Random Thoughts

I'm sittin' here, drinkin' beer and watching the election results come in. And it occurs to me, watching states go completely red for Bush all over the country, that I don't understand the rest of the country. I don't get how anyone could vote for Bush - the man is antithetical to everything I consider valuable and everything Jefferson et al. found valuable. He scares me. He makes me pine for the days of Civil action, when normal people held tenable, intractable power. When people were listened to.

I miss Malcolm X. I miss Eugene McCarthy. I miss Adlai Stevenson.I miss Mort Sahl, Richard Pryor, and Dick Gregory.

I want people to be angry, yet I don't know what the point'd be.


- - -


I walked passed Democracy Plaza, or whatever the hell NBC is calling Rockefeller Center for the night, on the way to my job interview. I had no idea the elections had turned into a party of this level of commercial appeal, though I don't know why I'm surprised.


- - -


Speaking of NBC...I've never had my photo taken on the way to an interview before. It totally floored me. I was used to an old New York, where business to business salesman could still get into offices without an appointment to peddle their wares.

Their elevators were odd, too - instead of hitting 'up' or 'down', you plugged your floor number into a keypad and a display tells you which elevator is yours. There are no buttons in the elevator; it takes you to your floor and goes off on its way. I was so confused by it; I felt like an idiot.

I didn't even bother to watch the news last night, I knew that nothing would be settled by the time I got up. True to predictions, the vote-stealers in Ohio and Florida managed to do their deed for their masters in the White House. Sadly, the people who care are powerless, and the people with the power don't care.

Frankly, if the American public is too stupid to reject Dumya, this country deserves whatever he does to them in the future. Your children will be paying for this for years, some in blood, all in cash. Sadly, the ones that were the most brainwashed are going to be the ones who pay the most.

I forsee a major financial crisis in the near future, which will allow the government to push through Social Security "reform" which will allow the rich to pull their funds out of the program, beggaring the next generation of retirees. I won't even begin to speculate on the imperial aspirations of a Dumya II administration. I pity the rest of the world now, especially developing countries with any resources his cronies can exploit.

The only hope we have is that the final counts favor Kerry. Bush has won, God help us all.

Voter Turnout Highest in Three Decades

Those six words just rock my world.

Voters in 11 States Reject Gay Marriage

Those seven words leave me deeply saddened. And, a little fearful.

"The results just go to show that the citizens ... clearly understand the value of natural marriage,"
said Christina Rondeau, director of the North Dakota Family Alliance, a group that supported the amendment.

Natural marriage? What the hell is that?

The President of the United States may well decide he now has a mandate to push through a Constitutional Amendment which will codify what "marriage" means.

I'll be working against any attempt to add such an Amendment to the Constitution. How, I don't know, but I'll do whatever I can to keep such an Amendment from becoming law in this country.

The person I voted for, for President, didn't win. That's the way it goes. Not all the other candidates I voted for won either. Connecticut is stuck with Christopher Dodd again. I swear that man could bitch-slap the Virgin Mary, kill kittens, moon the Pope and still get elected by this state. In case you're wondering, yes, I heartily dislike Senator Dodd. I am glad Christopher Shays won, even if I no longer live in his district. Rosa DeLauro, representative of my district won again. She's not great, she's not horrible, but she's not Shays either.

My home state went with John Kerry. I was surprised, even though the polling data was indicating he would take Connecticut, because it appeared that he had little support in the downstate regions. Downstate is more heavily populated and has been a sea of Bush signs. Fairfield county, in particular, is heavily Republican. Areas surrounding our universities were not very active in campaigning for either party. I live near Yale University and you would think there would be a huge liberal democratic presence there, but I haven't seen it. Perhaps they're just in hiding.

As for other races, I'm thrilled Barack Obama won. He is a hope for a better future. I sincerely hope that the insanity, which infests the people living within the Loop, does not infect him. If I prayed, I'd pray for him. Last I knew, Alan Keyes still hadn't conceded the race. I guess he needs a mountain to fall on him because losing 1,301,719 to 3,385,229 was obviously not enough of a clue.

Looks like Tom Daschle is out of the Senate. I'm not a Daschle supporter, but with the Republicans gaining two Senate seats, potentially holding a 55 to 100 seat majority, I'm sorry Daschle lost.

Mel Martinez, President Bush's handpicked Senate candidate from Florida, has apparently won his race. The cynic in me is not surprised.

Tom DeLay is predicting that the Republicans, who already have 227 of the 435 House seats, will be adding new members.

Even though Iowa, New Mexico and Ohio are still not declared, and the electoral count stands at Bush 254, Kerry 252, I think Bush is going to win this election.

In my opinion, it bodes ill for the United States when one party has control. With Federal judiciaries to be decided by a Republican controlled government, this conservative streak in the body politic is only going to get worse.

As if the last four years were not bad enough, the view over the horizon is looking bleak. The United States, along with the vast majority of the world, has turned dangerously conservative. I know that all nations go through cycles of liberal, moderate, conservative - just as human beings do. But the deeply conservative, fundamentalist, demeanor of this nation disturbs me. I think, if I had been my age now in the middle of the upheaval of the sixties, I'd be just as disturbed. Extremes of liberalism are just as bad for a nation as extremes of conservatism.

I'm not angry the Republicans won. I'm concerned.

