I almost wept with joy when I read the news on the internet this evening:

Democrats won control of the House early Wednesday after a dozen years of Republican rule in a resounding repudiation of a war, a president and a scandal-scarred Congress.

“From sea to shining sea, the American people voted for change,” declared Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the hard-charging California Democrat in line to become the nation’s first female House speaker.

“Today we have made history,” she said, “now let us make progress.”

I have a confession to make: one of the reasons I became a teacher was to find a way to channel my anger, outrage, and feelings of hopelessness over the Bush administration’s genocidal foreign policies into something positive and life-affirming. I lived with deep depression and absolute despair for a couple of years, in a state of shock that at times I thought would destroy me. I had to find a way out.

I took part in marches, only to find them a meaningless mishmash of different interest groups with no focus. I felt betrayed by the anti-war movement, which virtually ceased to exist in the run-up to the 2004 election. When Bush & Co. were returned for another four years of power, I packed my emotional luggage and departed, in spirit, from the country of my birth, vowing to leave for real within two years. Now here I am in China, in many ways a far saner and healthier society than that of the U.S.

Tonight, for the first time since the invasion of Afghanistan, I begin to feel some hope. The American people have earned back a little of my confidence. Maybe the new Congress will act on the side of humanity, demanding an end to torture, endless billions spent on military imperialism, and the degradation of the democratic process. I hope that the people of my country have finally said in unison:

War is not the answer.
Another world is possible.


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