Thursday, November 04, 2004

Keeping our spirits up

Note: Yep. This was a good, yet overly ambitious idea. It got me through those first shocked and sad days, but I found that it became pretty daunting pretty quickly. Not that good things aren't happening every day - of course they are. But I'd much rather just write up a post when something strikes me fancy than struggle to come up with something short and pithy for any particular day. So I'm letting this one go. Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

In order not to dwell in the land of despair, constantly berating what is and rehashing what-might-have-been, I've decided to attempt to find and highlight one positive thing each day until the next election. It might be something that gives me hope or makes me laugh, it could be local, national, or international... heck, maybe even intergalactic (a lot could happen in four years!). You'll find them over on the left under the heading "Today's Good Thing". I might not be able to post every day, but I will gather 'em up and batch post when I need to. When new ones go up, the old ones will get copied here as a reminder of where we've been and hopefully how far we've come. I've started today; yesterday was best left for mourning.

Nov 29, 2004: The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal aimed at overturning the Massachusetts gay marriage law. A victory in the larger war for equal rights, to be sure.
Nov 28, 2004: Happy Birthday, Jon Stewart!
Nov 27, 2004: How weird that having four kids around is often easier than just having my two?
Nov 26, 2004: A fun night out with the girlfriends tonight. Need more of this, more community, more friendships with history and good face-to-face fun.
Nov 25, 2004: Despite having less to be thankful for than I'd hoped, I have a LOT to be thankful for... I'm blessed to have a wonderful life, an amazing family, and fantastic friends. Happy Thanksgiving y'all.
Nov 24, 2004: High-speed wireless connection from my massage space + great massage + meeting William at Blue C Sushi for lunch = Yay!
Nov 23, 2004: Finally got back in for some massage work on my knee. I love receiving massage, even the kind that's more "good for me" than "feels good". Would very much love to receive massage for a living. Any takers? Bueller? Anyone?
Nov 22, 2004: *sniffle* Apologies Accepted.
Nov 21, 2004: Stephen arrived home from SF bearing chocolate! And Incredibles t-shirts!
Nov 20, 2004: After watching the amazingly meta Adaptation, William and talked about writing and shared our most embarrassing childhood memories. Good times!
Nov 19, 2004: Hung out at a cafe with wireless access whilst Sophie enjoyed her dance class down the block. What is it about caffeine and the internet together that is so satisfying?
Nov 18, 2004: A great night out, watching David Wilcox with my sweetie at The Triple Door - a gorgeous venue that used to be a vaudeville/movie house and then a parking garage. Newly restored, it's now a very cool dinner theatre.
Nov 17, 2004: Happy Birthday, Howard Dean! Yeeeeaaagh!
Nov 16, 2004: Rufus Wainwright's new CD, Want Two was released today. Yay! And it has an explicit lyric warning sticker on it... buying it made me feel all young and subversive again.
Nov 15, 2004: As is often the case, Boondocks hits it exactly.
Nov 14, 2004: Nathan ate 5 green beans and declared he liked them 79%. (Sophie already likes them 100%... she's an early adopter.)
Nov 13, 2004: Received this today from a friend: Depressed Democrats Guide to Recovery. Fiore's stuff is wonderful.
Nov 12, 2004: The feature article of this week's Stranger, The Urban Archipelago, makes a great case for the value of creating a new progressive urban identity politics. Interesting stuff, and some good ideas for moving forward.
Nov 11, 2004: Good clean fun. Well, actually not clean at all. But GOOD. Tired of hearing how religion should dictate legislation? Take a listen:Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis
Nov 10, 2004: We received chocolate in the mail today from my wonderful friend Adele in England. The note attached made me all verklempt:
"Because we want you to know we know it's not your fault, and because there are the days when you need the security of knowing you have Dementor antidote to hand."
Nov 9, 2004: Ashcroft is GONE. There's nothing but happy dancing to be done about that one, even though the next appointee could be worse.
Nov 8, 2004:Sorry, Everybody It's a touching postcard to the world, with some lovely responses.
Nov 7, 2004: I saw the northern lights tonight, first time ever. Eerie and beautiful, and a reminder that there is wonder in the world that can't be hijacked by ANYONE.
Nov 6, 2004: More maps... for those of us tired of seeing so much unrelenting red, take a look at these cartograms. When the electoral map is adjusted for population, you see a more accurate representation of how evenly divided we are.
Nov 5, 2004: It amazes me how MUCH I want this map to be true. Gives me a wistful little giggle.
Nov 4, 2004: We're raising 'em right... if the young 'uns had decided the election, we'd be much bluer and much less blue. They did us proud, and they give me great hope for the future.

Truly Blue

So the abyss? Yeah, Jaws. Not, I repeat, NOT safe to go back in the water. Atlantis will have to wait, perhaps a very long time.

Here we are. There was a day after the election after all. A dark and depressing one, mind you, but a day. Only 1460 or so more until we get another chance at this. That's not so bad, right?

