Hello Again

Please listen to the provided Neil Diamond while reading.  It’s the theme song of this post.

The funny thing about this blog is that when I’m not posting, it feels like I’ve been cut off from an old friend who I’m used to chatting with regularly.  And all that’s complicated in my life, or hard, or sad, or unbelievably happy, seems to build up inside of me until I’m running around campus holding my chest as if it’ll burst open if I don’t.

What happened to make me stop calling and texting you were the MCSA (student government) elections.  I’m Election Commissioner this year, which didn’t seem like a very complicated job at the onset, but which escalated until I was spending all day every day policing Facebook and Twitter, planning debates, editing videos, sending reassuring emails to the student body, dealing with illegal spray painting incidents (still can’t believe that happened), and near the end, checking the online polls every ten minutes to see who was ahead.  The worst part was that MCSA doesn’t have detailed rules outlining the powers of the Commissioner, so when “disciplinary” situations came up, I had little guidance, and mostly had to wing it.  As is natural when a leader is “winging it,” there were quite a few shouts of “unfair!” and “dictator!”  It got old really quickly.

The elections ended last night at 11:59, and by 2:00 a.m. this morning, I had sent out emails to all the winners and losers.

The high point was that I got to call the winning Presidential/Vice Presidential team to tell them that they had won.  Hazen, who was running for president, is a dear friend of mine, and asked me beforehand to call her with news, whether bad or good.  When I told her last night that she was the 2013-2014 MCSA President, she didn’t believe me at first.  And then she screamed with excitement, and I could hear her running mate, Andrew, screaming in the background.  It was the best call I’ve ever made.

And how can you be bitter about a job that ended like that?

Besides elections, I’ve been spiraling toward my last month of college.  Lots of paper writing (I have two big ones to finish this weekend), graduation planning (bought my cap and gown and two dresses (one for the awards banquet and one for commencement)), and nostalgia.

You know, as sad as it’ll be to leave this dear place, I’ve been slowly realizing that I’m ready.  I’ve taken in Morris completely, I’ve had wonderful experiences and made wonderful friends and learned how to be a grown-up, analytical thinker.  But there’s not much more for me here, now, and that means it’s time to move on to the next big thing.

What is “the next big thing,” you ask?  I have no idea.  Does anyone want to offer me a job?

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Geese

The geese are coming back.  I’ve been hearing them for the last few nights, and the first time I did, I actually stopped what I was doing and listened, trying to figure out what the noise was.  They’re much the same as they were last fall: same v flight formation; same grey-bodies-black-heads; the leader still opens her mouth against the high altitude rush and quacks the same harsh quack; and the rest of the gaggle, eager to chime in, answer her with equal harshness.  It reminds me of field trips, when my kindergarten teacher would ask my class (jokingly, I suspect), if we were all present.  “I’m here!”  We’d shout from our respective bus seats, loudly and unhelpfully.

Truthfully, even as I type, I’m not sure what the geese have to do with the rest of this post.  I suspect, however, that I’ll work them in somehow.

It’s been a hard week.  Actually, one of the hardest weeks of the entire school year.  And surprisingly, not because of papers or exams or presentations.  But because of student government.  I’m going to try to say this vaguely, so bear with me: I’m currently Election Commissioner for the spring student government (MCSA) elections.  What that means is that I organize “get out the vote” events, manage electronic voting, and make sure that all candidates are following the guidelines for legal campaigning.  It sounds pretty straightforward, and usually it is, but this week there were two major incidents that I had to deal with, and both became heated and ugly and personal.

One of the incidents, particularly, led to me taking a rather unpopular stance based on what I felt was fair.  That garnered a few phone calls, a few Facebook messages, and a lot of emails which involved calling me power-hungry and MCSA a “diseased organization.”  And for the first time in my entire life, I had to wake up and go to campus feeling like the entire student body hated my guts.

It all worked out in the end, thankfully.

But I can’t help feeling that this week has been a trial.  I’m not sure if I passed or failed.  I’m just glad it’s over.

As for the geese, well, perhaps they were chased out of the tropics by Spring Breakers.  Perhaps they ran out of Noxema and decided to retreat from the sun for a while.  Perhaps they’re heralds of the Spring, bringing her to Morris just when we were starting to think she would never come.

