Thursday, November 06, 2008

Interesting time to be living in DC

I'm going to try to keep this non-partisan and relatively apolitical, because while we here at Fictionistas believe that it's important for our readers to become active participants in democracy, above all, we're a site that focuses on young adult fiction. Sure, we talk about other stuff, but we're not a political website. If you want that, there are plenty of other options out there for you.

Anyway, as you probably already know, I live in DC. Well, not actually *in* DC, but about 5 miles outside. So pretty darn close. The town I actually live is in basically filled with lawyers, lobbyists, pollsters, pundits, federal workers, defense contractors, Hill staffers, etc. Politics and the federal government is our livelihood.

So I have an interesting perspective on this election. Now we can debate ad nauseum whether this is the "real America" (answer: nope...we live in our own little Beltway Bubble).

But it does make for some interesting experiences. For example, I spent Tuesday night at a party at a fancy hotel where we learned about the outcome of the election before the news outlets had called it. (The Associated Press had called our governor, and he came on stage along with our 2 US Senators to announce the results, to thunderous applause.)

Here's a pic of me and a friend with US Senator (and multi-published novelist) Jim Webb (see, it DOES relate to writing!).

Had I not been at that event, there's a good chance I might have joined the throngs who were celebrating outside the White House. And one of my good friends got to hang out with the international press corps on the roof of the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House.

Anyway, the other night, before the election had been called, one of my friends wondered what we were going to have left to talk about, now that this race we'd been watching for 2 years (!) was over. But you know what? There will still be plenty to talk about...this is DC. We're obsessed with politics even during periods when the rest of the country isn't. It's what we do.

I missed that when I moved away from here for a few years. I didn't grow up in DC, but I moved here after college. Then I moved across the country to Arizona to attend law school. Sure, I had some friends there who were interested in politics, but it wasn't the same. We didn't just have random political discussions in bars on a nightly basis.

Now I know most people consider that a good thing. After all, politics is supposedly one of the things you're never supposed to bring up. And I admit that I like to avoid bad feelings and shouting and namecalling. But discussing politics and policy is fundamental to a strong democracy. It's a good thing. It's important.

So that's why I'm so glad I'm back here. Nothing gets me more excited than a good policy debate...particularly with someone who disagrees with me. But only when it stays on a level of discourse that's calm and rational. Because dissenting viewpoints are what makes us stronger.

These are trying times, and historic times. No matter who had won, the new President would be inheriting perhaps one of the most difficult presidencies ever.

So no matter what your viewpoints are, no matter how you feel about Tuesday's outcome, please stay calm. But don't stop being engaged. This is what makes America great.


  1. Good call. I hope people will still continue to be engaged and active in helping America pick itself back up and keep moving forward!!

  2. It's like the calls for the Dems to kick Joe Lieberman out of the Caucus. Doing so would essentially be punishing him for holding and expressing alternative viewpoints. But dissent and debate is good for America.

    The most successful Cabinets include members of the opposite party. Debate is healthy!

  3. Great post, Amanda! Thanks for showing us life in your part of the country...

    Here in California, there seemed to be only two important issues in this election (although we had tons of initiatives and political offices to vote on): the presidency, and Proposition 8 (which put a ban on gay marriage in our state constitution.)

    And whatever side of whatever issue people were on, it was inspiring to see people so excited about an election! When my grandmother was born, women couldn't even vote...and I consider it my privilege and duty to vote, and honor all those who (over the past 232+ years) fought to put power in the hands of the people...

    Cara (feeling patriotic today)

  4. Very thoughtful post. Healthy debate is good--differing opinions that challenge us either make our resolve stronger or open our minds to a different viewpoint. I bet January is going to be so exciting.