Now that Barack Obama has won a decisive victory in the 2008 US Presidential Election, it seems like everyone wants to write or blog about how the Republican Party is "in tatters" or "in disarray" or else how "the greatest conservative ascendancy in over a century has been ruined by George Bush."

This kind of rhetoric, whether born of jubilance on the Left or despondency on the Right, strikes me as incredibly overblown.

Despite the fact that Barack Obama organized and deftly ran one of the most impressive campaigns I think America has ever seen, and turned out unprecedentedly large amounts of black and young voters, and despite the fact that George Bush is just about the worst President in American history by universal acclamation, with unprecedentedly low approval ratings, and despite the fact that he bequeaths to his successor two quagmire wars and a second Great Depression, and despite the fact that John McCain ran an erratic and at times mismanaged campaign, Barack Obama still only beat out John McCain by a mere 6 percentage points.

Only about 7 million more voters, out of a total of about 136 million, voted for Obama over McCain. John McCain still won 23 out of 50 states, including Oklahoma in which he failed to lose even a single county.

America is still as divided as ever, and the amount of voters who will evidently vote their "values" no matter what the political or economic situation is, on both sides, is astonishing.

And given that Barack Obama won this election on vague promises of hope and built his victory on the support of a broad and vaguely defined center-left coalition, numerous members of which will inevitably be disappointed the first time he forms any actual policy, it is scary to think how close the Republicans will already be to getting back into the White House next time, before Barack Obama actually even tries to take on all the massive problems left in his lap by eight years of Republican misrule.

I can't help thinking of Richard Nixon's defeat of George McGovern in 1972, when Nixon won every single state except Massachusetts and obliterated McGovern in the Electoral College, 520 votes to 17 votes.

You want to talk about a "Republican Party in tatters," oh reporters at the Associated Press? The Democratic Party in 1972 - now *that* was a party in tatters.

The Republican Party of today is well poised for a rebound, because the have an ardent and obviously utterly unswayable core of supporters who will vote for them in the foreseeable future, no matter what.

Still, I have to say, this election has restored my faith in the American political system for the first time in eight years. I'm just not sure it has restored my faith in Americans themselves yet.

October was a nightmare. I went to seven funerals. Three people I know well were diagnosed with cancer. A good friend was robbed at gunpoint, and just for shits and giggles, they beat the hell out of him too. I spent that night with him in the emergency room. It was exactly one week after he had buried his Mother. The odds on the punks being caught? Pretty much zero.

Two weeks ago my sister became a statistic. Identity theft. She checks her bank balance online and finds that she has a 4,000 dollar overdraft. The theives made up checks and a photo id with her name (spelled wrong) and purchased who knows what at very high-end stores. The amount of trouble they went through is astonishing and they'll never get caught. The police, while sympathetic, flat-out told her there is nothing that can be done. They took all the information, said they'd follow up, but the criminals will probably never be caught. Her bank initially refused to credit back her funds. She spent a week trying to get her money back and finally an attorney friend of hers made some (legally) threatening phone calls to the bank president and they've promised to restore her funds, and credit the nearly 600 dollars in overdraft fees, within the next thirty days. So, in effect, she was robbed twice. The bank manager told her that the last legitimate check to hit her account was the one she wrote to her mechanic for car repairs. The bank manager said that the mechanics were probably responsible for the account numbers and routing numbers and address information being stolen. "They do this all the time" she said, meaning auto mechanics in general, not this particular mechanic.

And the mechanic in question? A life-long friend of our brothers, my sister and I. I went to high school with his younger brother, a partner in this mechanic's business. My sister lost it with the bank manager and informed her she knew that wasn't the problem and I guess the argument got pretty heated. Idiot woman, that bank manager. Thankfully my sister didn't tell him, or his brother, what this fool woman said. He died last night. Bone cancer. There is a wake tonight, and again tomorrow, and the funeral is on Saturday. He leaves behind his parents, wife, three teen-aged kids, two brothers, two sisters, 15 nieces and nephews, an enormous number of friends and a hole in the universe where he used to be.

It looks like November is going to suck too.

Dear cuzzes and others,

THRILLED beyond speech that Obama was elected.  History in the making.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that a non-white person is in the white house.  For the first time ever I can tell Tess that she could grow up to be president - and not actually lying.

Love his wife (altho WHAT was it with that red thing?  Oy!), and that she doesn't pretend that everything, or her marriage, is perfect - Cindy McCain gave me the allovers - Stepford Wife from hell.   Is she really an android?