I’ve been here two years now, well two years next week but it’s all the same really. Since joining I have learnt a lot from you all because without you lot I would be nothing, I’d still be the scared fourteen year old I was two years ago. When I joined, at the tender age of fourteen, I was pretty blank about noding and it took me awhile to write something that didn’t get deleted and to look at was actually worth something. Being fourteen can be quite tough when I think about it, I was hard on myself back then because I thought that my writing was awful but I realise that it wasn’t awful it just didn’t mean very much. Back when I joined it was all about reaching the next level because that would actually be a great achievement; I was totally wrong about that though because an achievement was being accepted and people telling me that my writing was actually worth something. I started off my noding with many daylogs, which I have now deleted, complaining about my latest crush or the fact that I wanted some new item of clothing. Things change though, don’t they? I’ve noticed something about myself, which I’ve never really seen before; I noticed that nothing else really matters but being happy because other people aren’t really worth it.

When joining e2 you need to be prepared to be criticised and told what you should, and quite blatantly, shouldn’t be doing. It isn’t cute if you can’t spell properly and it certainly isn’t cute if you use yourself as a topic for a non-daylog node. I’m telling you the truth here, I’ve been there and I’ve certainly done it. You should node what you know and maybe node what you don’t know because it is all part of the experience and I’m telling you know, it makes you a better person. Writing has become my life, joining e2 made me realise what I want to do with the rest of my life and succeeding is the most important thing for me to do. I’d have never have wanted to succeed as much as I do right now if I hadn’t kept at e2, building up my writing skills day by day. Thanks e2, you’re the best.

I've just been reading BBC News. This is unusual. Normally it takes me a few days to a week to hear about major events - I'm just not normally a 'news' kind of person.

This is different.

Looks like Bush won. I have but two words to describe this situation: oh dear.
Don't get me wrong here. I've known/do know a fair few Americans. Most of 'em are nice enough blokes. However this election result really does make me question the sanity of the country as a whole. I mean, it's Bush for crying out loud. I honestly believe I could do a better job of running a country.

The UK's had some right crackpots for Prime Ministers (my personal opinion is that Blair falls into this category), however I really do query how any sane/intelligent/vaguely concious person could vote for someone like George Bush. I can understand a first term (hope I'm getting these phrases right - see below), but a second after all he's done?
Highly bizarre
Why do I suddenly get the feeling another part of the planet's going to go to hell in a handbasket soon...?


Please note that I don't personally think that any one American (or any member of another nationality for that matter) is an idiot unless I've met them and can make an assessment of their general level of common sense. I merely think that the country as a whole may be slightly... mentally wonky.
Additionally, I'm not all that politically-literate. If this writeup is complete piffle please feel free to let me know.
In a nice way, please.

I suppose that the ultimate outcome of this election shouldn't have been a surprise, but the qualifications for Bush's victory have left me--and I suspect many in the nation and perhaps world--wounded. Despite Bush's numerous failures and precious few successes, the grand narrative that Bush, our common man President, a simple boy from down south, would handily defeat an extremist, had been woven by the media and the government months before the election. But no one saw the frightening Truth that was unveiled yesterday.

Bush was given a mandate by record voter turnout. Droves upon droves of people, I would imagine a huge number of evangelical Christians, voted for Bush because of "moral" issues. Not that sending 1124 young soldiers to their deaths in a fruitless war, a grim reflection on Vietnam is moral. Not that bankrupting the country with reckless economic policy is moral. Not that destroying the environment is moral. But they aren't "our" morals, the morals of a Christian Right: the sin of homosexuality; the sin of infanticide in the form of abortion; the greatest sin, of atheism--the separation of church and state. The stark reality of these issues is that, to the public at large, Christian religion is morality.

The horror I saw in those fundamentalist Muslims chanting Allah Akhbar, I now see in our national chant: Let Freedom Ring. Not that I equate their barbarism with our nation's actions, but because both chants have been emptied. When we forget that words and phrases are merely symbols, we run the risk of taking those slogans as ahistoric truth. Freedom has become part of the Good, and any ends justify its means. The Neoconservatives and the fundamentalist evangelicals seeing their own hands in the coming of The Rapture (a funny word: coming from the Latin raptus--a rape or seizure) have fortified their positions and now, I fear for my country.

I can't forgive my countrymen, but I should, for they know not what they do. They have taken stories as Truth and have failed to see the greater Truth that comes from the telling. They have learned to see the world with an uncritical eye, and as a consequence, we live with consequences of our national actions. I hope that Bush will get through the next four years without harm to our country. I fear that he won't.


It's a little past 11/3, but the following events and thoughts took place then. This election is soul-crushing. Although I made allusions above, I'll be more clear here: I think that American theocracy is dangerously close. Depending on the mid-term elections, we'll know if the American public is willing to trust a Republican government to execute (in every sense) God's will. Why would I make such a wild statement? I was listening to NPR on my drive to school and was amazed to hear a woman, a Bush supporter, make a completely oblivious statement about the divine right of kings. If this quality of thought is indicative of the intellectual climate surrounding Bush's election, I am terrified for my country and for the world.

Speaking of school, the climate was upsetting. A material presence of dread lingered in the air. The beautiful weather we had been having over the weekend has now collapsed into torrential rains (starting 11/2) and a plunge in temperature. If I believed it were a "sign" of disapproval, I would be rejoicing at Bush's victory. On the human level, my professors seemed more afraid than angry. That very fact frightens me just slightly more than the aforementioned NPR caller. These people have complex political views, driven more by reason than ideology or faith (in my opinion), yet they understand this election as catastrophe. Whether their reaction is as overstated or understated or accurate as mine, I can't say right now. I lack the perspective.

