around a ballroom or restaurant, periodically cheering or booing as the new precinct numbers began to roll in. My parents would often drag us along to canvas neighborhoods or attend rallies, so these election night parties felt like our reward, the culmination of so much hard work.

As we got older and my sister began to work in politics, the work expected of us during an election increased. I usually thought of my “volunteer” efforts on her campaigns as a second job. Through the phone banks, parades, sign waving, door-to-door canvassing and rallies, we met some of our best friends. By the time election day rolled around, and the subsequent victory or funeral party, we were ready to let loose.

The first time my sister’s candidate lost was upsetting. We drank a lot that night as she and our other campaign friends went over everything they could have done differently. One of the more seasoned campaign staffers advised them to go ahead and cry it out, and then get back to work. “Your first boyfriend just broke up with you,” she told them, “it might not feel like it right now, but you will find another boyfriend soon, so get back out there.”

On the other hand, 2008 was a victory party that will never be matched. I was on the road when they called the election for Barack Obama. People started honking and cheering — all the way down Colfax felt like a party. The air was electric with pure joy at the moment in history we were lucky enough to be a part of.

I thought that feeling would last forever: the feeling of accomplishment, progress, safety, confidence in the system, fairness and goodness.

It was not to be.

What strikes me most about Nov. 8 last year, is not that my candidate lost. It was that no one seemed happy. Not the man who won the presidency, not the people in his party, not his supporters. It was quiet downtown. There was no party in the street. There was no joy in his victory.

As we approach the anniversary of that day, it’s important to remember that there is still work to do, there is still fairness and goodness to fight for. All is not lost.

The normal election cycle is not nearly as sexy as it is in presidential years. We are all weary, running on political fumes at this point. But now is not the time to take a break.

In 2015, there were 920 women who expressed interest in running for public office according to Emily’s List. In the last year since the Racist-Rapist-in-Chief was elected, that number has grown to over 16,000.

That is reason enough to celebrate in the street. That is reason enough to have hope.

On this election day, remember that the ballot is our best weapon. Our tears are dry, and it’s time for us to get back out there.

Let’s give ourselves a reason to party.

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