TESSIE DANCED HER NUTCRACKER PART ON POINTE TODAY.  First time EVAR.  She's only been on pointe shoes for about 6 months.  The kid is amazing, everyone - she is SO beautiful and expressive on stage, and she says "Mama!  I love dancing on stage, and having people watching me dance!"  (Ulterior motive - those of you here for thanksgiving, you can see her dance in it.  hint, hint, hint, entice, entice, entice.  And maybe even see ME dance in it!  I'm practicing the part of a Party Parent in the first act - depends on chemo, though.)

I had a port-a-cath put in today, and it was a beeeyitch.  Took FIVE doses of painkiller to get it down enough for me to go home.  two pentathol, three vicodin.  It goes like this - pain - narcotic - nausea, narcotic wears off, pain, narcotic, nausea from the narcotic, pain.  Would someone PLEASE invent a painkiller that doesn't make me want to HURL?!?!?  So I'm trying to find the exotic midpoint between pain low enough to handle, but without the hurling part.  Tell me some good fifth grade barf jokes, I might need 'em.

OK, enough of that.

Chemo tomorrow, and they are going to give me the Steroid From Hell to me intravenously, instead of orally.  Apparently this is far less likely to cause the manic jitters I had last week.  So glad they THOUGHT OF IT.  Wish they'd thought of it LAST week. I fricking hate hate HATE our medical system.

My cuz told me about a friend of hers they sent home the SAME DAY as her mastectomy.  They tried to send me home the day AFTER the mastectomy, and I threw a fit.  I was still not really handling the pain, and I was damned if I was going home, where I couldn't tell the nurse to crank up the fricking morphine.  I had the surgery on a wednesday morning, and I went home on saturday.  The treatment of your friend is totally, unutterably fucked.  It enrages me.  It boggles me.  If Obama fixes exactly ONE thing, let it be our medical system.  No, the war.  No, energy and global warming.  Fart.  Ok, three?

I'm the walking personification of the five stages of grief right now, can you tell?  Only she got it wrong.  I can experience them all - denialgriefangerbargainingacceptance - in the length of one e-mail.  Super Speedy Grief Queen!


However, Therese and I, long ago, decided the process was missing two, especially in the grief after the loss of a boyfriend -
Denial, Grief, Anger, Bargaining, BITTERNESS, REVENGE.....and acceptance.

Remind me to post piccies of my fabulous new haircut!

Love you all tons, gobs, buckets!
grundoon

Grundoon's rant about the medical system got me thinking. Why is it that doctors disregard nausea so much? Complain of pain, and if you come off as even half-legit, you get something for your pain. Complain of nausea, and they just hand you a pukebag and say "have fun". Now, I don't know about anybody else, but feeling like I'm gonna chunder knocks me on my ass. There is pain that's worse, like getting a face full of OC, but that's some pretty fucking intense pain.

They have drugs that stop vomiting, so why don't they use them more extensively? Why is the usual advice a dismissive "deal with it"? Why is it that they only consider it a serious problem when it's either causing injury, or there's reams of documentation saying that it's liable to (like with cisplatin or dacarbazine)? Seriously!

Ok, Ok, the drugs aren't cheap, but it's rare to need 'em for a very long time anyway. Why so stingy?

No, no, come back here, I'm not done ranting! The military, now! I'll start with the Navy, since I'm noding what I know. They need to take a good long look at what the hell they're doing. It seems the Navy's whole mission these days is feel-good look-good do-nothing crap. Now, right now I can't give any examples, but oooh, I wish I could!

While I'm ranting, BTW, if I hear another one of these jackasses I work with go off on some tirade about how they'd like to rape one of the prettier women aboard, I think I'm gonna have to kick them into last Thursday afternoon. Or at least put Icy Hot in their underpants. Seriously! I mean, it's one thing to look appreciatively, or even secretly lust after them, but to publicly fantasize about raping them? What. The. Flaming. Fuck. Over? Rapists should be locked in a cold, dark iron box until they die of thirst. Or, if you're feeling merciful, shot between the eyes with a large rifle.

Sorry, this is just a day that's heavy on the fuming.

Also, I know everyone thinks they're cute little things, those ducks, but I think they're sinister! I mean, what do they get up to at night in the park? Think of them waddling around in the dark!*


*Yeah, yeah, shamelessly cribbed from March of the Sinister Ducks, but... but... so TRUE!

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