okay, one last time. promise.

If you’re fed up with me using my blog to promote the 2018 Mid-term elections, rest assured… this is the last time.

Today is Election Day and if you haven’t voted yet – shame on you.  Honestly, that’s not meant as a joke either civic negligence isn’t cute.  Your vote matters, not just for yourself but for everyone around you.  I’m going to sleep early tonight with an alarm set for even earlier tomorrow morning to watch the results come in on boring as C-SPAN unless I can find a way to watch something else.  Yay, time zones.

But. Just one last thing I’d thought I’d say before this election.  America, I believe in you.  I believe you because you’ve seen this before and you’ve seen worse.  And, while it might knock you down a few times you’ll get back up.

America, I know you will.

While I was thinking about how to write this post I stumbled across this:

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This is the Columbus and its register. It was built in 1924 by Schichau Shipyard in Danzig, Germany.  It weighed 32,581 gross tons.  Measured 775 (bp) feet long and 83 feet wide.  Featured steam turbine engines with twin screw. Service speed was 23 knots. It held 1,725 passengers (479 first class, 644 second class, 602 third class) and on January 1, 1926 it arrived to Ellis Island.

Herman Meiwes, my great-grandfather, was the 21st passenger on the Columbus.  He was 24 years old.  From New York, he traveled to Chicago were he met my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Thumann.

In 1929, Elizabeth had traveled from her home in Germany to the United States of America.  She left behind her family, her friends, and the memories of her fiancée who had been killed during WWI.  Everything she owned was placed in a single wooden trunk.  In her bag was a letter from a man in Nebraska who was seeking a German wife. Like Herman, Elizabeth was also seeking a new life for herself – one away from the dangers rising in her home country.

As it turns out, the man in Nebraska had already found a wife by the time Elizabeth arrived in New York.  She moved to Chicago and worked as a nurse and housemaid.  An honest job for a clever, independent woman with limited English.  That was where Elizabeth met Herman.  The two married and moved to Kansas where they had two daughters – Annie and Sue.

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My Great-Grandparents, Great-Aunt, and Grandmother.  1946.

In 1952, Sue married Clete.  In 1958, my grandparents had their first son, Mark, in England while they were stationed there with the US Air Force .  Back in Kansas, in 1961, their second son was born, Scott – my dad.

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My Grandparents on their wedding day.  1952.

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My mom, me, my dad, my sister, and my grandmother. 2014. (Side note: if you want to see me in the future look no further than this picture).

My great-grandparents arrived in the United States with nothing to their names but hope of a better future than the one unfolding in Germany… and through the kindness of the Americans they met along the way and their own hard work – I am here able to write this now.

And, that’s the truth.

I think about my family a lot this time of year this close to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As their great-granddaughter, I hope to uphold the faith they had.  The faith that America would be the place to welcome them with open arms and do its best to give them the future they deserve.  The place where through hard work, they could make something.  The hope that America will continue to welcome each and every one of us with open arms and do its best to give us all the futures we deserve.  The hope that if we continue to stretch just that bit further with love and support for those around us – we can all make America the place Herman Meiwes first saw from the deck of the Columbus.

So, that’s my last election post.

I’ll see you all on the other side.

 

For Tomorrow.

‘If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.’ – Juan Ramón Jiménez

I found this quote while reading Fahrenheit 451 a few years ago.  I wrote it ironically the other way on a ruled index card and taped it to my desk so that I would see it everytime I sat down to study. (Mom and Dad you can check it should still be there).

Today is… well, today Donald Trump become the President of the United States of America.  A country of 300 million people spanning 9.834 million km².  This inauguration day was an all too heavy reminder of what could have been.  On November 8, I had high hopes I would witness Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first female president of the United States.  By November 9, after staying up for nearly 24 consecutive hours, having two panic attacks, and still making it to my 9 am… I was unsure of my future.  I could not understand how a man as repugnant as the man now waving to the world across newspapers, television screens, and computer monitors was going to become one of the most powerful, influential people on the planet.  How he had won despite claims of sexual assault, racial discrimination, and business fraud.   I still do not have an answer to this question… maybe I would if I was getting a degree from his fraudulent university and not one from one of the top 20 world universities.

But – that was November.  It is January.  2017.  I have grieved, I have attempted to understand… and now like many others I have to take my sorrows, my anger, my knowledge and use it to create positive action.  We can sit idly by as those loud, boisterous, braindead microphones continue to shout, or we can speak, educate ourselves, and educate others.  We need to keep speaking – even if our voices shake.

But – we must remained poised and composed.  We cannot fight fire with fire.  It is easy to become angry, to retaliate with more hate.  This only weakens our stance and gives those who oppose us grounds to dismiss us as yet another angry mob.

What we can do and what I am trying to do is to put in all the work I can today to make the future brighter tomorrow.  I am here in Edinburgh to get the best possible education that I can.  I know though an education I will acquire the skills I need to succeed and then in turn use those skills to help others succeed as well.  I am here in Edinburgh to meet people and embrace the globalized world we live in.  Through discussion and tolerance we can learn from each other – and see that we all truly are not as different as some people want us to believe.

I remember Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘Do one thing each day that scares you’ and rephrase is a bit, ‘Do one thing each day that scares what Trump represents.’  Go out and get an education.  Go out and speak.  Go out and march.  Go out and love.  Go out and do not be afraid.

Through love and tolerance and the desire to reach out and connect is how I know we will get through this.  It will be hard.  My eyes are not dry as I write this.  I am scared of what the future holds.  I know the United States is not the greatest country in the world, no country can boast that, as no country is without faults and it is a bit egotistical to think of one as ‘the best’ while ignoring very apparent flaws.  However, I do believe the United States has a greater responsibility than most.  With great power, comes great responsibility (yes, I just quoted Spiderman, leave me alone).  My greatest fear is that responsibility will become trivial.

But – amongst the fear and the uncertainty I know if we come together, if we ‘never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it’, and if Princess Leia did not teach me anything else – we must hold onto hope.

Thank you and now I am off to escape to the mountains for the weekend.