So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
– Semisonic, “Closing Time”
Goodbye 2016. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
We invited you in with high hopes that you’d bring us some really nice gifts. You were going to deliver us Democratic control of the Senate, big gains in the House, our first woman president, all so we could appoint the next three Supreme Court Justices.
That was the plan.
Your loud, boorish friend, the one with bad hair and the orange hue, he was only going to be here for a little while. He was going to leave early. You promised us. And your cranky uncle, the one that talks like the guy from that HBO show, he goes to bed early. That’s what you told us.
He’d stick around long enough to have a substantive conversation about the big issues and challenges facing our country. We were going to take on Wall Street and the issues of income inequality, and crony capitalism, and write brilliant position papers on how to solve them. We’d have plenty of time to tinker around in the garage with the Affordable Care Act until we got the knocks and pings out, making it run as smoothly as it ought to be.
Then he’d go to bed satisfied that his work here was done.
Somehow, though, things went a little off the rails. Turns out the folks who’d come to the party didn’t want to just talk about how to fix the economy so it worked for everyone. They wanted to do something about it and they wanted to do it now.
So you had to get firm with your cranky uncle and send him to bed, but the way you did it made everyone a little uncomfortable, and a lot of folks left early.
And the loud orange guy just stuck around. As guest after guest left, he didn’t go anywhere. He just kept getting louder, and angrier, and more belligerent. And there was something intoxicating about it – for a lot of people. Not a majority, but enough. And those that got caught up in what he had to say, they really got into it.
And they took it all over. And kicked us out. And here we are in the dead of winter out in the cold, on the outside looking in. And it’s scary, because it looks like they just might burn the whole place down.
And we feel helpless to stop them.
Well, the good news is 2017 is coming. And 2017 is going to have our back.
We’ve got a chance to start to set things right this year. In Virginia, we can start by electing Ralph Northam Governor. An actual brain surgeon with the bedside manner of an old country doctor. A real leader who couldn’t be more different than the loud man with the bad hair burning the place down.
And here in Virginia we have a chance to turn the Virginia House of Delegates from red to blue, or at least make it closer to purple, by electing more good progressive people who share our values. Because people see what’s going on up the road in Washington and they’re ready to take action.
Working together in 2017 we can build an economy in Virginia that sets an example for everyone and shows them what’s possible. We can have a living wage, so no one who works full time still lives in poverty. We can have paid sick leave, so single parents won’t lose their job for taking their kids to the doctor when they get sick.
We can fix things so that you can go to college without having to mortgage your future under a mountain of college debt you have no hope from getting out from under. And if you’re already buried, we can give you tools to dig your way out so you can join the economy again.
I’ll be working with 2017 to make sure our children are healthy, well educated, safe from gun violence, and can look forward to being more successful than their parents were. We’ll do it by removing barriers to upward mobility – barriers that have funneled all the wealth from our economic recovery into the hands of the few, leaving too many Virginians and Americans behind.
Delegate Simon represents the 53rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He may be emailed at DelMSimon@house.virginia.gov