November 7th, 2008
A one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. That line’s always appealed to me, even before I had mine amputated. Bloggers like to think of ourselves in a self-congratulatory way. We kicked ass. Like our pissy commentary helped slice the rotting corpse of Republicanism out of America’s gut. Look at the red on the map. Follow it. It’s a clogged intestine winding through the country’s middle — inflamed, backed-up, and far from cured. It’s like the drug-resistant staph still residing in my stump. (Yep, I had another operation on Wednesday, but I feel great — such is the power of political purgation).
There were some people, though, who certainly made a difference this time around. The thousands of Joe-the-Activists who, at their own expense, traveled to the battleground states and made sure America didn’t get fucked again. One of these was Alisa Baker, a San Francisco attorney who worked as a polling observer. She wrote a wonderful account of election day in north Akron, Ohio — herewith, just a tidbit: “at St. Johnâ€™s, the Democrats have a six-member team (including three lawyers); the Republicans have Monica, an untrained, non-lawyer inside observer. In the beginning she seems barely engaged, reading the paper, which is fine with us.Â As the day goes on, however, Monica gets cranky about our Obamaphilia (and who can blame her: when all is said and done, our precinct will have cast 688 votes for Obama, 31 for McCain). The Obama GOTV team is clearly much too cheerful for her, and the Obama lawyers are making too many successful challenges to provisional ballots.Â She comes outside to glare at us from a safe distance every half hour or so, pacing up and down the driveway and making angry calls on her cell.” (See Alisa’s entire essay here).
What Alisa was a part of — which is such a hopeful sign for the coming presidency — is the organization that was the Obama campaign. It wasn’t simply that workers were willing and able, they were given precise tasks to do. They worked within a structure that had been planned by intelligent, educated pros. What a difference that makes! Ideologues, parodists, and crankbutts could do their thing at the keyboard (here!).
In a way I’ve behaved like a bad parent to these horrors of the last eight years — my children: John Bolton, Karl Rove, David Addington, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Brit Hume, and so many more — I delight in pointing out their faults: “This is what I have to live with!” Now they’re gone and I’m suffering from Empty Nest syndrome.
But I am ready to give up these depressing characters. I’d rather go for the relative brightness and mock rocks and black holes for awhile. So much negativity is wearing. My friend James DeKoven tells me he’s living the perfect metaphor for the age: “I moved into a dark studio apartment, a real hovel, in the first month of the Bush administration. Now, eight years later, I’m outta there. I’ve rented a bright and open apartment, and I’ll be going in in January.”
As for the arbitrary bold-face in each paragraph, I’m experimenting with change.