I was barely 21 years old.
A version of this piece was featured on Medium's Politics vertical. Check it out here.
This photo pops up in my Facebook memories each Fourth of July. The scene is central Florida’s Clearwater Beach on Independence Day 2008. I had moved to the Tampa area just a few days prior for my first job in politics: Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency.
I was barely 21 years old.
Editor’s note: I’ve decided I’m going to blog each day for the next… I dunno… however long my spell of unemployment lasts.
Folks reading this blog will be party to a lot of self-reflection.
We must remind ourselves what’s possible. What is within our power.
I recently had the privilege to help elect a 32-year-old black woman to the U.S. House of Representatives. She will be the youngest black woman ever to serve in Congress.
Ten years previous, Nov. 4, 2008, I played a small role in helping elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
I share this with a humble pride. To remind you what’s possible.
There is reason to despair. As I write, my home state continues to burn. Twelve families in our beautiful Ventura County are mourning the murders of their loved ones.
This piece was cross-posted from Girlboss.com. My first freelance endeavor... an essay on failure.
I’m 30 years old and I live in my childhood bedroom. This is not how I envisioned my thirties would begin.
When I was 21, I was ambitious and successful. My first full-time job was as a researcher for then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency. I moved through a series of enviable Washington jobs during my twenties, the likes of which I had dreamed of ever since I declared my political science major.
I worked to pass the Affordable Care Act in the US House of Representatives and served as a presidential appointee to the US Environmental Agency (EPA). I was successful in my career of choice and I was on an upward trajectory. The only problem was that I didn’t actually like the work.
“The world, the world’s dying, sweetheart, all around you. Everything that was predicted, it’s here, it’s upon us, every horror that was anticipated when money becomes truth, and all anyone knows how to want anymore is inhuman lies we’ve told ourselves, money’s the air and the weather and water and the only knowable, lovable thing; and the world’s riches have been stolen wholesale and hoarded irretrievably away, so that people die in miserable deprivation and no one fights back because no one knows how, because no one, no one is awake now to see how in this very moment the world is dying!"
-- Tony Kushner, “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures”
No one fights back because no one knows how.
I read this article in The New York Times today. It summarizes how the Earth is essentially drowning in plastic. One selection:
“From the 1950s to today, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, with around half of it made since 2004.”