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Feeling hopeful

On the Bright Side

The sky was blue, the smoke cleared for awhile, the sun was shining but there was a light breeze – last Sunday was a great day for a political rally in our dear little Tehachapi. I was one of those many people on the corner of Valley Blvd. and Tucker Rd. that day who were waving flags and wearing masks and generally spreading feelings of good cheer.

It's been many years since I've attended a political rally in an election year for a specific candidate, not in small part because I live in Tehachapi and there are rarely such events held here. And when I did attend in the past, in places like San Francisco and Denver and Los Angeles, there were always a number of performers and speakers (i.e., the candidates themselves, or current office holders vocally endorsing others, as well as a number of activists). I always felt energized and hopeful after attending such rallies in the past.

And I'm happy to say that although the Tehachapi rally was different in many respects (a much smaller scale and much more informal), I was left with the same feelings of energy and hope, of the joy of camaraderie and the feeling of togetherness and care for one another, as well as for our home planet.

It's good to feel that way, and I am so grateful for all the others who showed up to contribute to that feeling, and to all the people who drove by and cheerfully honked and/or gave a wave or a thumbs up or even just a simple smile and nod.

I will note that there are times I do not feel particularly welcome or comfortable here in Tehachapi – there are many who have suggested I leave, or that I should not be alive anywhere for that matter, and who firmly and loudly believe I should not have the same rights that they do – but I'm too stubborn to move away and I'm confident enough to stay where I want and not be bullied into leaving.

And because with all the hate that is sometimes directed at me personally and at me as a member of different social/political groups, I have also met a wonderful bunch of people who do share the same moral compass that I do, who believe in diversity and equal rights, who believe we are all in this together and there is, in fact, room for everybody. Who are not like me but who stand shoulder to shoulder with me. Who believe in the promise of our founders that our country is at its best when it embraces all of our differences and our individually unique contributions.

I will also say I was surprised at the turnout at the rally last Sunday, happily so. I don't feel so alone now, I don't feel so unheard. I feel that there are many more open and loving people in our little mountain town than I might have thought there were before. I was encouraged so see so many people I knew at the rally, but I was further encouraged by how many people were there that I did not know and was honored to meet.

All in all it was a lovely day and at the end of it I was feeling good and relaxed and content and peaceful, all feelings that come from joining together with other people who were willing to publicly show their love and concern for one another and for our city and our state and our country as a whole.

Especially with this darned pandemic going on, and so many activities being halted as a result, the rally last Sunday was a particularly positive experience and I am so glad I was there to experience it.

I feel hopeful.

© Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove, is feeling grateful and happy in Tehachapi; she welcomes your comments at [email protected].