or The end of the world as we know it.
Dear Mr. President,
Tonight the lights went out for two blocks. Our street, usually basking in the permanent glow of Seattle's urban heart, was plunged into unnatural darkness. My roommates lit candles and curled up under blankets in the central part of our apartment. For a moment we were reminded of how helpless we can be without the devices we've come to rely on.
Yes, I'm stalling, hoping to find a way to make this a more hopeful letter. I'd like to say that we learned an important lesson about unplugging, slowing down, connecting with the people we love or finding ways to be resourceful. We didn't. Desperate to follow election results and finish my last midterm, I fled to the familiar safety of light, heat and free WiFi. My roommates toughed out a half-hour of darkness and now we're all back to blogging, movie-watching and the more effective (if less-flattering) overhead lights.
We've lost the House. At home, Washington state residents have voted overwhelmingly to defeat an income tax measure that would have helped education and health programs. Rick Larsen and Patty Murray are still fighting close races that may not be called before the night's end. Rand Paul is in. Russ Feingold is out. California's proposition 19 is defeated. Across the country, small pockets of hope (Christine O'Donnell and Meg Whitman will not win their races) fail to dispel the gloom and powerlessness afflicting those of us who kept the faith despite every indication that we'd face a night like this one.
I know it isn't the end of the world; disappointment tends to leave me with more a flair for the dramatic than is perhaps healthy. But, as I struggle to return my attention to the 7th century nomads of the turkic empires, I'm going to allow myself this night to mourn our losses, to despair at the ignorance, short-sightedness and naked, pointless rage that led to these results. Tomorrow it will all be back in perspective and I will be hopeful and optimistic again. Tomorrow I will start lighting candles and hope that the factionalized democrats come back together, if only for the sake of warmth. Tomorrow I will worry about 2012.