I am one bird. I am one voice. That is all. That is enough.
For many, the 2016 election brought frustration, fear, anger, and sadness. I too felt some of those things during a Democratic primary in which what was fair, right, and smart seemed disregarded. Watching the Democratic Party's insiders control the process tore at my sense of fair play and stabbed at my core values. However, by the end of the election, I felt much different because, for the first time, I took to heart the understanding that I am one voice.
During the summer, I stepped back from the election and concentrated on enjoying the things most important to me: nature, family, and home. Outside of the political whirlwind, I discovered peace in being a single voice. I realized that all I can do is do my best, be informed, and make sound decisions. I can't control others or let my life hinge on their decisions.
Because of my hard-won, new perspective, fall 2016 went much differently for me than any general election since I became a voter. After a few months of living with that perspective, I realized that half of October had passed without my becoming drained or overwhelmed by the general election. When the results came in, I was cool and calm in the knowledge that I had done my best.
Rather than dwelling on the negative, my mind gravitated toward what I thought had been the best parts of the election. At the top of that list, sat a bird. During a primary rally in Oregon, a female house finch landed on Bernie Sanders' podium in a powerful moment of hope and life. The bird later became known as Birdie Sanders. If you never had the chance to see Birdie in action, you can watch her below:
That bird, that podium, that moment: That is the image I choose to take from this election, and given my personal breakthrough over the summer, it's not really surprising that it came back to me in the end. With it, I will walk away from the 2016 campaign holding on to the two most powerful things I know: nature and my ideals. They give me my heart, my joy, my indomitable spirit, my unbreakable will, and my sense of direction. They are who I am and what I do. I leave the rest to others and those others to their own choices.
I am just one bird, and all I can do is use my single voice in the hope of making the planet a little better in my own way.