When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the monsters under my bed that were going to reach out and grab my legs before I could jump into bed after turning the lights off. I was afraid to walk out into the hallway to use the bathroom because I always imagined ghosts at the other end. I also thought that the scratch scratch scratching at the window was Big Foot.
I watched way too much TV.
Eventually, those monsters started to fade in comparison to the real monsters that were on TV later in the evenings. The monsters in Iran that had captured fifty-two American civilians and held them hostage for 444 days. The monsters in South Africa taking away their people's rights because of the color of their skin. The monsters in Russia that were threatening us with their nukes.
I watched way too much Nightline when I was a kid.
This week, we had some real live monsters in our neighborhood. One guy was an actor who played a part in the 40 Year Old Virgin. He ran into his girlfriend at the gym just over the hill. Apparently, they chatted for a while before she left to come back home. She was making dinner for her new boyfriend when the actor showed up at her door. He stabbed her twenty times. All evening, we heard sirens going down the street and a helicopter that whisked her away. She lived. But I'm sure those monsters will haunt her for a long time. Another monster is a guy that looks just like everybody else. The only things that set him apart are his love of white shoes with white knee high sport socks and his black backpack. He has threatened many of our neighbors while we are out on our beloved trails. Some neighbors have cautiously followed him in order to give his location to the operators on the phone, but the police can never seem to get here in time. He may be harmless, but he has us all on alert... and scared... and nervous about going out on the trails.
Monsters can just be in our heads. But they can also be very real. Some monsters just need to threaten us to feel empowered. Others will rage and cause harm because of jealousy. And other monsters that seemed to have gone away for a while are all back in the news... threatening us again...
There's this little thing called Election '08 coming up. The only thing I want to know from any of them, national, state, or local is: "How are you going to keep me safe from the monsters?" Because, essentially, that is the basic role of government. Not to legislate what I do with my hands. Not to legislate who I bow to. Not to legislate how I should think and who I should marry and where I should send my kids to school. All they really have to do is keep me and my friends and my neighbors and loved ones safe from monsters.
Is that too much to ask?
So while they are droning on and on about taxes and pumping their fists about change, I hope they have a clear view of the monsters in the world that threaten us here and abroad. I hope they have a good idea on how it is that they are going to keep us safe. Because I want to enjoy Saturday Night Concerts in the Park and dinner with my husband and hiking on my trails...
And I don't want to be afraid of the monsters anymore.