As a final note, my mother is extremely upset about the election. She feels that my state, Illinois, has betrayed her by voting for John Kerry. I get the feeling that her sense of being wounded is nearly as great as mine. Hers is the Republican outrage at the losers, at the underdogs for daring to challenge their throne. Hers is a belief that God has appointed King Bush II, a warrior-priest-prophet. The right's anger is a righteous indignation for which I will never forgive nor forget. The right has a blind faith that it is right, a faith for which it would forsake God and profane His name.

I explained my vision of the country's direction to her, pointing out our joint blindness concerning Iraq as an anecdote of our country's deterioration. She feebly fell back upon the Bush talking points then refused to speak any more about the election. Though this writeup is full of fear, her response sinks my heart the most, but not because of my personal relationship with her. The willful ignorance, the appropriation of human responsibility unto God, those traits which I fear is the growing ideology: they destroy my faith in America. They empty our nation's symbols. They make the eagle a raptor, a brutal hunter. They make the flag a burial cloth. They make freedom ring hollow.

An Open Letter To The Democratic Party Leadership

Two out of the three states I've lived in this year went to Kerry. I guess I wasn't in Ohio long enough to make that difference. Give me a break, I've only been here 4 days!

So, yeah. Alot of people very disappointed, and very angry. I'm disappointed, but not that Bush won. I'm disappointed in the Democratic Party for losing. They lost, Bush didn't win. There were a million issues they could have used against that douchegimp, but they bitched out. The DLC decided Kerry was going to be another Bush-lite, just as Al Gore was 4 years ago when IT DIDN'T FUCKING WORK, EITHER. Oh, our strategy failed? That's OK, we'll try the same thing again, but harder this time!

Well, Democrats, I gave you a chance. I'm still registered independent, but by this time next year that won't be the case. I had hoped you all would give me a reason to have faith in your political acumen and ideals, and you let me down. Enjoy your short spiral into oblivion as the GOP stomps your asses again and again. Me, I'm finally going to let myself support causes I actually believe in, instead of just opposing ones I don't.

Let me give you a tip before I go, though. People don't want to have to choose between two shitty things. That whole "politics of optimism" thing that Edwards was crowing about? That's what people want. They want something to believe in, to care about. They want to VOTE for someone who cares about something. Remember Dean? The one you crucified? People loved him. He stood for something, and he got excited about it. Remember Wes Clark? The general who knew damn well how badly screwed up our war-fighting policies are? People liked him, he knew what he was doing and, again, cared about it. Kucinich? That funny little guy no-one took seriously? Well, he's been re-elected in his home district, so lots of people obviously do. I wonder why, again?

No-one really cared about Kerry. Kerry didn't really care about anything. He tried to stand for everything all at once, pretending he was being "nuanced" when in fact he was just a gigantic pussy. I'd rather his wife have run, thanks very much. At least she has some fire.

Although I do not choose the word "homosexual" as a label for myself, others do, and many of them hate me for it. More common than overt hate, though, is subtle hate. Discomfort. The "Not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that-but-just-don't-try-to-cram-your-gay-philosophy-down-my-throat" set; the set that pretends to themselves that passive hatred of "homosexuals" is better than active bashing.

This election is a huge disappointment to me.

The gay-marriage thing was never important to me per se. I am a thinker; I see the gay-marriage amendment as thoroughly over-politicized on both sides. Bush's Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage was never even close to becoming a reality, and this was known by all (educated) parties from day one. Bush put it forth for political and symbolic reasons, and it became a "wedge issue," forcing politicians to take a stand on a subject whose eventual implications were, and for the foreseeable future, always will be, only political, not legal. It affects very few people, it's an emotional issue, it exposes deep philosophical differences-in-approach of the American population, and yet it isn't nearly as important as many other things on the national agenda. It's a lot like flag burning in that regard. It is a red herring; a tool to get people angry, excited, and politically vocal. It probably encouraged a lot of Presidential votes on both sides; (which is ironic, since both Bush and Kerry had the exact same position on the matter of gay marriage, even though only Bush "supported" a Constitutional Amendment to prevent it. . .) And nonetheless, a President's position on gay marriage doesn't have any important effect on the legal bottom line; at least not right now. Of course, gay-marriage referenda are a different story, though. Those do have the potential to affect daily life for same-sex couples.

All of the above is to preface what I ultimately have to say about the matter. I just want to make it clear that I am not blindly and reactively angry, and I don't see the political field as one in which 'only homophobes vote for Bush, and if you don't hate 'homosexuals', then you must vote for Kerry, period.' It isn't like that. It's worse.

It's worse because the simple-mindedness by which many Americans approach the issue of gay marriage is the same simple-mindedness by which they approach the War in Iraq, abortion, gun control, International relations, France, taxes, education, social security, medicare, and anything else I can think of. I have yet to be pleasantly surprised by the amount of thought the 'average American' puts in to any issue. Of course, I must rush to add that I don't necessarily know any 'average Americans,' and I am not in any position to evalute this matter objectively. I have only anecdotes, and the plural of anecdote is not data. But shit, man. My fears are not data-driven. All I HAVE to go on when it comes to my future in this country is the information I've derived from my experience. So in my estimation, the average American voter is not an independently-thoughtful, principled, compassionate person with deep personal convictions and love in his or her heart.

The average American voter, as far as I can tell, believes that disagreeing with official government policies is unpatriotic and even deserves punishment. The average American voter, as far as I can tell, is driven not by love for all people, (or even all Americans), but rather by hate for those who disagree with him. The average American voter has made up his mind on every important issue long before any discussion ever started. The average American voter thinks God likes them more than He likes me, even if they SAY that "God loves all people equally." Sure, He may LOVE us all equally, but I mean, hey, He'd rather go get a beer (but not get drunk, of course) with the Methodists. God, says the average American voter of my understanding, would prefer to love 'homosexuals' from a distance.

