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The Outlook On 11/3
As I ponder what it's going to be like to live in a fundamentalist nation (unofficially fundamentalist, perhaps, but increasingly fundamentalist in policy), where the national wildlife refuges are about to become gas stations and coal mines, where "a woman's right to choose" may soon mean between a coat hanger and an beaker of bleach, and all the rest that a Bush presidency will likely hold...I looked around for a little balance, and found some, posted by "Meteor Blades" on Daily Kos:

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. Its only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I dont think the Democrats should make the attempt. And Im not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. Im talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.

Not a few people have spoken in the past few hours about an Americanist authoritarianism emerging out of the countrys current leadership. I think thats not far-fetched. Fighting this requires that we stick together, not bashing each other, not fleeing or hiding or yielding to the temptation of behaving as if whats the use?

Its tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our countrys history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.

After a decent interval of licking our wounds and pondering what might have been and where we went wrong, we need to spit out our despair and return united - to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us. Otherwise, we might just as well lie down in the street and let them flatten us with their schemes.

Posted by aalkon at November 3, 2004 8:44 AM

Comments

Hi Amy, I'm sorry for you that Kerry lost. But we all have to agree that the record-breaking voter turnout is an overwhelming success for the democratic system of government and for Capitalism. Regardless of the election outcome, America will survive as a free democracy, where the leadership is subject to the will of the people, and where our voices will be fairly voiced through our congressional representatives if not always through our president.

Posted by: Tom at November 3, 2004 8:19 AM

Tom, I wish I could be as sure as you are...but I can't. Read Yurica.com, and other sites about how the irrational primitives behind Bush want to turn America into a fundamentalist nation -- and how they plan to go about it. Paul Weyrich, for example.

Moreover, I was never a Kerry supporter -- thought he was an unfortunate choice -- but as a fiscal conservative, I could never vote for the spendthrift in the White House, and as a person who is rational -- I could never vote for a man who takes orders from an imaginary friend -- using this information to attack Iraq when we're attacked by Osama Bin Laden...oops...did we forget our promise not to "nation-build"?

Bush is an embarrassment -- says so many ugly things about our country that he was elected. Kerry, too, is an embarrassment -- but a far lesser one...and a safer and fiscally smarter one.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 3, 2004 8:45 AM

"...the record-breaking voter turnout is an overwhelming success..."

It's exactly as Priss says in "Blade Runner," "Then we're stupid and we'll die."

Posted by: Curtis at November 3, 2004 8:59 AM

HEY! What's this lying around shit? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbour? Hell no! And it aint over now. When the going gets tough...

The tough get going! Who's with me? Let's gooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

-John "Bluto" Blutarsky

Posted by: Eric at November 3, 2004 9:07 AM

I'm happy-stem cell research passed.
you also mention Ron Reagan Jr.
I got a piece in USA Today supporting his support of stem cell research.
You and you're Hollywood friends should encourage him to run for office. He's smart, got name recognize and most importantly he is not only secular but an out and out athiest. Just what we need. As to his being gay I don't think it would harm him in a state like California, where I think he lives. Speaking of being gay-here's one Lena should like-How do you get Ron Reagan jr. and three other guys to sit on the same barstool-simple-turn it over.

Posted by: chris volkay at November 3, 2004 9:21 AM

I think I'm working my way through the -- what is it, five? -- stages of grief, a la Kubler-Ross. I'm only partly joking. All we losers can do is hold our chins up and keep doing our good work, whatever it may be. I hit the ground running this morning with my writing. And I look fabulous.

PS: Chris -- that's an old joke from the 1980s (like your hair). Personally, I don't find the leg of a barstool quite thick enough.

Posted by: Lena "the sun'll come out tomorrow" Cuisina at November 3, 2004 9:36 AM

> Who's with me?

That's SENATOR Blutarsky to you, bub.

Posted by: Cridland at November 3, 2004 10:41 AM

gee I thought my hair was from the 70's.
i wear it the way i like it, period. I'm aware that it's out of style, i'm not a follower of fashion or trends. I'm proud that it's supposedly out of style.

and at least I show mine, where's yours, lena the gutless, lena the closet dweller, lena the little girl pussy. have the guts to show yourself. just look at amy, she shows herself, it's her bhat mitzvah picture, but nontheless she's got the courage to show herself at 13.

