Bit of an obvious start for a writer, I know.
And sure, Biden isn’t a UK president elect, Nor is Harris our future vice-president. So why did I watch both of their acceptance speeches and cry?
I found the transcripts online – these aren’t off-the-cuff remarks, these are crafted works of oral history. And I thought if there is a word in these speeches, it’s there because it is deliberate, chosen. But I’m scrolling through and there was a word Biden used, over and over, that isn’t in the draft.
Yeah, maybe it’s just how Biden talks. But it is one of the best ways to describe a group of people, because it doesn’t leave anyone out.
Words matter. The words you choose, matter.
They tell people who you include, and who you are happy to leave out.
‘I don’t do politics.’
‘I’m so bored of politics.’
We’ve all seen this on our newsfeeds, school run, or workplace.
Well, first off, I’m grateful that I have a choice.
For so many, talking about politics is dangerous, and I don’t mean they might lose a few friends for banging on about things that they think matter.
For others, a life without politics in it is harder, if it’s not safe for you to go home anymore…
Or if ever since you were born, the colour of your skin means more than anything else you might feel, know or have to offer.
I try to remember: from when I get up, switch on the kettle, eat, drink, send my kids to school, drive on our roads –
that’s just the first half of my morning!
It all relies on politics.
I am watching
the refugee video
It’s a list of the things people took with them.
One nappy, the actor says.
And my son calls
from the living room
He is in the living room
of my house.
I am in the kitchen
of my house,
watching the refugee video
on my computer
in my kitchen
of my house.
One nappy. Phone, sim card.
Wrap them in a plastic bag,
pay all you have,
get into a boat
with your children, and …
In my house,
in my kitchen,
my son is going out.
Later, he will come home.
Later, I will lock the door
of my house.
Fall asleep, in bed.
I’ll be warm. Home.
And I’ll vaguely remember
On my computer.
Today I have been thinking about…voting.
Last week we all got dragged out to vote.
There are two halves to my village, but tensions between the communities are rare: those who have lived here for a long time, and those who moved here recently, get along mostly fine.
The sun shone all day. People crossed the bridge over the Tyne-river, safely, to cast their votes.
Our polling station is an ex-Temperance Hall, a piece of our narrow-minded history, now used for toddlers, lunch club. The kids came with me: I know they are safe here, their Eastern European heritage doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed.
They wanted to remain in the polling station – to see how other people voted – but we had to leave. ‘We need to go now. People want space, and peace to vote,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’