Gah! Losing an election is so disheartening, frustrating, disempowering, depressing. No matter how you phrase it, I know a lot of sad people this morning and I too have been catastrophizing since the results were announced last night. But having lived through several governments who I did not vote for (in fact, my party has only ever won a single election where I was eligible to vote) I am also fully aware that this is not the end of anything, just the beginning of another round of struggle. While walking to work this morning I was thinking about exactly this, and exactly what did *not* change last night besides the ruling government:
- I still live in an awesome neighbourhood with great, compassionate people surrounding me. One way in which that manifests is the return of birdsong to our community, which has followed the return of food gardening, boulevard gardens and natural features to our urban neighbourhood. Another manifestation is the return of salmon to Still Creek last year, which followed on the cleaning up and restoration of the waterway by community volunteers. Still another thing I love about my walk to work is the railway overpass at Raymur, a bridge that only exists because mothers in the community banded together in the eighties to fight for it. Point being, Liberals or NDP, we make positive change by our actions and there are reminders of that everywhere.
- Poor people are still destitute, young people still feel disenfranchised, and there are still not enough options for low-income housing in this province. Sadly, the NDP made few promises for change on any of these fronts ($20 per month added to a welfare cheque is an insult not a promise) so it’s not like that was going to change either way.
- If I want social and environmental justice, I must be willing to take to the streets. No government *gives* us rights and benefits. No government willingly gives up privilege. We are still a population who needs to learn our collective interest and our collective power.
- My community still includes love and music and art and parties and great friends and funny nights of drinking and community gardening fun and rad parents and weird kids and so much of the stuff that live is *actually* about. Losing at the polls while winning at life is a balance I can handle.
Perhaps I am somewhat of a Pollyanna – but I want to say – cheer up! It’s not that bad! At least we’ll have some fun at the barricades, right? And that despite the government I love my life and the fact that I have found such purpose in it; win or lose the election.