Thursday, November 04, 2004

And So It Begins

Yesterday was the first time in my life I shed tears because of an election. And the old Tonio K. song, "Say Goodbye", from his album "Amerika", ran through my head all day, with its mournful melody and achingly sweet harmonies.

"Back up against the ocean; Back up against the wall; Back up against the edge of America, desperate, and heading for some kind of fall..."

Now I vacillate between anger and sadness, and a kind of Zenlike fatality. People all over the internet are angry at Kerry for conceding too soon, or they feel foolish and betrayed for having invested so much time, money, and love into a campaign that failed. There is something else, though, that I don't remember from the last election: a kind of seditious alienation from fellow citizens, and a wall of disdain and helpless fury between the incomprehensible "other" and "us".
We try so hard to understand each other by labeling and categorizing. My categories are not so simple to parse out.

I grew up in middle-class comfort, then fell into poverty before my 12th birthday, went from a modern suburban ranch house to an urban slum. Tom Petty and Pete Townshend sing songs I relate to my life. I've bussed tables and stocked shelves, lost a job for not being sexually available, picked strawberries till my back screamed, drove a cab, stood in a line in a warehouse with co-workers while Immigration checked me out to see if I was dark enough to need a green card. Started out as an artist, worked in the battered women's movement, went on to become a bureaucrat fighting discrimination. Spent time on the streets as a kid, panhandling, went without food for a week once, have been on welfare, and now live pretty fortunately. I've lived in poor rural areas and wealthy urban ones, have wrestled with spiritual issues and been pegged as a Satan-worshipper. I've been refused education because of my gender, and been given a pass because of my race. I love humanity and hate people. Animals are usually a better bet.

Right now I hate them pretty good, these my fellow Americans. I hate their hypocrisy, their yahooism, their self-righteousness, the way they comfort themselves with the nasty cult of their religion so they don't have to face the ugly truth of their own hatred for others, and how they convince themselves that their hatred is actually love and the divine inspiration of their bloody god.

And I'm not even going to deal with Bush yet, because I'm too tired to go on.

We wait and see.

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