Insofar as Bush's proposed anti-gay-marriage Amendment motivated Americans to vote for Bush, this year's election serves as a startling symbolic, public, humiliating reprimand of we Americans who have chosen to partner with persons of our own biological sex.

The average American, it would seem, is afraid of what same-sex couples will do to American values.
To be sure, that fear is mutual.

I am so very disappointed in this election.

I lost my bid for Forsyth County District Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

When I found out that there were no candidates on the ballot for the position, I thought I would be a shoo in. I immediately began a long and grueling grassroots campaign to write me in that consisted mainly of me standing on the sidewalk and yelling for passerby to "Vote me for Soil and District Water Conversation Supermabobber!" and that "A vote for me is a vote for dirt!" I thought I was doing really well when a grizzly redneck in a pickup truck drove by and stuck his middle finger out of his window while yelling "Fuck you, hippie!" I assumed he meant that I was number one.

But lo and behold, when the write-in election results came in today, I had only one measly write in vote. That vote may or may not have come from me. Even Ralph Nader got more votes than I did.

I lost by a 3 to 1 margin to Mickey Mouse. I lost by a 5 to 1 margin to Hugh Jass. I lost by a 8 to 1 margin to Seymour Butts. I lost by an 18 to 1 margin to some joker named Jesus Christ, who, frankly, I suspect isn't even a resident. I have it on very good confidence that he's from Nazareth. I don't think that's in Forsyth County. Hell, I don't even think that's in North Carolina.

Screw this. I'm demanding a recount.

N.b.: I'm sorry if this seems choppy, but the fact that I'm practically frothing at the mouth in an intense fit of pique doesn't lend itself to logical thought.

Is It Time to Secede?

....or at least emigrate? Proud Massachusetts-that bulkwark of blue state-dom-is one of the best states in the country to live in. Good economy, good schools, good public transport, healthy cities, livable towns, culture, the arts, science, etc. Most of the blue states are this way. Take a look at the map of the US. With the exception of the Frost Belt, the country is, essentially, two golden bookends holding a crap sandwich together. I don't understand it. I just don't understand it. Why should the fates of New York, California, and the like be dictated by the so-called "Heartland" of America, where ideogouges manipulate the population with "family values". I, for one, am sick of that pointless, vapid dogma. Every other Western country is making social progress, and yet we lag behind, actually taking steps backard, dragged down into religious extremism.

Don't you guys know, don't you realize, that Bush has been the worst President in modern history? More jobs overseas, with our new jobs being at places like Wal-Mart and McDonald's? The tax cuts that will further bankrupt Social Security, which, in turn will be ruined by privatization? The erosion of our civil liberties under the Patriot Act? A pointless war and a rule by fear? The US as a global pariah?

I don't get it. I just don't get it. And I'm not the only one. Almost half of us are totally against Bush, and we are all sick and tired of being embarassed, ashamed, and angry. It was time for a change.

Now, I feel extremely angry. I feel like it's time to get the hell out. Too long has our fate been decided by the misinformed. Too long have we been ashamed. And now we must stand, idly by, as our country-the pride and joy of the Western world-descends even deeper into madness, misery, and ruin.

Or Is There Hope for the Future?

Of course, I don't mean to make this an impotent collection of rants. We are not totally powerless. Yet. I don't know what to think. The Republicans now control all three branches of government. This will be called "Black Wednesday" in many liberal circles.

Despite it all, however, there are glimmers of hope. Barack Obama. The Senate gain in Colorado-evidence of a political thawing in that state. New Hampshire, finally coming into line with the rest of New England. And then there's Bush's Cabinet, most of which is on the way out. So while the short term bodes ill for us liberals-and I gladly and openly apply that to myself-there are islands of hope in a sea of dispair.

Time for a Change

No, I'm not talking about the Kerry slogan about change for the nation, though I do agree with that. I'm talking about the Democratic Party itself. We've sacrificed our liberal values on the altar of public opinion. You know what? The status quo sucks. You know what else? "Mainstream values" suck, too. I don't think that being in line with a nation that loves Survivor, SUVs, Wal-Mart, and Britney Spears is anything to pat yourself on the back about.

Truth be told, the Democrats used to stand for something. Say what you want about the GOP, at least they have a consistent message. And we should adopt one too. The Democrats flourished in the twentieth century because we represented hope and change. And change doesn't come from supporting the current public opinion and pandering to different segments of the population. One of the reasons we lost, in addition to the right-wing extremists and their misguided flocks out there, is that we appear as a many-headed Hydra, trying to be a million things at once.

It's time to stop that. It's time to take a stand, once and for all, even if it's unpopular. Fiscal responsibility. Good education. Environmental protection. Peace. Gay marriage. Gun control. Universal healthcare. These are good things, worth fighting for. If only we could stop pussyfooting around, and really adopt a truly liberal agenda, I think the population would catch on.

Stand for something, for God's sake.

The High School Dance Scenario

Think of the electorate as a really pretty girl at the high school dance. You know you love her. You know you will treat her right. All you want is a dance with her, to show her that you care for her and will treat her like a goddess. Shakily and nervously, expecting rejection, you sidle up to her.

"Want to dance?" you ask, avoiding eye contact.

She sneers just a little. "Sorry, no," she says.

