Thursday, November 04, 2004

Just Can't Wrap My Brain Around It

Just can’t wrap my brain around it. I wish I hadn’t got my hopes up. Six months ago I was still of the opinion there wasn’t much hope of a regime change for America, seeing as how dirty a game they play and how intent on keeping their power they are and with what distain they hold the constitution and what contempt they hold the voters.

But I allowed myself to hope as I got deeper into the progressive blogs and online publications. There seemed to be a strong and growing movement with a lot of prominent voices and a lot of fresh and creative ideas and a lot of money to go with it. Someone is supporting these web sites. Many are still shoestring but most of the ones I visit regularly are not. Someone with bucks is funding them. And even if it is mostly readership contributions, that would mean the support for their agenda is strong and growing. So why couldn’t Kerry ride that tide? Unless it is because he remained so camouflaged the progressives couldn’t identify him as one of theirs. He does seem to be more in tune with the corporate agenda than the common man. And he doesn’t articulate his views in a manner easy to understand and hard to misinterpret.

And Cheney used the word ‘mandate’ in his acceptance speech this morning. The arrogance is astonishing. Just can’t wrap my brain around it.

I just had an eerie flashback to an incident on October 12 as I was walking home from the bus stop after going into town to register to vote. I was feeling so optimistic and so pleased with myself for having braved so many of my fears to make the excursion to the county clerks office. As I was walking down the drive leading into the trailer park where I live, there was a gentleman walking past, whom I don’t remember ever seeing before and haven’t seen since. He could have been any age from forty to sixty. He was wearing a baseball cap that shielded his eyes and my own eyes were shielded by sun glasses. He was speaking as he passed by and at first I did not realize that he was speaking to me. But he paused and waited as though for a response so I turned to look more directly at him but he averted his eyes and repeated what he had been saying three more times in the sing-song voice of the Rain Man. “Bush is gonna win. Bush is gonna win. Might as well put yourself in the garbage can. Bush is gonna win. Bush is gonna win. Might as well put yourself in the garbage can.” He was staring straight at the bottom half of my white cane as he then asked as though it must be a given, “You’re for Kerry, right?” and it occurred to me that he was addressing me as a fellow disabled person.

I stood still as he continued speaking. Now he was quoting in meticulous detail the results of polls from the TV. I wanted to reassure him that the polls were not definitive. That there were so many reasons why they could not be relied on: bias in the questions, bias in the fact that only those with home phones get polled and then only if they answer--think of all the answering machines screening calls; bias in the fact that only those registered to vote get polled and only those who actually voted in the last election get counted as likely to vote this time. So many assumptions are so many divergences from fact into supposition. But all I could do was nod and say “There’s still hope.” But he shook his head as he wandered on his way continuing to intone, “Bush is gonna win. Bush is gonna win. Might as well put yourself in the garbage can.”

I was spooked a bit by that encounter at the time. Now I get a chill remembering it. Can’t help but think that little Phoenix, Oregon has got its very own prophet of doom. Or was he even real and not a figment of my sleep deprived imagination? But to the best of my knowledge I’ve never hallucinated in broad daylight before. :)

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