Posted by: chris volkay at November 3, 2004 12:02 PM

Oh relax, Chris.

Posted by: Lena the little girl pussy at November 3, 2004 12:05 PM

Okay, I'll relax, but ive broached this before-why no picture? Either you look like quasimodo OR there is no lena, just another bogus blog persona created by somebody. If you're real-why no picture? Are you afraid rednecks are going to chase you down and kill you? I can see that happening wtih street hookers and the like, but you sound like your fairly well-heeled(but poorly healed in other ways) and would be cloistered behind the gates of safety. after all as an epidemiologist you'v e got to make very good money. not that anyone will ever know why.

Posted by: chris volkay at November 3, 2004 12:18 PM

If you're real, why no punctuation?

Posted by: Cridland at November 3, 2004 12:36 PM

It all comes down to money, Chris. I would lose funding if my real name was attached to the things that Lena says. Compounding the economic issue is the fact that I do indeed look like Quasimodo. I mean, Quasimoda. Actually, I look like Stan Laurel. Yes, it's that bad. Really.

Posted by: Lena the well-funded closet case at November 3, 2004 12:38 PM

Sorry, make that: "if my real name WERE attached" Hello! Subjunctive!

Posted by: Lena the gramatically challenged at November 3, 2004 12:44 PM

okay-fair enough-now I know
And to clem(crid) I guess you arrived late here so I 'll answer your question. Why no punctuation, proper spelling, typos etc. because I write fast, don't have the time to go back and check it, and more importantly don't give a damn what mutants like clem who hang their toes in the water and play bango from the film deliverance think about my punctuation and spelling skills.

Posted by: chris volkay at November 3, 2004 12:53 PM

And punctuation requirements would only block these quick, sudden flashes from cinematic history! I betcha Joan of Arc didn't use punctuation either. That's why she had the time to see all that neat shit in the trees. Same with Allen Ginsberg. Visionaries can't stop for semi-colons.

Posted by: Lena the beatnik chick at November 3, 2004 1:01 PM

"we need to spit out our despair and return united - to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us."

I was saddened to see that we as women could not come together to protect ourselves and our children. We all must work even harder to ensure that our choices, our rights, our beautiful young sons and daughters of military age are not taken from us.

Posted by: Teddi at November 3, 2004 1:37 PM

Why should we protect only the "beautiful sons and daughters"? Just because a kid is ugly doesn't mean we should send him off to die in the Mideast.

Posted by: Lena, Bastion of Justice at November 3, 2004 1:55 PM

You are too funny! No of course not, don't even send the ugly ones. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: Teddi at November 3, 2004 1:58 PM

The scary and disspiriting thing is, this time around Bush didn't have
to cheat to win (as far as we know). That 51% of the company has seen
the same horrid chimp the last 4 years that we have, and they want
*more* of him.

America just voted *for* Abu Grabe.
America just voted *for* the Patriot Act.
America just voted *for* Guantanamo Bay.
America just voted *for* The Pet Goat.

Some may see this as an incomprehensible, narrow victory by Bush for a
deeply divided electorate. I guarantee Bush sees it as an overwhelming
endorsement of his last four years, and a blank check for the next
four.

This is going to be a very dangerous four years.

F.

Posted by: Frank at November 3, 2004 3:55 PM

Thank you Lena
finally someone understands what is is to be a creative genius awash in a blog of the...well...let's just leave it there.

Posted by: chris volkay at November 3, 2004 4:53 PM

Hey, Frank --

Maybe you should add "America just voted *against* Gay Marriage." The left-liberal intellectualist cultural-elitist cabal is now saying that opposition to gay marriage is what drove racial minorities to Bush/Cheney/Rove. Conversely, it was sexual desire that drove me to Barack Obama. He is soooo fine.

-- Lena

PS: y'all need to lighten up. get back to work. bend over. something! just stop licking your wounds. the slurping sound is making me wretch.

Posted by: Lena at November 3, 2004 5:11 PM

"To the Students of the Workers' and Peasants' Faculty"
by Bertolt Brecht

1
So there you sit. And how much blood was shed
That you might sit there. Do such stories bore you?
Well, dont forget that others sat before you
Who later sat on people. Keep your head!

2
Your science will be valueless, youll find
And learning will be sterile, if inviting
Unless you pledge your intellect to fighting
Against all enemies of all mankind.

