a metaphor for our political scene


Last night, I dreamed I was going to speak briefly at an assembly. Thousands of people stood waiting.

Traffic had been bad and I hadn’t prepared. I put my tights on in the back of the Uber, but my feet became soaked in my open-toed shoes after I stepped out of the car into a puddle of sludge. A woman with a baby in a stroller and a dog on a leash mired in the snow. I tried to help her, but I was useless and in a hurry. The organizers had asked the main speakers to lunch privately beforehand and had studiously avoided eye contact with me. They didn’t expect much from me. They didn’t care, really, if I even showed up.

Doesn’t it amaze you when you have these vivid dreams?

But finally, I made it into the building. Without having time to sit first or collect my thoughts, I was ushered to the podium at just the right time. I stood blinking past bright lights at thousands of faces.

And then I woke up.

God, I was nervous, as if I were going to address a huge crowd in real life, as if I actually had cold wet feet, was almost late, and felt incredibly unprepared.

I can still feel that cool tingling of fear in my gut and my shaky hands gripping the podium..

I write almost every morning. It can be a drudgery and I feel sorry for anyone who ever thinks to plow through all the chaff of my notebooks looking for something of value. Sometimes it’s hard to drag myself to the blank page. But sometimes, I can’t get to the page soon enough. This morning was like that.

In my dream, as I stood in front of all those people, practically petrified, this is what I had decided to say:

Sometimes in February, it is so incredibly cold, so bleak.

Sometimes in February, I look out over dirt and desiccated leaves, over patches of dirty snow, and I think that spring will never arrive. Hope will never come.

They say that plants already work under the soil in February. I can’t see changes. It feels so hopeless.

This political season is much like that, endless, cold, dark, and, seemingly without hope.

Then, one day, as I trudged outside toward my car to go to work teaching mostly immigrant children, I looked down at the ground, came aware and it was there, a tiny green shoot barely peeking through leaf litter. I stopped, dropped my bag of books, squatted down, and touched the tender shoot.

I looked around and a dozen other shoots peeked through, bright green against dull winter colors. How did I not see them before this? Here is hope, evidence of change coming.

Senator Kamala Harris is that green sprout of hope for social justice.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that hope against the ravages of climate change.

Representative Rashida Tlaib is that hope against xenophobia.

Representative Kyrsten Sinema is that hope against intolerance.

Senator Amy Klobuchar is that hope for equality and for Trump’s ultimate impeachment.

Beto O’Rourke is that hope against children separated from families and housed in prisons.

All during these dark two years, we’ve looked at the ground, at dirty snow, and thought that nothing was happening, that spring would never come. But here, embodied in their diverse faces, is our evidence. The roots of morality, of equality, of science, of inclusion, of the rule of law, and of social justice have not died.

Here is our hope, springing into the light.

Thank you for listening, jules