On Tuesday, I stood on a pedestrian overpass with an activist friend, holding a Kerry/Edwards sign, waving to cars driving under. Ah, we were so young and optimistic then. It seems quaint now (only two days later? really?), that we actually believed that we were one country, ready for change; that though we might not share the same backgrounds or opinions with our red-state brethren, we still could agree on some basics: that we deserve honest leadership, that jobs and health care should be there for all of our citizens, that safety and security are important, but so are civil liberties.

Instead, it turns out that the fear of dudes kissing trumps it all (ah Jon Stewart you are a such a light in this darkness). Sure that's an overly simplistic analysis, I know, I know. But guess what? Simple is what 51% of voters want... hell, it's what they are, and happy to be so.

So back to Tuesday (if only!). The two of us with our signs saw a lot of people honking horns and giving us thumbs up in support of our effort. Of course, we also got flipped off a fair number of times (yep, there are conservatives even in godless blue Seattle). The first time it happened, my anger surged and without thinking I gave it right back to them. HA! TAKE THAT! But then I realized that confronting them in that oh-so-civilized way certainly wasn't going to change their minds or make me feel any better.

So I changed strategies. Next time the bird came my way, I simply smiled and kept waving, or if I had time, flipped 'em a sign of the two-fingered variety. Peace, man. I like to think that they interpreted it one of two ways: either they thought I didn't see they were disagreeing with me, or they realized I had indeed seen them but that it didn't bother me in the slightest. Either way, it had to be a wee bit frustrating for them. I hope. And it made me feel better, knowing I was taking the high road, not engaging in a struggle that was pointless and unwinnable.

Pointless and unwinnable. I GET it now, viscerally, in a way that I never did before. Simply put: reason, logic and sanity cannot compete against blind ignorant faith. There are a lot of people out there who believe Jesus and his right-hand man Bush will take care of them (though neither one is doing a very good job for them on the economic front). They believe that I am a bad person who is going to hell for thinking a woman should have reproductive choice or that family values apply to ALL families, including those comprised of two dudes. They live in an alternate reality where it is morally-acceptable to kill 100,000 people in order to "lead them out of the Islamo-fascist darkness", where they think they're safer with a leader who has isolated us from the rest of the world and made us more hated than ever.

There is no compromise possible, no center here, and I will fight as hard as I can to keep the Democratic party from quixotically moving further to the right in a mistaken attempt to get more votes in the so-called heartland. Trying to appeal to these people is the mistake we've been making election cycle after election cycle with the same results. Honestly I don't think we could get their votes if we gave them all guns and let them declare open season on the lesbians and abortion providers. And I for one will not spend one more moment of my time arguing with them. There is no point to it.

This morning I hear that the administration now thinks it has a mandate for its policies. I love this. 51% used to mean "got it by the skin of my teeth" and now it's a mandate. And so it begins. Mourn and grieve, and then start working to gather your power, y'all. The next four years aren't going to be pretty.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I love my country
By which I mean
I am indebted joyfully
To all the people throughout its history
Who have fought the government to make right
Where so many cunning sons and daughters
Our foremothers and forefathers
Came singing through slaughter
Came through hell and high water
So that we could stand here
And behold breathlessly the sight
How a raging river of tears
Cut a grand canyon of light

I was reading the paper on the way to work this morning and when I got to the last page of the Local section, I was dumbfounded. There, posted just as it would be any other day, was the weather forecast for the rest of the week. Right there, the prediction that Wednesday would have "Some sun, a chance of showers. High 53, Low 40."

As if the world will be the same place after Tuesday, November 2 that it was before. As if the sun will rise and set, fronts will move through and sun breaks will occur. As if the world will just continue to turn regardless of the outcome of the election.

Now, unlike those folks who will go to polls and pull the lever for Voldemort Bush, I am a proud member of the reality-based community. I know, really I do, not only that Iraq had no WMD and wasn't behind 9/11, but also that the world won't end... well, not right away at least... after Tuesday. Heck, the election itself might not even be over on Wednesday morning. But for me, anything past tomorrow is a fog of grey, not unlike the morning weather in my fair city on any given day. It's looking over the edge into the abyss, not knowing whether I'll see Atlantis or Jaws.

I feel breakable today. It won't take much to push me over the edge into weeping, or laughing hysterically. I had intended to take a break from election coverage and polling, yet I find myself hitting reload on the news sites, seeking out discussions with like-minded individuals hoping, as did Mt. St. Helens, to rumble a lot and let off steam to avoid the big explosion.

I'm pathologically, perhaps, optimistic about Kerry's chances... I have to be. We've done what we can to educate and motivate our fellow Americans. Tomorrow, like many, I'll volunteer to make calls, drive people to the polls, knock on doors... whatever it takes to GOTV. But today, trying to get some work done while I obsess on this country's future, I will continue to visualize winning. Join me. And tomorrow we VOTE. And then we wait.