3
Never forget that men like you got hurt
That you might sit here, not the other lot.
And now dont shut your eyes, and dont desert
But learn to learn, and try to learn for what.

Posted by: Lena, the Optimistic Leftist Commie-Pinko!!! at November 3, 2004 5:16 PM

*sigh*

It sucks but now the hard work of attempting to preserve any remaining shred of intelligence and decency (and by decency I mean tolerance and so on) in the old U.S. of A. Gearing myself up to start working on reproductive rights and keeping my beautiful, in spirit, nephew from being drafted along with som many other young Americans.

Posted by: Sheryl at November 3, 2004 7:09 PM

You'll find several inches of Lena (no, not THOSE inches!) in the photo of the wastebasket. PS If Lena did not exist, neither would I. For about a year, the only reason I didn't wither away was that Lena brought me ice cream, grilled chicken, and cooked cauliflower with cheese. I get to the grocery store more often these days -- when I'm not frightened away by men's hairy bare toes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 3, 2004 7:43 PM

You'll find several inches of Lena (no, not THOSE inches!) in the photo of the wastebasket. PS If Lena did not exist, neither would I. For about a year, the only reason I didn't wither away was that Lena brought me ice cream, grilled chicken, and cooked cauliflower with cheese. I get to the grocery store more often these days -- when I'm not frightened away by men's hairy bare toes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 3, 2004 7:45 PM

Hi Sheryl --

I have a fabulous nephew too. My sister is hard at work getting him dual citizenship (U.S./Ireland) in case of a draft. And if he needs to dodge the draft anytime near when a Federal Marriage Amendment passes, I just might leave the country with him. I couldn't live under a Bush-ified Constitution that defined me as a second-class citizen. But in the meantime, I'm going to try to dedicate my heart and mind "to fighting against all enemies of all mankind" (see poem by Berty, above). Care to join me, Sher-babe?

-- Leener the Weener

Posted by: Stow-Away Lena at November 3, 2004 8:41 PM

> I write fast, don't have
> the time to go back...

I can dig it. The sheer, punishing responsibility of your fractal, onrushing genius forbids you from sharing it with others. But we, your devotees, are not just grateful, Chris... We're PROUD of your sacrifice. Do wacha gotta do, babe.

> Same with Allen Ginsberg.
> Visionaries can't stop
> for semi-colons.

Ain't it the truth? Every twenty seconds there's a new fuckwit who forgoes the rigors of clarity and then says "Don't fuck with me! I'm ee cummings, man!"

Remember kd lang? No? Just as well.

> America just voted *for*...(xyz)

For the last 10 months, when asked why they were supporting Dean/Clark/Badnarik or Kerry, friends have said "Because he's NOT Dubya!" Now this, their own absence of nuance, is projected to a statiscal majority of the voters, who thought they were full of shit.

> ... I guarantee Bush sees it as
> an overwhelming endorsement...

Unfortunately, this is probably true. If the numbers from 2000 didn't humble him, yesterday's certainly won't... They are, after all, greater than the margins of 1960, 1968, and 1976 (hat tip Volokh).

[BEGIN SNARK]

God, what a dawn this morning. The breeze was gentle, the birds were chirping and I just felt... Well, dammit.... I just felt pretty!

Anyone wanna bet that "Tony" Scalia's Chief by February? As some blogger put it, yesterday was a two-for-one sale on branches of government.

[END SNARK]

This is going to be an interesting four years. Try to be patient with me.

PS- I've been through this before, in Reagan's 1980s, which I spent in the Ozarks and the Deep South. Free advice?

OPEN YOUR MIND.

Posted by: Cridland at November 3, 2004 9:20 PM

"You'll find several inches of Lena (no, not THOSE inches!)"

Unfortunately, I don't think that the word "several" could really describe "THOSE inches" of mine.

"Six inches forward and five inches back
The train is coming and I'm tied to the track
I try to get up but I can't get no slack
I got an angry inch, an angry inch!!"

