Notes From My Knapsack 11-3-16
November the Ninth
The sun will rise.
Cloudy or clear, above the cumulus cover or directly to your east and a bit south, the heart of our solar system will heave into view on the morning horizon.
Nov. 6 we change our clocks, falling back as we do in the autumn, pretending to have some control over time, but really just adding to the chaos. No matter. Dawn will pull back into a temporary tie with disorientation, and darkness will leap forward into our afternoons, and it will only gain on us -- until Dec. 25th at any rate.
So November 9th will be a Wednesday with a morning we're still getting used to, no matter how early you went to bed, or how long you stayed up to watch the election returns. You know, state representative, county prosecutor, local developmental disabilities levies, the stuff that matters. It may not be on national cable news or even on the Columbus stations' crawl, but you can click to the Board of Elections website and keep track there directly, or follow the Newark Advocate's feed online and Twitter.
Plenty to be interested in, and many around us will be making new plans on Wednesday, win or lose. But most of us will . . . do what we usually do on Wednesday.
I'm not sure what I think about the much discussed "right track/wrong track" polling that we hear about, especially going into an election campaign. Does it measure the considered reaction of the electorate, of engaged citizens dispassionately assessing the state of the union and the progress of the economy, or is it more consumer research to inform those who've been working to stir us up and spur our anxieties that their machinations are bearing fruit?
How well do we know, en masse, what is a right track towards the light at the end of the tunnel, and when are we getting lulled into complacency, or agitated into insensibility, dashing into the path of an oncoming outcome?
I have plenty I'd want to change if I were Grand High Poohbah of all I survey, and I'd probably mess more up than I meant to by so doing. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Newton tells me, but socio-economically, I'm not sure Milton Friedman or Paul Krugman are able to accurately predict in which direction cultural engineering backfires until it does.
On November the Ninth, everything changes, and nothing is any different. We close the chapter of the election of 2016, and begin to write new pages of mutual self-governance in a republican democracy within a federal structure. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
We may or may not know come the dawning exactly who won which office, but beyond a shadow of a doubt we know this: we're still going to have to be better informed citizens, in our voting, our affirmations and condemnations, in our lobbying (yes, common everyday citizens can lobby our legislators, trust me: the problem is that too few of us do, so the pros take up all the space by default), in our ongoing encouragement and decrying of our elected officials in between elections.
The work of democracy continues. Put on your gloves, pull on your boots, and grab your shovel. It's November the Ninth, and we have work to do.
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him about your November the Ninth at email@example.com, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.