Election Day has come and gone, but what a misnomer. I wonder if Election Day will ever again mean “the day on which you fucking KNOW who the new president will be”. All in all, I’m amazed at just how tight the race is – and wonder how we can be so firecely divided. I imagine that religion has to play a huge part in that, as religion has such exacting strictures, and when you’ve got some outside source saying “this is what’s ok, and this is what you’ll go to Hell for”, it’s gotta be a little difficult to make up your own mind. But then I think to myself – right, you’ve got abortion polarizing the world, and you’ve got stem-cell research polarizing some people, but that same sense of superstitious command doesn’t seem to enter the picture when it comes to war – I mean, George W. Bush is violating that whole “thou shalt not kill” thing, but I guess that’s always been one that’s sort of been winked at by the Christian (and Catholic, and Jewish, and Muslim) faith. Maybe a new Bible will be printed where they get a little more of the gist of things right: they’ll maybe consolidate those different versions of Genesis, throw out a couple of the now unneccessary pagan references, and revise the Commandments to something a little more like “thou shalt not kill men of the same faith unless you have to”.
I’m getting preachy, and in a particularly high school fashion, too, for which I apologize. We were up till 3 somethin somethin watching results come in on CNN, flipping between that and the recount pre-show on Comedy Central, and mixing that liberally with Anthony Hopkins in Titus. CNN graphics (their election graphics look suspiciously like Pepsi logos) mixed unforunately with snippy commentary with Shakespearean drama. Murder, rape and deceit on all channels.
With such a close race, I guess we won’t really know anything for another two weeks or so. As with everything, it’s the waiting that sucks.
A major part of our visit to California University had been the political rallies; our radio interview lost a lot of listener-ship to the Kerry rally which started at the same time. Joe Lieberman was their guest speaker, and a lot of the students were loud and clear about their affiliation. I’d be curious to see how many of those kids actually went out and voted yesterday. My college experience points to a lot of vocal defiance when it involves getting out of class, and a whole lot of using November 2nd to sleep in. College campuses often seem to involve a lot of righteous anger at other people for not doing anything, and very little actual external-to-the-campus motion or effect. I hope I’m wrong about that – I’d like to think that recent events have actually galvanized the traditionally slugglish human spirit into motion on SOME sort of real scale. And I wonder how close people have voted to their party lines.
For a while there, I was a little more optimistic about some sort of decisive lead out of Kerry – simply because almost all Democrats hate Bush, and a lot of Republicans have also been alienated by his actions (though we sit back and ask, have they been alienated ENOUGH?). But I imagine most of the people who actually get out and vote are the ones who’ve been politically active for years, and most are probably quite entrenched in their party’s world, unable to see over the walls to the neighbouring lever… or button… or touch activated pixel boundary…
I must admit, I really was unhappy with the new voting machines. No sense of privacy was only the beginning of the trouble – I was VERY gratified to talk to our friend Alli later that night (she works in Baltimore for the election committee) and find out that the new machines DO spit out a little receipt ticker of vote counts – but if nothing else, I really do miss that satisfyingly solid CHUNK of pulling the lever on the old booths. There was a sense of having DONE something. Possibly violence. It felt good and solid. I remember being a kid and going into the booth with my Mom. I remember havig real trouble pulling the lever when I was really tiny. There’s the sense that you’ve got to be STRONG to vote, and conversely you receive strength/power from doing so.
Now? It’s just like playing a video game at home – the knowledge that blowing up that building won’t REALLY effect the world… let’s drive off the edge of the road just to see how far they’ll let you go, and let’s shoot your partner in the back of the head just to see what will happen. Sharif, I feel, is particularly infamous for placing grenades in interesting places just to see how the physics engine deals with it – but essentially there is the feeling of having no real effect.
Wow. Just read that Kerry concedes. Damn.
Well, I guess now we know – but I wasn’t expecting him to give up like that. 60% voter turn-out. I’m now legitimately frightened with what happens from here. Bush will feel he has a fresh mandate to do as he pleases, the Senate AND the House I think are now Republican, and soon Bush will be in a position to appoint new Justices. Things might well happen fast.
Of course, I might just be paranoid from reading about the non-presidential president in Tom Clancy’s Sum of All Fears.
Damn, I can’t believe it wasn’t even contested. I guess that’s a good thing. I guess.
Wow – “A lot of young people DID come out and vote for Kerry, but they’re the only people who did.” I wonder what that’s based on. Exit-polling? In any case, I wonder if I count as “young-people” or if I really am that alone in my beliefs.
