Post-Bush activism

The high that many Americans felt last Tuesday has barely had time to wear off. Regular people are still wandering around like crazies with patriotic hats, smiling wildly and holding bottles of sparkling wine out to strangers. Everything appears so alien, so âÄî positive. I, on the other hand, had a hard time maintaining the buzz through a full 24 hours. I was supposed to put a meeting together on Wednesday afternoon for my wonderful group of student activists, Democracy Matters. However, I woke up late on Wednesday, having taken part in some celebration myself, to realize that I didnâÄôt have a plan. We had been focusing so hard on preparing for the election, mounting a non-partisan campaign to make sure that every student who went to the polls knew where to go and what to do when they arrived. We printed thousands of pieces of literature. We even entertained crowds with elephant and donkey marionettes the week before this Nov. 4 went down in history. During that whole time, I had given very little thought as to what I would do at the meeting the day after. So, naturally, I canceled the meeting and went back to sleep. Some minutes later, however, I began thinking about my reaction and was a bit troubled when I put it into a larger context. For the last six years or so, a large portion of my life has been compelled by protest. Not only the marching with signs and getting tear-gassed kind of way âÄî although IâÄôve been there too âÄî but a general struggle against something I felt was horribly wrong through organization and mobilization of people and skills. This was colored with the immense urgency that comes from a tight deadline or a great, perceived injustice. Considering this, I then sat up and thought, âÄúOooohhh, no. Now what?âÄù Even though I know very well that there is still a long road ahead and that a party change in the White House may not actually help accomplish anything weâÄôve been working for, I could physically feel that the old sense of urgency was missing. I also had a feeling that this might be common among activists âÄîeven those who, like me, do not operate wholly in the partisan sphere. Even more so, I have a feeling that this sense of impending doom was what nudged many an activist to become one in the first place. I sincerely hope that no one takes Tuesday as an excuse to quit fighting and handily hang a âÄúwe have wonâÄù sign on the back of their recliner or to not stand up at all. Now is the time when we should be working hardest. Now we have to realize that weâÄôve always been fighting for something and wonâÄôt be done until it has been accomplished. The new administration is not going to do our work for us. Someone has offered a crack in the door through which we can speak, now let us push it open and yell at the top of our lungs about poverty and injustice and the fact that money controls our political system and that the world around us is suffocating. If weâÄôre too busy congratulating ourselves now, we allow them to neatly shut the door and walk to the other side of the building. Sarah Emmel University student