By Ashley Lodato
This week’s shout-out of gratitude goes to 14-year-old Travis Grialou, who recently completed his annual campaign for Little Star Montessori School’s scholarship fund. In his fourth year of running to earn funds for the project begun by Taylor Woodruff, Travis covered more than 200 miles resulting in $3,045 in pledges from Little Star supporters. Thank you, Travis!
It feels a bit odd to be writing on Sunday for a column that goes to print on the day of the presidential election. But our press schedule dictates that we send our columns off long before the results of the general election are known, too late to try to influence the outcome of the election and too early to try to comment meaningfully on the results.
Seeking inspiration, I dug in the archives and found my columns from election weeks in 2012 and 2008, sure that I would have made some mention of the peculiar mix of optimism and disillusionment that engulfs us every fourth year. But nope — my previous election-week columns address Halloween, fall chores and the first dusting of snow in the mountains — the stuff of our daily lives.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this election year feel so different, and why I assume that most of us will breathe a sigh of relief once it’s over.
I had this same feeling back in the 2000 Bush-Gore election. Jon and I were on a month-long climbing trip (pre-kid … those were the days!). We’d already voted via absentee ballot, and on Tuesday, Nov. 7, we sat in our truck and listened to election reporting on the radio (this was also before smart phones were widely used). We climbed into our tent for the night not knowing who the new president was and woke up to the same big question mark.
For the next four weeks we climbed during the day and then hurried back to camp to turn on the radio, but the talk was only of vote recounts and hanging chads. When a court decision awarded Bush the presidency on Dec. 12, it was almost an interruption of a routine that we had established during those long weeks of uncertainty. Each day we ascended the granite slabs of Joshua Tree National Park and gazed out on the vast landscape of treasures this country had chosen to protect; each evening we descended to what we naively believed would be an all-time low in American politics.