The despondency circulated through the streets. Street cleaners, students, secretaries, lawyers, businessmen, the unemployed, the overly employed, the overtaxed, the overstressed, the overworked, the over and out susurrating speculative horrors about the Night We Lost America. Those Ohio hicks, those motherfuckers. How could they vote for Bush? How could America betray itself? How could they give the two houses to the rampant Republican gastropods? How many Supreme Court justices would be lost on the slime trail? Fuck, fuck, doublefuck in a clusterbun. Can you super size that?
Options: 1. Roll into a ball and sob, damning the moronic masses. 2. Move to Canada, Mexico, Australia, wherever (if you could get the cash). 3. Contemplate crazed national scenarios such as splitting the States up into three separate nations: the West, Intolerance Central, and East Coast Schizophrenia.
And then there was the other side: Watch those liberals squirm! Funny shit. They’re so incensed. Merciless mirth, no chance of eclat. Viva la revolucion! Well, boys, we took away their hope. We darn near smashed it with a rubber mallet and banned them disgusting faggots from marryin’ to boot. Fire the rifles, boys, and pass the bourbon. Sheet. In no time, them uptight bitches will be controlled and we’ll all hold hands and SING to the Lord!
The immediate impulse was to give up and give into bile. And for several hours, I did. A scowl was permanently affixed to my face and several people thought I was upset with them. At one point, “God Save the Queen” was sung (in a corporate environment, no less) and restylized to fit in with the U.S. 2004 template. It killed me to see my faith in humanity destroyed by a torrent of misinformation and to become an elitist overnight. But there it was — the indisputable proof on the chalkboard. Nothing to understand about it. Joe Sixpack and I parted ways last night. Not that I had much to do with him.
I wish I could tell you that John Kerry’s concession speech was the proper panacea. It was a damn fine speech, but oh I’d be lying, dear readers. I hadn’t felt such a horrible feeling of powerlessness since September 11. I wanted to work. I wanted to keep going just to spite the bastards. But it was no good. I was ready to give up politics completely, say to hell with my long-term goals, and offer a tepid report here on the end of Great American Government.
But then I started to realize that it’s not over. And that’s the thing that got me out of the shell.
The problem in thinking about next year’s demolition crew is that we’re giving into our worst fears. Sure, it’s probable that the Patriot Act will be broadened, that more people will die and unjust folks will be thrown into the can, that the draft will be reinstated, and that several neocon horrors will jet out of the loom faster than anyone can say Oliver Wendell Holmes.
But none of it has happened yet. And that concerns me. Because aren’t these paranoid fantasies exactly the kind of black helicopter bile that drips out of Limbaugh’s maw and passes for fact? Isn’t this exactly the same tactic we’ve been condemning the GOP for?
They have turned 48% of us into malicious sons of bitches. And the Republicans are loving every damn minute of it.
The time has come to stop feeling helpless and start getting on the offense. And here are a few things to chew on:
1. You don’t have to be afraid. This is precisely what the Rove machine wanted. Live every day with courage.
2. If new laws go down, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. (It’s a little something called civil disobedience, folks.) We are not cattle and we need to stop being treated like such.
3. Write letters to your representatives. Block doorways. Stop the wheels from rolling.
4. Write letters to your newspapers. Get the word out to the media conduits. Let the money men who control the airwaves know that you are watching. And when they deliberately lie, send letters to the producers and their sponsors threatening to boycott.
5. Have the cojones to go to jail for a cause (that means you, you trendy parvenus!). Our grandmothers and grandfathers did. Where the fuck are your balls? Stop worrying about the black marks on your record and just do it.
6. Begin the fight today. Lobby everyone you know. Hold meetings in your neighborhood. Read Congressional Records, take notes, and communicate.
7. Be eloquent. We have no heroes. It’s time to start being one.
8. Above all, oh fuck you, gloomy cloud.