Of course I’m upset about the election.
I found myself really down about it, even though I wasn’t really surprised at the results. I eventually figured out why.
1) Prior to, I had forced myself not to think about it. “Forced” isn’t the right word, though- honestly, being in Scotland, it just didn’t come up that much. And when it did, it was purely for my sake as an American, and thus it was easy enough to say, “I don’t want to talk about it!”
2) Though I pretty much knew what the results would be, I didn’t allow myself to think it, let alone say it aloud. I would say (and think), “I’m not going to say either way. I don’t want to jinx it” or “I want to stay hopeful” (however false and faint that hope was).
3) It was SO CLOSE!!!! When the results started coming in (my anticipation lasted longer than Americans actually living in America; the time difference being that Greenwich Mean Time is five hours later than Eastern Standard Time), my false/faint hope started getting a bit of an edge. An edge which, in the end, was even more painfully severed than the dull false/faint hope would have been.
Of course I could go on and on about how fucked up it all is, but plenty of people are doing that, so instead I’ll share what is probably at least partly due to the luxury of living abroad, which are the good (or at least, the not-so-bad) points I can make out.
1) Record-high voter turn-out. Like, the most since Vietnam. Since Nixon’s 1968 election, I think, yea? Whilst watching the long queues live on the news, I thought (and said), regardless of the result, it will have been worth it for this. People- particularly young people- finally realised the importance of the election, and- whatever side they were on- did something about it, in staggering numbers. I still believe that, even if Dubya did win. I myself have gone from someone whose Marxist leanings don’t allow her to see the point in participating in a form of government she doesn’t even remotely believe in to someone whose Marxist leanings allow her to see the point in participating in a form of government she doesn’t even remotely believe in whilst awaiting the (r)evolution.
2) Which is another point. Like the pendulum, maybe things have to get really bad before they can change for the better. I’m talking Big Picture. There are so many predictions about “the end of the world (as we know it)” coming to a head within the next ten years. I think this “end” might signal a new beginning, a shift in human consciousness and evolution. And if people remain padded and sheltered and content with their ridiculously petty lives and material possessions, how could this change possibly occur? History is filled with examples of nothing being done until things got bad enough, from the Russian Revolution to Hitler. I thought things were bad enough for at least a change in regime, but the American people (well, roughly half, anyway) didn’t seem to think so. And of course things could be worse. And will probably get worse. And there are worse things for the common good, for humanity as a whole that could happen if they do, if even the smallest possibility for large-scale positive change exists.*
(*My idealistic Americorps rhetoric creeps back in every once in a while, I apologise. I try to keep it at least a wee bit pragmatic.)
3) How many people voted for Kerry because they wanted him president, rather than just having an Anybody But Dubya 2004 mentality? I’m the first to admit that I- as well as most people I know- belonged to the latter camp. Is that any way to elect a leader? Of course Anybody But Dubya would have been better, but just how much better, given the views of the voting population? Half for Dubya, half for Anybody But Dubya: you know that the first thing President Kerry did wrong, he’d’ve been crucified by both sides.
I’m just trying to look at things more holistically. If there’s one thing the last four years of Dubya has taught me, it’s that polarisation really fucking sucks, and that I want no part of it. Of course I will retain my beliefs (however unrelated to this form of government they may be), but then there’s nothing that says I can’t retain my beliefs and be open and respectful of what other people think, now is there? How other people choose to retain their beliefs and deal with others’ is more the issue for me, at this point.
I keep going back to it, but really, it’s all about Troy Chapman’s “third side”.
This whole bubble of optimism (or at least not downright cynicism) I’ve created for myself won’t last long, I’m sure; not after I return to the States mere days before inauguration… bloody non-refundable plane tickets.