Even Now To Be Free
You vote. You listen for indications of how other people around you voted. You can't wait for the polls to close so you can start hearing results. You become more convinced that this is the day for which you've waited so long.
As the night of November 7 comes to fullness, results start to come in. They look good. Not as spectacular as you had hoped, but good.
You stay up. Networks start making projections of winners. It's not what you had thought would happen.
Republicans are winning House races all over the country. Republicans are winning Senate races all over the country. Republicans are winning everywhere they couldn't possibly have won. You go to bed in a state of utter despair.
When you awaken on November 8, almost hoping against hope, you turn on the television to see if it's really like what you remember from the night before.
It is. The Republicans have retained and even expanded their control of the House. They have won Senate seats where they should have lost, and they have taken a couple more they shouldn't have won. Several governorships have gone from Democrats to Republicans.
GOP faces are all over the TV, smirking, waving, smugly preening themselves before the cameras, talking about the "future," "the people's vote of confidence," and all manner of other sound bites that make you just sick to your stomach.
Yes, an election has been stolen. Again.
What, exactly, was it that you thought would happen? That the Republicans would play fair? That the rigged electronic machines, the tainted software, and their corrupted manufacturers from 2000 and 2004 had all simply vanished into thin air?
That the party of a President who had committed all manner of crimes both personally and by proxy through his subordinates would simply let all Hell break loose in a free-for-all hanging that could very well include humiliating disclosures, removals from office, and even prison terms?
That a party corrupted to its core even as it is insanely convinced of the rightness of its vision would merely stand down and let that vision of the Republic get savaged in such a way that it might be generations before people once again would forget how wretched that vision always turns out to be in practice?
Hope is for the blind. Trust is for the foolhardy. Optimism is for idiots.
You knew that all along, now didn't you?
So what's a person to do?
Here's the best way to deal with the awful scenario described above.
Give up now. Don't bother to vote; it's obvious that your vote will be wiped out anyway. Don't even bother to watch the election returns coming in; they'll just depress you. Get up the next morning and do something nice for yourself; that's what matters in a world gone mad.
Maybe down the road in a few days when you can better face the debacle that happened on November 7, write an angry letter to the editor. If you have a blog, post some vitriol. Write some angry sentiments in comments at other people's blogs.
Get it out of your system and then move on. It's over for democracy, so just deal with it.
Good choice all the way around.
Now, let me tell you what I'm going to be doing.
I'm going to spend every day between now and November 7 busting my ass to see that every son of a bitch in the Republican Party gets kicked out of office on Election Day. I'm going to stand right in people's faces, and I'm going to be telling them just what I think. I'm going to get on the horn, and I'm going to talk until I can't talk anymore.
I'm going to be calling Secretaries of State in as many states as I can, and I'm going to make myself the biggest pain in the ass their staffs have ever encountered. I'm going to ask who's who at the precinct level; who knows what about how many voting machines are in each and every precinct. I'm going to want to know where the voting locations are or where I can find out.
Then I'm going to call local election officials. I'm going to go to polling places. I'm going to take my cell phone and my camera with me. I'm going to spend as much time as I can making sure that everyone knows that at least one person is watching. Anyone who gets in my way will be made famous on the Internet, and I'll tell that to anyone who acts like I'm some kind of irrelevant intrusion.
I'll pick up the phone, I'll pick up my feet, I'll pick up some extra-strong coffee, and I'll get to work. Anyone who wants to join me can; but don't act like I'm some kind of embarrassment. Get with me or get out of the way. Please.
And on November 7, I'll vote. I'll also drive people to the polling stations. I'll also be keeping an eye on those polling stations to see if any voting machine "repairmen" show up who want to be on no fewer than three large blogs read by people across the planet.
And on the night of November 7, I'll watch the returns like some people watch their dinner cooking in the microwave.
In other words, from now until the end of the night on November 7, 2006, I'll have my hope, and by God! I'll have it in spades because I'll make it with my own two hands.
And on November 8, if the election goes to the Republicans, I shall set aside that hope, and I'll replace it with rage. No, I won't write letters to the editor; no, I won't write about my depression here on this blog; and no, I won't go out and buy myself something nice to numb the pain of having once and for all lost any prayer of a democratic America.
I will take to the streets, and I will do so with the certain knowledge that I have nothing whatsoever to lose because I will have already lost that which is so compellingly important to me: my citizenship in a free and democratic country. Anyone who wants to join me on that terrible day is welcome, but I won't be particularly sympathetic when the bitching starts about how rough it gets. I won't be in the mood to hear people who are still surprised that those who run this country are vicious.
Hope against all hope from now through November 7; then bitter anger fleeing to the refuge of even greater rage should November 8 dawn in the blackness of continued, unfettered, unendable Republican rule.
To live without hope and then die without cause is never to have been free. Once upon a time, I lived as a free person in a free country.
But you'll have to choose your own way.
And then, of course, you'll get to live and die as that choice has dictated.
It's your call.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.