I barely recognize this girl in the photo. It was taken 16 years ago, in 1996, at the South Carolina Inaugural Ball. I recognize that Senator: it's retired South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings. OK, fine, I recognize the girl because despite the way her face has changed, and the 90s-inspired hair and fashion ("Beverly Hills 90210 inspired"), it's me.
The fall before I was an intern for Senator Hollings. It was the November Bill Clinton was re-elected, and I was living on Capitol Hill, walking to the Russell Senate Building during the day to open mail and to a Mexican restaurant on the corner to cry in my margaritas at night over some silly boy from USC who'd dumped me over the summer.
The point is, I was still filled with hope about a presidential election. I was excited to just stand the hallowed corridors where laws were passed and history was made. Once I ran -- literally ran -- into Senator Edward Kennedy, whom I'd named my teddy bear after as a little girl, and thought I'd gone to heaven.
Fast forward to Election Day 2012. I stood in line to vote, wincing at the meanness of the rhetoric being spoken by peole in line, trying not to look at the messages being thrown around on Facebook. I definitely don't have the breathless giddiness of nearly 20 years ago, and not the excitement I did even four years ago. I know that I'm not alone, not by a long shot.
I do have hope -- lots of it. But not in campaign slogan. Though: I still believe in Beverly Hills 90120, and Mexican food.