Just then, in walks the class asshole. He's left other girls crying and brokenhearted in a corner of the room, beneath the whirling disco ball, sobbing into red plastic cups of Pepsi. This guy's a jackass and a half. He might even be a woman-beater-he's definitely taking 'roids to make varsity.

He walks up to your girl. "Hey, baby, let's dance."

"Sure." They take off to the dance floor and you're left alone, sobbing into your Pepsi.

What went wrong. In a word: Confidence. That nerd sobbing into his Pepsi is us, the left. Divided and confused, we're bumbling around while the girl walks away.

I say that's got to stop. You never get girls, or votes, that way. Remember Howard Dean. Be wrong, be right, but at least be something. If the Dems can learn that, then we can truly win. If we show the misled in this country that we mean business, the idea of social progress will filter through the "red" states, and eventually bring them aroud. Show them an alternative! Show them an alternative, for God's sake, and they'll know. They'll see! It's just like every 80's teen comedy: Just be yourself, and you will be fine.

What's the worst thing that could happen? That we lose the Presidential election, and control of all three branches of government?

Uh, I think that just happened. So enough already.

Long Day's Journey Into Night

THE NATIONAL NIGHTMARE CONTINUES



Dear god, we, the citizens of the United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave, re-elected George W. Bush to be our president for another four years. What a nightmare.

Bush the younger was a harmless chimp before September 11, 2001, but the destruction of the World Trade Center towers made him think he was a real leader.

This was never the intent of his original election. Four years ago, in 2000, we voted for him because we knew he wasn't really presidential material. He was just a boy, a naughty little boy. This was patently obvious to other world leaders, who ignored him and planned their foreign policies around the United States, rather than in coordination with it. They tolerated his visits to their country. It was like Curious George stepping out of Air Force One and talking to them. They smiled politely, and then breathed a huge sigh of relief when he left. His advisors were running the country. Surely Curious George the presidential chimp couldn't go too far astray.

Sept. 11th kicked the naughty little boy in the ass. Suddenly we all became very much aware of how many loaded guns this naughty little boy had at his disposal, when he trained them on Afghanistan and then later on Iraq. When he went to war on Iraq - a completely unprovoked military action which did not threaten the defense of this country, nor any other liberal western democratic country - without bothering to build a coalition of forces, we knew he was a dangerous man who thought he had a mandate from God and the right wing to clean house on a world wide scale. Poor Curious George was too stupid to see the political realities in all their messiness in Afghanistan and Iraq - areas of the world where a war can never be declared to be truly won in the classical military sense of the world - nor could he realize that there was never any hope of establishing a true American style democracy in the Levant. The limits of his intelligence were becoming apparent. The dogmatic nature of his aides and handlers was becoming more so.

It was one thing, however, to do stupid things abroad. The rest of the world has always been America's outlet for its own violence and dunderheadedness. But the Janus-faced Bush administration also turned its attention to the freedoms of U.S. citizens here at home. The Patriot Act was rushed through the legislative bodies, ostensibly to make this country a more secure place. However, in the name of internal security we have allowed our congressmen and senators to abridge our liberties by permitting our own government to have much more information about our identities, movements, and communications. The Republicans claim they would never use these powers against loyal citizens. Pardon me if I remain a bit dubious.

As long as stupid people run the government, there will be mischief-making and loophole-taking.... and you will suffer.

The Department of Homeland Security was created to draw together disparate organizations within the federal government, most of whom were comfortable in their existing chains of command, and make out of this human hodgepodge a truly truly scary bureaucratic monster, answerable to seemingly no one. It will cost an amazing amount of money to coalesce these organizations, and the effort will continue largely without oversight because no one knows, EVEN WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT, what the mission or outcome of this hydra-headed monster ought to be. I see daily the effects of the DHS on my own organization. They're not taking the best and the brightest. They're taking the most available.

*sigh*



The Constitution is a very subversive document--worth committing to memory--that and the Gospels--both often quoted, rarely read, even more rarely grasped - doyle

I used to memorize poems when going on long training runs. T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Milton, John Donne, Matthew Arnold, Shakespeare... all memorized one stanza at a time.

Our own beloved Dr. doyle has an even better idea: memorize the Constitution of the United States. Excellent plan. We should all know what our civil liberties are. They aren't rights. They're what we all agree too. They're what the courts interpret. They're what the House and Senate can amend. We should know and memorize and love and cherish what we have before we amend this most precious consensual document.



You know, my father came to this country in 1953. He was an officer in the German SS, an elite soldier in an elite military unit full of nobility and pride, that was the instrument of execution for the most inhuman evil institution modern mankind has ever known. He saw firsthand the abridgement of civil liberties in the name of the greater good, and what an empty roadmap that was. It brought the horror of war to his beloved country. The apres-VE-day victory brought looting, rape, extreme hunger, unimaginable misery. It was the stuff of nightmares my parents did not talk about, because they wanted to end the nightmares with themselves. War is a terrible thing, more terrible than you can imagine.

He loved this country. He remembered the kindnesses of American soldiers. He loved the stories of cowboys and indians and stories of the Westward migration, the endless land and the open skies. He moved here in search of a better place to raise a family. He made his sons hold their hands over their hearts when we sang to the flag. In every way possible he made us love and appreciate this country.

My father is rolling over in his grave at what is happening to the United States.

On September 11, 2001, I was shocked. I was afraid of what I didn't know, and unsure about what the future would bring.

On November 3, 2004, I am simply scared, scared of what is obviously coming... a new revolution in my country.

