I graduated from high school and began college in 2001. Exactly one week after I began school, 9/11 happened. These events completely and utterly shaped my entire school career and my adult life. I vividly recall debating the (de)merits of the Iraq War during the build-up to the War. I remember when people who did not want to invade Iraq were called traitors, treasonous, and terrorist supporters. I remember the first evidence of widespread torture, and being totally shocked by the fact that there was a debate over the morality of torture. I remember seeing the signs in the libraries assuring us that the "FBI Has Not Been Here" in the wake of the Patriot Act. I have simultaneously been horrified and heartened, disgusted and encouraged, disappointed and proud by this country, her citizens and her leaders.

I want to be optimistic again. I know that Obama wants us to be optimistic, but like a domestic abuse victim, I'm scared. I'm convinced we're going to be crushed in new and horrible ways. I have been trained over the past eight years to regard the highest office in the land, the office of Washington, and Jefferson, and Lincoln, and Kennedy with a deep sense of suspicion and fear. I think that will be Bush's legacy. But I'm relieved by the fact that there have been bad, even horrible, presidents in the past, and America survived and continued to flourish.

So, even though I'm scared, I guess I can be a little optimistic, too.
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