Posted by: All Lena is Hedwig. All Hedwig is Truth. Thus, Lena is Truth. at November 3, 2004 10:03 PM

clem- offers me free advice
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
fuckwit-to use your parlance-
go take a walk into your cement pond
til your straw hat floats

Posted by: chris volkay at November 4, 2004 8:08 AM

"Hi Sheryl --

I have a fabulous nephew too. My sister is hard at work getting him dual citizenship (U.S./Ireland) in case of a draft. And if he needs to dodge the draft anytime near when a Federal Marriage Amendment passes, I just might leave the country with him. I couldn't live under a Bush-ified Constitution that defined me as a second-class citizen. But in the meantime, I'm going to try to dedicate my heart and mind "to fighting against all enemies of all mankind" (see poem by Berty, above). Care to join me, Sher-babe?

-- Leener the Weener
Posted by Stow-Away Lena at November 3, 2004 08:41 PM "

Alas Lena, I've tried that but so far he insists that he doesn't want to give up his citizenship. I may have to bop him on the noggin and stash him in a steamer trunk.

Posted by: Sheryl at November 4, 2004 6:16 PM

"he insists that he doesn't want to give up his citizenship"

Has he thought about what he might have to give up if he gets drafted? He could lose a lot more than citizenship.

I friggin' adore my nephew. I'd lose my mind if he got sent off to war.

Posted by: Lena at November 4, 2004 7:46 PM

Well, pray Charles Rangel doesn't move to LA and run for office. He's the one who wants the draft. Geez, people, wise up.

Posted by: rachel at November 5, 2004 1:44 AM

What's with this "mandate" business? It was 51-48. Hardly a sweeping win. We just need a better candidate, Amy.

Posted by: Alex Epstein at November 5, 2004 5:33 AM

I had no idea that Rangel wants to reinstate the draft. By the way, what's with the "people wake up" comment? Who are you, Paul Fucking Revere?

Posted by: Lena at November 5, 2004 10:06 AM

I know Lena, I know. He's an idealistic 17 year old, full of hormone driven liberal patriotism. The kind of patriotism that stands up for civil liberties in a country where that's fast becoming unpopular. Maybe I'll drug him and whisk him off to the Guatemalan cloud forest. Any other options?

Posted by: Sheryl at November 5, 2004 6:54 PM

Lefty Rangel's enthusiasm is backhanded, presuming that rich & powerful (white) Americans will be disinclined toward foreign entanglements if their own blood is at risk.

I suspect this is one of those sick little presumptions that's taken root in my lifetime. It has a kissin' cousin: The youth vote, when finally tapped, will be liberal. But we notice that it NEVER HAPPENS. It's sure didn't happen this week, did it? Did we all remember to send roses in gratitude to Puff Daddy for his Vote or Die t-shirts?

Let's exclude Somalia-type ventures for the time being, though many watching Darfur this week would rather we didn't.

This war, an elective venture to fundamentally change the course of human destiny, has so far cost 1100 lives with a like number grusomely maimed (+/-). Is there ever going to be a war, something clearly worth fighting for, with fewer casualties?

No. So then you have to wonder, are peaceniks morally serious people?

More to the point, in a fat 'n' happy mindframe where so many Americans think all the wealth and safety in their lives just appeared magically, we'll never have a conflict like WWII where everyone in the country including the President had sons in the military. That doesn't mean every death is My Lai.

Posted by: Cridland at November 5, 2004 7:42 PM

Alternating now back to the Nephew Fan Club... Sheryl, mine is a little idealistic freedom fighter too. A 13-year-old kid with a girlfriend who's also an outspoken supporter of gay marriage. I am so not worthy!

Posted by: Lena at November 5, 2004 7:55 PM

Reviewing now (too late to fix typos), I can't help but notice that Sheryl got it PRECISELY backwards, and presumed Rangel's intentions were propelled by hormonal "patriotism." And I hate to bring it up, but why are lefties so fascinated with interior lives?

> What's with this "mandate" business?
> It was 51-48. Hardly a sweeping win.
> We just need a better candidate, Amy.

This is precisely correct.

Posted by: Cridland at November 5, 2004 8:01 PM

Sheryl was talking about her nephew's hormonal patriotism, not Rangel's.

Posted by: Lena at November 6, 2004 6:23 PM

Oh...

Nevermind.

Posted by: Cridland at November 6, 2004 8:35 PM

Lena,

We are blessed aren't we? Talked to my nephew last night and it's off to Canada he goes if things go south. Thank heavens! Glad he finally saw the sense of it.

Posted by: Sheryl at November 8, 2004 3:19 PM