We watched the election results pour in over at Amy’s house last night. On the drive home today, Heather and I wondered at how things have gone this direction. I think a huge part of it is that … frankly… you’ve got the country divided into people who firmly believe in things, and then you’ve got the group of people who really believe that those decisions shouldn’t be decided by someone else. You have people who have decided, and people who have decided it’s not their (or anyone else’s) place to decide. People who’ve actually firmly decided something are the ones that are going to show up and fight for something.
I frequently think about HOW in Hell do you change people’s minds – politics are so dicey. I think in general (and as displayed by 60% voter turn-out being considered “high”) most people don’t consider themselves really effected by politics… and perhaps they’re not. I think the average person thinks that taxes suck, that the price of gas always goes up (and it always will), and that the Middle East is inherently full of trouble. 9/11 brought things home in a fierce fashion, but as much as I hate to say it, people have short memories. A terrorist attack on a building over a hundred miles away gets blotted out as soon as they write their next check. The things of politics are so… indirect if you’re the average American. What, in truth, will change for the average American with the re-election of Bush? What, in truth, has changed for the average American since Bush has taken office? Or Clinton for that matter?
Yup, taxes still suck (tax cut? that was tangible, wasn’t it…) and the price of gas is going up, people in the military are still in danger – the average person probably has issue with abortion, but also isn’t planning on getting one, probably doesn’t know any fags other than those five guys making fashion comments on television… or maybe Will and Grace, but Will seems harmless enough in a campy, non-sexual fashion… (how would THEIR ratings drop like a STONE if they even had a deep man-to-man French kiss on-screen) – and none of THEM want to get married. Stem-cell research is something out of science fiction.
Protests, alarmist news articles, et cetera – what do they REALLY matter to your average American? I think that Dave and Patrick have the right idea, but the wrong location (Dave and Patrick, a couple of friends of mine who just happen to be a couple, helped organize a… I’m not even sure what you’d call it – basically, they got a bunch of people to go out and TALK to other people about gay marriage). You need to start these conversations AS conversations – and not even conversations about gay marriage (or abortion, or stem cells).
People sometimes look at me like I’m crazy when I say stuff like this, but there is a legitimate reason – it fits into the trip, and my own experiences… here’s a little story:
When I first came to Suitland Centre for the Arts University High School, I’d never heard of “gay”. I was thirteen and when someone first mentioned homosexuality in my sophomore year, and clarified it, and described it none-too-flatteringly, I was absolutely horrified. I think that that’s the average person’s response. (Hell, it IS different, it ISN’T the norm, and to a world raised on evolution it doesn’t make sense, and to a world raised on Jesus, it’s a sin)
But I was lucky. Slowly it turned out that a number of people that I knew WERE gay. Michael and Nol and… well… I went to an ARTS school… there was a DANCE department. Hot women and flaming guys. But I knew them as people first, and – well, that really makes the difference.
(I told that to Heather and she was SHOCKED that I of all people wasn’t accepting from the get-go)
So, Dave and Patrick – going out and starting conversations on the streets with College Parkians is one thing… but if you REALLY want to make a difference, look at a map. Get your gay community together and make a commitment. Send one person each to a huge number of small towns. They’ve got to be friendly, they’ve got to be social, and they’ve GOT to identify themselves as… themselves… not as gay males, not as lesbians. Their sexuality has to be secondary.
So – disperse, and go Live in these small towns. And make friends, and communicate… and maybe keep pen pal communication with your significant same-sex other… and slowly let people know. But it’s got to happen AFTER they know you. And when the next election comes around, people have some personal connection. They know that you CAN’T get married to the person you Love. But they’ve got to know YOU before they know what you are… you can accept almost anything from a friend, and they might try to save you, and they might try to change you, but most people will accept you. I really believe that.
It would take time – months if not a year +. It can’t be a five minute conversation, it can’t be an all day social event (read as “political rally” or “protest”) where you’re just shouting incomprehensibly. It’s dispersal of friendship. It’s the only way things like this can change. I really believe that too.
[Transferring photos into the New Journal I can’t find a match for this one until I realize I’d photoshopped birds into the frame to make Heather’s actions seem more immediate … a weird choice! ]
A huge wasp’s next wandering up the drive to Avalon, just before the “Past this point you may encounter nudity” sign. Our trip to Avalon was a LOT more successful this time. A little weird because we met some people we know from OUTSIDE Avalon this time. They worded it as “people from your clothed Life passing into your unclothed Life”, and they seemed to think it was a little weird too. Apparently, when We’re About 9 played there, they all stripped down and joined in the naked-time. Sigh, we’ve GOT to have more guts than the folkies, but Heather made an excellent point – drumming naked, with legs splayed to
hold the djembe… not very lady-like.
We made sure to hit up Brennan’s new band’s appearance at the College Park radio station – Even So was very, very loud. But the recording (which turned out surprisingly well) shows there’s good stuff in there.