Thursday, November 04, 2004

How I feel--post election excitement

here's an email I sent to a friend.

Dear Paul, just a quick email response because I could go on for hours.

The election was a real disappointment on many levels. Surprisingly, blame is not being cast that widely or that vociferously. The mood I am getting from most people in the world of Liberals is one of determination. It is believed that Kerry ran a good race, that there is little back-biting to be done. Many feel Dean should head the Democratic party. Voter turnout was VERY high, and, contrary to what is reported, the youth vote made it out in large numbers. That the latter’s effect was limited is due to high turnout of typical Republican non-voters: very poor white Christians. The gay-marriage ballots in Ohio and Michigan brought them out in droves to the point of smothering high turnout in Cleveland, Columbus, and, almost, Detroit, etc. Such a ballot still was not enough to get a Bush win in Michigan and Oregon. Pennsylvania, which did not have such an amendment, went overwhelmingly Kerry.

Yes, there was unfairness. Were votes electronically manipulated, however? Hard to say because in Florida and Ohio, such things are impossible to know because there is no paper trail. More importantly, the unfairness made this an uphill battle no matter what. Republican-controlled districts limited or cut back polling places and voting machines in traditionally democratic areas of Ohio and Florida. This resulted in five-hour or even six-hour lines in some pro-democratic areas. It was amazing to see lines of people in ponchos, with umbrellas in the cold rain who insisted on staying until their votes were cast. That high turnout seemed so good during the day. The exit polls seemed so positive. On the morning news, Bush looked like he had just swallowed a quart of Maalox and chased it with whisky sour. I was hoping, naively, for a 280+ kerry victory... But then there was voter intimidation too, such as people following Native Americans home from the voter-registration tables in South Dakota and taking their license plate numbers. The list is very, very long and only in America does this not make it to the surface because of our lazy media. To sum it up, Kerry nearly won Ohio with only 6 months to prepare. The Republicans have had a strategy and the political offices to fertilize and cultivate a Bush victory for the last four years. MoveOn and ACT did brilliant jobs—they turned a 58%-42% landslide into a 51-49% near victory. I know people in Florida, in Erie who did the work. Philly was a democratic madhouse slamming the Republicans into nothingness.

There are many people I know who are madder than ever, but they are not mad at Kerry. If anyone did not deliver, it is Edwards, who couldn’t bring in a single southern state. So people are mad and are already getting ready to fight for the supreme court. I am putting an American flag on my house and car because I am sick of pseudo-patriots claiming that real Americans only live in the Midwest, that Californians and New Yorkers are somehow less in touch, that patriotism is a solely Republican value. I’m doing it in homage to a former idea of America and democracy that seems to have disappeared. I’m doing it to water down the symbol they want to appropriate. Andrew Sullivan, whom you may know of, said Bush “deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent. He needs our prayers and our support for the enormous tasks still ahead of him." Well, frankly, no fucking way. This is not about a fresh start, the next four years will be about holding these people accountable. Today the LA Times has the first interviews with soldiers who watched as looted dragged away those high-grade explosives from the al Qaqaa munitions complex. Responsibility for this cannot be passed off and many are motivated to keep the media on the ball. The L.A. Times has become a truly great paper this year, while the New York Times has become lazy. Today, in the NYT, there was something to the effect that the Dems were out of touch. Well, sorry, 49% is not out of touch and I’m prouder than I ever have been to be liberal.

That is my mood. I think it is shared by a lot of folks, at least nearly sixty million of us anyway.

I apologize for any grandiloquence or shrillness. Greetings to the family.