The Republican Party now controls everything. The White House, all the executive agencies, the Congress, and a (slim) majority of the Supreme Court. Within four years, their mandate can only grow broader. William Rehnquist will be gone; his successor will be chosen by George W. Bush and confirmed by a very Republican Senate. The Democrats' leaders have all lost credence; the opposition is ragtag. Barack Obama is a tiny success, but he carries a huge burden on his shoulders, the burden of bringing the party through the next four years and coming out alive.

We know what conservative Republicans believe. They believe in low taxes and minimal government services. They believe in a huge military deployed across the globe, a thousand points of light tied to the fingers of an unstoppable superpower. They believe in purifying America from atheism, homosexuality, abortion, and other affronts to the God of the Old Testament. They believe in redistributing income from the poor to the defense contractors.

Sadly, most Republicans don't believe in all these things. They vote for the party and they get the whole package. They might want better education and cheaper health care, but they don't vote for it because they're afraid of weakening the country, or offending God, or paying higher taxes. So they end up with a Republican nation, and all the baggage it brings.

No country is perfect. But consider this: America has never been so solidly Republican in the last eighty years. Eighty years ago, Plessy v. Ferguson was still law, minimum wages and securities regulation were rare, and social security was unthinkable. Eighty years ago, the rich grew richer while the country grew closer to economic ruin.

Now, the clock is turned back. Law and economics will intermingle. Americans will keep living in fear of today and tomorrow and the day after. The fear of change, of death, of destitution, will keep them under the Republican umbrella until somebody leads them out. Who's it going to be? Will it be Obama? John Edwards? Hillary Clinton? Howard Dean? Or will it be someone we don't know yet?

We have reason to be afraid of what is certainly coming: the Republican Revolution of prophecy. And we also have reason to be afraid of what is unforeseeable: how long the revolution will last, and how complete it will be by the time it is thwarted. That's why my fear of 11/3 is deeper, stronger, and darker than my fear of 9/11.

Words cannot express how disappointed I am with this election.

It's not just the Presidency, though I am astonished that George W. Bush managed to win a majority (albeit a slim one). To think, if John Kerry had only taken Florida...

I could spout conspiracy theories about the electronic voting machines; that they were rigged to produce a favorable outcome for the Republicans. That would be pretty foolish, though. Even if it were the case, there's no way it could be proven. Hence the problem with them in the first place. But I digress.

But there's more than just that. The whole country seems to be becoming more and more conservative. The Republicans gained seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Eleven states passed amendments to their constitutions banning gay marriage (eight of those included gay civil unions). In my state of Arizona, Proposition 200 - the so-called "Protect Arizona Now" initiative - was passed, which is essentially a license to treat any Hispanic person as a second-class citizen when they come to a polling place or an unemployment office. And not only have more Republicans taken seats in the state legislature, but most of the moderate Republicans were booted out in favor of hardline conservatives.

Somebody on a forum I frequent suggested that all the blue states should secede and join Canada. (If you look at it geographically, it would work; all of them - except Hawaii, for obvious reasons - are in groups that have at least one state adjacent to the current border, and no red states in between them.) It was a joke, but frankly, I think we all might be better off that way. I've seriously considered immigrating myself, once I graduate. At the very least, I need to move to a more liberal area, like Berkeley or Ann Arbor. Someplace where it doesn't feel like I'm alone in all my views.

On another note, I daylog way too much.

Poor, poor Yurei. He is injured.

I will not pass out. The world is dilating into a black and white circle. I will not pass out. Sound comes as if through a coffee can. I will not pass out. Pack my box with five-dozen liquor jugs. I will not pass out.

Applying pressure to the point of impact, I manage to stagger forward up the hallway.

I must go to combat.

The North Koreans are out there somewhere. Fucking Kim-Jong Il.

Liquid falls away from my forehead, audibly smacking into the floor to leave inch-wide circles of perfect crimson. It dawns on me that there is someone pulling on my arm, and in response I lash out with the hand that was doing a moderately good job at staunching the leak. The arcing motion slings more blood onto the wall, the cabling in the ceiling and down the front of the Combat Systems Officer. He is less than amused and begins shouting very unimportant things that are a million miles away from anything of which I am aware.

I must go to the Combat Information Center.

I must tell them to launch the bird. The crypto is good. The link is up.

I fixed it again.

I am very lonely.

I am getting very cold here.

Reaching out to the wall for support, I lurch forward and leave a bloody comma on the painted steel.

I have a job to do. Now is not the time for weakness.

Shivering on the couch at 0243 EST all of this floods back in a pounding tsunami of memory. Bathed in the blue-white phosphor glow from the Sony, I sit still drawing breath and slowly tracing the custom depression in my skull provided by the USS Vandegrift. Korea and 1998 spin away slowly, leaving me with the mumbling of Wolf Blitzer. Staring at the television, I notice two things.

254.

252.

Home, still in gray.

It would appear that for the second time, my vote shall not be counted.

I was in the Persian Gulf in 2000. Onboard the USS Shiloh and while supporting sanctions put in place at the end of the First Gulf War, the election passed us like the windblown sand over the waters. The supply officer onboard Shiloh decided that there was not enough food to feed the Air Department night shift, so midrats for the 1900-0700 folks consisted of a pan of peanut butter, a pan of jelly, a pan of rice five hours old, a paper cup and a single plastic spoon. Bring your own drinking container, as we don’t have enough of those either.

Slowly plowing through seconds, (hey what do you want me to do, it was a Strawberry and Chunky night,) I watched in absolute horror as avarice hijacked an election.