Perhaps, like other animals, they’re merely following their instincts.  Listening to that tiny twinge near their left ankles that tells them when it’s time to move on.  Perhaps they’re simply doing what they have to do, regardless of personal (animal?) desires.

There!  I told you I would do it.

Tonight, I am Forever Proud of my Country

Yesterday, this happened on campus:

This happened on Facebook:

Seventeen-year-old that I’m Facebook friends with for some unknown reason: I hope you like your sister cus in about 4 years you will be able to marry her, because if it’s true love then who should be able to stop it… Americas logic.

Holly: This post makes me sick. You’re entitled to your opinion and your vote, of course, but the comparison you’re making is a terrible one. Same sex marriage has no connection with incestuous marriage.  They are NOT the same and it is NOT accurate to claim that allowing one will lead to allowing another. Maybe this is your idea of a joke, but even if that’s what it is, it’s these kinds of jokes that lead to ignorance and hatred.

I know, I know; I shouldn’t have let my anger get the best of me.  I should have been mature and realized that it’s the Internet, and that people say stupid things, and that it’s best not to get into an argument when you’re not face-to-face with someone.  But holy cow that kid made me mad.  And I couldn’t let it slide, not when he was so very out of line.  The conversation continued for several more posts, with him atrociously insulting LGBTQ, and me trying desperately (and sometimes failing) to keep my replies civil.

But everything was all right in the end, because then this happened:

(Obama won)

And this:

(The Voter ID Amendment failed)

And this:

(The MN Marriage Amendment failed)

I have never been prouder to be a Minnesotan, and to be an American.

Election Eve

Four years and four months ago, I arrived in Rome, Italy with my Girl Scout troop.  I was seventeen years old, had never been out of the country before, and was suddenly being led from terminal to terminal by my troop leaders, flanked by my equally bewildered friends.  What stands out in the blur of sensible rolling suitcases and duty-free shops is a certain train station we spent an hour in, waiting for our hotel bus to arrive.  We leaned against the grimy tile, too tired to gush or take pictures.  Suddenly, a passerby, hearing our accents, flung both arms into the air:  “Barack Obama!  Barack Obama!”  he shouted, his Italian accent thick, his voice jubilant and echoing.

Four years and one day ago, I was a senior in high school.  I was old enough to vote by two months, and did so early in the morning, just after the polls opened.  Although my small town was (and is) primarily conservative, I wore my Obama t-shirt to school, and tried to ignore the raised eyebrows aimed at me throughout the day.  I watched the election on TV that night, watched the blue spread across the country.  And then I wrote the following blog post:

HOPE is a Four Letter Word

A quote I heard on the news right after Obama was announced as the winner, “Tonight I am forever proud of my country.” That’s how I feel. I’m just very proud to be an American (cue in patriotic theme music).

These results are especially cool because I voted. For Obama. About three and a half hours ago. I remember back in fifth grade when I went to this tiny private school, my friend Mara figured out that for the 2008 election I would be the only one in the class old enough to vote. I remember feeling really special, but not really understanding what it meant to vote. It’s just a very strange feeling to have an event predicted when you were eleven actually coming to pass.

Already on facebook the bashings have started. I’m not really surprised, but I just think it’s so sad. You know, if McCain had won, I would have been disappointed, but I wouldn’t have sat there and pouted about it and insulted him. I (hopefully) would have learned to respect him as the leader of my country and I would have prayed that he bring about the change America desperately needs.

Anyway, I guess that there are always Debbie Downers, and some of them will probably come around, or at least keep their negative crap to themselves. We can only hope.

Not very well-written, but the sentiment is one I hope will repeat in my post tomorrow: I want to be proud of my country and my state.  I want to enter the workforce a committed, protected citizen.  I want to run through train stations yelling, “Barack Obama!  Barack Obama!”   I want my LGBTQ friends to be shown acceptance and justice, not hatred and discrimination.  I want Voter I.D., which will spend excessive amounts of money battling a ‘problem’ that doesn’t actually exist, to be off the docket forever.

I also wouldn’t mind going back to Italy.