I really should be working on this paper submission that’s due next week, but yesterday’s election basically crushed my soul. And now the soulless automaton formerly known as my body is having trouble concentrating.
There was a shroud on Berkeley this morning. After a week of glorious weather, the sky was deeply overcast, and people walked desolately in ones and twos, hardly talking. I’ve never seen the campus like that before. As I walked back through campus at noon, the air raid siren went off, as it does as a test at noon on the first Wednesday of each month. This time, the siren — ear-piercing, and audible for miles around — seemed prophetic. But the sun peeked out, and people slowly brought out their cell phones and smiles and subdued laughter… until a torrential squall drenched the area in the afternoon, as a reminder that it’s not so easy to move on.
I don’t mean to be melodramatic; to feel a city mourn is a powerful thing.
I’m bitter, it’s true. I was really ready to just rant here (that is, before the social police take that liberty away from me), but I don’t have the heart for it anymore. Also I think I am too clouded by emotion to say anything sensical.
Here’s something else. Berkeley and California had a bunch of propositions up for vote. I tried to inform myself about them, and we even convened a small meeting to discuss the issues surrounding each. But, even with a wealth of information on each side, deciding how to vote was really hard. There would always be a key bit of information missing, or the law would be a little too vague, or the arguments would be confusing (“Vote no because this proposition doesn’t go far enough…”), or the issue itself was just too complex: “Proposition 42: Burn down thirty hospitals serving orphaned children with Down Syndrome to fund a new environmental measure to protect 43% of state parks and to provide affordable health care for 100,000 migrant soybean farmers” or something. Ahh, how to decide?? Seriously, I thought deciding the issues would be easy once the facts were there, but I was wrong. I ended up abstaining on several measures. I couldn’t tell if that constituted shirking my civic duty, or if it was the responsible thing to do considering I felt unqualified to make a good decision.