Ever since the last election, I have sealed myself off in a news free bubble. The outright corruption, misogynistic arrogance, and open racism of the current Administration makes keeping up with the news bad for my mental health. Hence the bubble.
Yesterday, however, I ventured out of it in order to meet Tedra Cobb. She is running for Congress against the despicable Trumpette, Elise Stefanik; an uphill battle in a district that is very Republican.
The drive to the library in Glens Falls, through towns such as Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, is depressing. The North Country is stunningly beautiful, and yet poverty and all its struggles are very much in evidence in these old towns, and in pockets everywhere. The economic and social needs of NY-21 are many, clearly.
By the time we arrived, the room set aside for the town hall was standing room only, but room was made and a large crowd of people gathered outside the open door when there was no more room to stand. It was an informed and respectful crowd, and she was informed and respectful candidate.
I was most moved by the central concern in the room: the crushing cost of health care for the elderly, and how so many of the people in the audience were coping with caring for partners with dementia and Alzheimer’s at great financial and emotional cost. There was a quiet desperation to their carefully worded questions, and one could sense a struggle between their need to maintain their dignity even as they articulated their concerns. There was compassion in response – from others in the room and from Tedra herself – which these questioners seemed to take comfort in. At the close of the meeting, this sense of comfort lingered in the room as people talked, shared notes, commiserated, before getting into their cars and soldiering on.
I’m glad I stepped out of my bubble to attend. It felt good to be reminded about the essence of democracy: concerned and informed citizens, organizing on the behalf of the community and for the community. It was a relief, actually, to be a part of activism once again.