Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Let’s get political
There is truly little I value in this life as much as I value spending quality time with people who know all of me. My lifelong friends and family members remind me of my history and parts of me that I may have forgotten. And, while they are not always kind, they are always real. I just experienced the wonderful gift of a weekend with that kind of life-long friend.
Though I think of her as a someone who knows every part of me, over the weekend our long talks revealed some new information, or just information we had both forgotten. We both suffered rocky childhoods that ultimately brought us together. When I was ten, my mother remarried, moving me to a new town to be raised with a not so great stepfather. A year before that, my friend was uprooted after her mother died and she moved in with her “evil” aunt. We were both new kids. Both of our worlds were forever changed, and we both began to learn to fend for ourselves. It may well be, at least in part, why we connected so fiercely.
When we were in our teens, she helped me get a job where she worked. At 18, we moved in together, sharing a one-bedroom apartment above a garage on Front Street. We were both in our senior year of high school. I am still not sure how we managed to graduate! She was one of my partners in crime. We shared many firsts. We supported each other through good times and some rough times as well.
As young women, we faced many of the challenges that are making headlines today. We later worked together in the food service industry. The workplace for us was fraught with unwanted advances and underlying tones and expectations. Our livelihood depended on a certain level of flirtation. We were, in many ways, naïve and many of our life lessons came the hard way. We played the game with varying degrees of success, honed through trial and error. Neither of us came out completely unscathed. Sometimes, bad things happened. Luckily, nothing irreparable.
Mostly, we got older and with age, came wisdom born of those experiences.
She ended up creating a life for herself in Arizona, while I moved a bit further west. We see each other every couple of years and stay in touch, but months often pass without a text or a call. Marriage, children, careers – life—keeps moving us forward at an increasingly rapid pace, so I was beyond excited to have a weekend to spend with her. One without other friends, partners, or offspring to distract us.
The second we were together at our hotel until we parted ways at the airport gate, we talked and talked and talked. We reminisced. We caught up. While playing tourists, we moved from topic to topic — from gossip about mutual friends, to our siblings, to the state of our kids, to our marriages, to our work and careers, to our health, and to our dreams of things we still hope to do, places we still hope to go and goals we still hope to achieve.
We discussed religion and politics, remembering (fondly) when those two subjects were taboo in polite company. Again, crediting our maturity with accepting those in our lives who do not always see things as clearly as we do. She is much more politically savvy and knowledgeable than me. She offered insight, opinion, and wisdom that I truly value and have taken to heart. Luckily, we sit on the same side of the political fence, which we agreed really boiled down to our sense of humanity.
Our road to adulthood was not an easy one but we learned many things that serve us today. We know that just because something is legal, does not mean it is right. We know a bully when we see one. We know how we treat the least of us reflects who we are as people. We believe it is important for a good leader to be a good person. We believe there are more important things in life than personal wealth, and we want to bring morality back to the table.
During our many discussions, we found common ground and understanding of each other’s points of view. We respect each other. We have many of the same fears about the future. We discussed the divisiveness that dominates national politics and shared our fears. We agreed that our political system is broken. It is hard to talk about, but there is little room to argue that the system is not failing. While we did not produce any finite solutions– that would not lead to a criminal record– we did find some comfort (or at least I did) in being validated and in being understood.
The big takeaway from the weekend was that how we live our lives matter. Our relationships matter and are worth our attention. Politically speaking, it is important to stay informed and to act locally. We can each affect change in our own communities and in our own state. And, it is state by state that real change happens.
It is time to vote and to once again use the power afforded us in a democratic society.
Ballots are due Tuesday. Please do not waste the opportunity to have your say. Please take some time and research the issues and the candidates and then vote. If you are not sure which way to go, reach out to a trusted friend. We must look out for each other, and that begins at home.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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