Only later did I find out that the vast majority of the military absentee ballots were never counted.

I have gone to great lengths to avoid bringing dishonor to my family, my country and my service. I have offered my hand to the maw, taken an invitation to dance and come home again and again. I have given my soul to these ships, these aircraft, and the oceans over which they ride. I have buried good men for the cause of freedom, and watched like many others as fools martyred still more.

Now I find that these unsolicited gifts, and the even greater sacrifices of the millions of those that wore these uniforms before my time are completely wasted.

People are dying in Iraq. Human beings, like you, are having their heads forcibly removed with machetes.






I want you to savor this imagery for a moment.

Really put yourself in their place.






Ride with me. Reap the whirlwind.






Imagine the cold cut of the blade as it pulls at your skin. The utter disbelief that this is actually happening to you. Metal cuts deep into your larynx, severing the vessels carrying blood to your brain. The whole of the world reeks of copper as blood fills your mouth and showers down from what can never be put right again. Convulsing involuntarily, you manage a gasping choke on a mixture of vomit and life as the world begins to gray out. Trying to cry out one last time, the efforts are lost to fading consciousness and the horrendous white-hot pain of a thousand suns. Mother, father, God, Allah, and Yaweh, all this is muted by sickening gurgles and the continued sawing of the blade.






You are very lonely.

You grow cold in that place.






So Nick Berg, Kenneth Bigley, Paul Johnson, Jack Hensley, Eugene Armstrong, Shosei Koda, and your two dozen fellow victims, the United States of America wishes to speak personally to you in your hour of need.

Fuck you. Because we have voting guides from the Christian Coalition of America telling us where to put our money and our mouths.

Fuck you. Because we are far too worried about those faggots getting married to concern ourselves about a little thing like the end of your lives.

Fuck you. Because we can’t have those carpet bagging liberals running the show, they might meddle with our Faith Based Initiatives.

Fuck you. Because we can’t afford to allow women to make decisions about their own reproductive systems.



Most of all, fuck you because we need to stay the course.

Today I'm depressed. I'm depressed about the state of our great nation. There are still more ballots to be counted in Ohio and the results are still officially up in the air, but it appears that we likely know what the result will be. We are America and we have a problem, a problem called George W. Bush.

Now we are staggering, senseless, around the world stage haplessly destroying other parts of the world. We have alienated most of our friends and we are on a path to self destruction. It looked like perhaps we would have a moment of clarity, but it seems we are not ready yet. We are still full of too much anger and fear. We are unable to face the truth about the situation. We are unable to admit we have made mistakes. We are stubborn and unwilling to change our ways. It seems, like so many people in their lives, we must engage in more self destruction before we can realize how bad things are and how much we need a change.

A lot of people have said they want to leave this country if Bush wins. They can no longer stand the madness. It's true, I can't stand the madness that our country is going through. Sometimes it makes me want to scream, and sometimes it makes me want to leave. But sometimes when you love someone, even if they are being a jerk, destroying themselves, and hurting you, you just can't leave them. So no, I won't be leaving the USA. I will sit and hope that one day we will come to our senses, one day we will realize what we are doing to ourselves and finally be ready for a change. As it seems we have learned yesterday and many have learned in the past by hard experience, you can't force that change no matter how obviously it is needed. The madness must run its course and only then can we try to make it better. Until then all we can do is work to make the facts as obvious as possible and wait for people to pay attention.

So now I sit in despair, but I hold out hope: I hope that one day soon we will give up on hatred and embrace love, give up fear and embrace courage, give up on ignorance and embrace enlightenment. Our country has made a turn around many times in the past. It did so after the Civil War and the Great Depression, and we can do it now. We have had many dark periods in out country, but we have always come to our senses and continued to progress toward a more free, a more equal, a more perfect union, and I have faith that this period of madness will end and we will continue that progression.

As I said, right now we as a nation are unwilling to face facts. The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that Bush supporters were overwhelmingly misinformed about the situation in Iraq. Most are misinformed about the findings regarding WMD in Iraq, the connection between Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda, and about what world opinion is on this matter. These are not subjective issues of belief, they are misinformed about the hard facts. I can only hope that many of the people who voted to continue down the dark path we are traveling did so only out of ignorance, because ignorance can be remedied. We had wonderful voter turnout yesterday, which is the first ingredient of a healthy democracy. First people must vote. We have achieved that. Now the electorate must be informed, so we must work on that. If we can achieve both, then we as a nation have a bright future.

I may have been disappointed in the results of The 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. However, I am not disappointed in the American people as a whole.

I was not eligible to vote because I'm a Canadian citizen of course, but I watched the US election closely because of issues like fair use, Microsoft and the Department of Justice, Carnivore and a few others that directly related to my job in computer security. I believe the majority of American voters disagree with my views on these and many other issues.

However, and this is important to me, I was pleased with the American people as a whole. I am pleased that there was a decisive win for George W. Bush, that Senator John Kerry conceded defeat gracefully, and that this election was not decided by a court of law.

Most of all, I am pleased that over sixty percent of eligible voters exercised their rights.1 Though I may disagree with over fifty-nine million American citizens, I am grateful that over one-hundred-million American citizens, out of at least one-hundred-eighty million eligible to vote, did so. It was a good showing.

Obligatory Blame Canada Rant: The other fifty-five-point-eight million Americans and their families are welcome here. :-) Just make sure you don't vote for another Stockwell Day after you become citizens. He's much worse than Bush. Trust me.

1. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/president/

I see the beauty that God has created, and I love

Armed with Color Me Badd, high heeled black pumps, Shug’s signature lipstick, a wish, a prayer, some hope, trust, and with a little help from my friends, I’ve made a decision. It doesn’t matter. What, you ask? Anything. Tomorrow will give you the chance to try again. And if you fuck it up again, then it’s a good thing that there’s a day after. God has been so good to me. I mean, yeah, shit's happened. But you know what? Shit happens to everyone. So I’m over it. Any questions? Good. Madame B said something interesting. We were singing, “Too Much I Once Lamented.” And Aubrey asked what ‘lamenting’ is. Instead of rattling off a standard-dictionary explanation and carrying on, our exquisite diva of a maestro said, “Sit sit sit” in that fun Bulgarian accent that sounds like “seet seet seet.” And she gave a little spiel about love. And yes, it was your typical, “when-you-disassociate-yourself-from-someone-that-you-care-about-it-hurts” song-and-dance…but you know what…somewhere in there it touched me. About how you don’t have to stop loving the person. I never have to forget about Willa. I just have to know that she won’t be the last. And that trying to find people to take their place won’t make the pain go away. You’re only lying to yourself. You can’t work, or sing, or do homework, or sleep it away. You just can’t. I mean, yes, you can do the work, or singing, or homework, or sleeping to your broken heart’s content, but that’s the point, really…the bitter pill of irony that you just have to swallow. There is no such thing as a “broken heart’s content.” You can put on the mask of happiness, but to really become that happiness, you have to heal. And it’s okay to hurt. You’re not “damaged goods.” You’re not broken, and you’re not worthless. You’re just a little bruised. Like apples or bananas. I mean, who makes banana bread out of ripe bananas? No one. You wait until they’re not as cheerily yellow, when they look like they’ve had the living shit stomped out of them…and then you make banana bread. Squished grapes make wine. Bruised apples make the sweetest applesauce. And imperfect people make the best friends. Because they know what it feels like to be human and have flaws. And they don’t care.

Sometimes the world is OK. Like when you've got hot plates waiting for you when you return at midnight from a twelve hour mounted patrol (the third in three days), along with letters from Jake, some fourth graders, and a complete stranger from Ohio. Like when you're watching the day's filth and grime run down your tired body and into the shower drain.

Like when, your belly finally full and your body clean at last, as weary as you are, you put on Rilo Kiley's "Spectacular Views" and sit in the cool desert darkness for a while, watching the F/A-18s take off on white plumes of fire, chased by their own booming voices.

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Somewhere, I am sure, there is a grinning puppetmaster, much like the mad doctor in Bride of the Monster, chanting "Pull the Strings!" over and over again in some monstrous Eastern European accent. It's election night in America and something is seriously amiss.

The pundits are both excited and miserable. No more can they wantonly call states the way they used to. No, good heavens, the great gods of instant cable tv news have been taught humility and patience, thank you, Ms. Harris - for your crooked ways have given eyes to the blind and ears to the deaf while making them dumb. Now, like Frankenstein Monsters every last one, they lumber through their boring numerical recitations with their mantra, "We just don't know, it's too close to call, there's not enough data, we just don't know."

One thing is almost certain though. This election is going to close the coffin, probably, on the great bugaboo of American politics of the last forty years. Apathy. That notion that the populace is too apathetic to get a collective hard on for the polls. Too absorbed in themselves to get out there and vote the night away. Reports are in from everywhere. Polls near where I am were open at least until 10 PM, despite officially closing at 7:30. Lines stretched around blocks and then around more. One precinct in Ohio made history as the longest recorded voting line in history, and finally closed at 3AM Wednesday morning.

All of this surging interest in the wonders of the American Electoral Process can mean only one thing:

It is going to be the greatest Legitimization of The System since Richard M. Nixon took office. Just let that sink in. No matter who wins, the System is Back! In Black! Don't call it a comeback!

The two main parties in this country, and their varied and wonderful corporate sponsors, have now shattered all the old, useless illusions of the past. First, the idea that the Democratic Party is a progressive institution, dedicated to beating swords into plowshares, rehabilitation over punishment, diplomacy over guns, and a chicken in every pot has been reduced to "pre-emptive strikes aren't all that bad!" (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0409250111sep25,1,7098310.story?coll=chi-news-hed - reg req - try registrationbytes, tribune). Barack is Gonna Obombya!

On the other hand, the fiscally responsible days of Republicanism are also a faint memory, swept away with the brutal hand of a man and his merry band consumed with robbing from the poor to feed the rich.

On yet another hand, the idea that any serious threat from a third party political candidate can be mounted. Yes, Ralph Nader is upwards of 7000 votes with his paltry campaign. It will be interesting to put that up against the Prohibition Party or Workers World Party when all the numbers are really crunched, sometime early next week.

That's right. All the old glory of American Politics is back! That is, if you live in a swing state and/or you don't know enough about history and politics to see what has happened. We've all lost. Every last one of us. We've been sold out by whatever party we used to hold dear - or we've watched them swept under the rug like so much Whig Dust or Know-Nothing Balls.

Watch out, America. The enforcement of voting was a key part of Saddam Hussein's claim to democracy and legitimacy, as it was in the former Soviet Union. Twenty other nations have compulsory voting. You've stepped a long way toward that this year, as making non-voters seem almost criminal has shown. Why have the government infringe upon free will when you can just have the people do it themselves? There will be record turnouts in many parts of the nation. We may see the first turnout of more than sixty percent in years.

It's legitimization of Empire.

And you all thought I was just blowing smoke.

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