2004-11-05 - 11:38 a.m.
So, I haven't let on that for most of this week, I've been blonde. Yes, I know that on certain gender technicalities, I should call myself a blond, but I feel far more blonde than blond.
Now, when I say blonde, I mean that my hair has been this yellowy-pinky-orange. I've gotten compliments, but it may just be people being nice. The current hair color is the result of my bleach job for Halloween (recall that I was Cyndi Lauper) and I have yet to get around to dyeing it magenta and/or blue-purple. I think I might try tonight, as I hope to go dancing this evening and my fellow gay men will have no problem telling me EXACTLY what they think of the hair, so I think I'd better go with something I can feel comfortable with. While I can definitely feel the redhead or purplehead within, I think there's something about me that just isn't blonde.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm feeling a bit better.
The day after the election was rough here in Berkeley. I woke up and turned on the TV to a still-tied race before hearing seconds later that Kerry had conceded. Let me tell you, I almost didn't post that last entry. I almost posted an entry consisting of the word "Fuck" written 2004 times.
The Notorious MOM called me a few minutes later. She hadn't heard about the concession, so I had to tell her. She was more miserable and furious than I was. See, some people, a number of whom voted for Bush, were raised devout Christians. Others were raised devout Muslims, or Jews, or Shintoists, or whatever. I used to say that I was not brought up religious, but it occurs to me that this is not true. I was brought up a devout Democrat. For my family it is a religion. The big problem is that when you're religion is being a Democrat, you know exactly who The Adversary is at any given moment.
Anyway, Notorious MOM was pissed as Hell and ready to scream. She said, "I'm meeting with the (High-Falutin' Texas Officials) today and they're going to be so goddamn smug and happy about everything and they're going to know that I'm not and I don't want to deal with them and goddamn (expletive deleted) mother (expletive deleted)" and you can imagine the rest.
It's a good thing my grandmother passed away a few years ago. The shock of this election would have killed her.
So, as I was saying, There was no joy in Berkeley, Mighty Kerry had struck out. In many ways, it was comforting. If I had been in high school back in San Antonio, I would have skipped school that day (one thing I loved about Clinton--he made November 1996 a very fun month for me). There was this guy at the coffee shop who asked me about my glasses, and eventually he said, "I was just hoping to change the subject; you look about as depressed as I am."
There was a lot of hugging on Wednesday. Origynelle Gangstre nearly burst into tears when we hugged. Stratford-on-Avon Lady said, "All good people need to hug each other today." Medieval Maven's entire class was a self-admitted group therapy session. A few of my peeps and I went to lunch and spent the whole time trying to figure out what the Hell was going on. I got a call from DivaLawya and she said that all of Phildelphia looked like someone had died.
I gotta say that 80% of Philadelphians voting for Kerry was a beautiful thing.
The whole "looked like someone died" thing seems to be a recurring theme. It has felt like everyone on the left has been in mourning. The worst thing imaginable had happened: Bush won the election fair and square, and with a record turnout. All the strength was taken from our limbs. All we could do was put on some black clothes and pour one another a stiff one.
The litany of mourning can be heard around the country. If you listened in at a cafe in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, or any of the other cities in America that voted for Kerry, you would hear the following phrases: "Supreme Court," "gay rights," "Roe v. Wade," "affirmative action," "tort reform," "prayer in schools," "PATRIOT Act II."
If you were anywhere near me, you heard, "SOMEONE GET O'CONNOR AND GINSBURG ON MACROBIOIC DIETS YESTERDAY!!!"
Truth is, I got scared. I'm still scared, in many ways. I can already hear the sound of the tiny brush as thousands of Democrats white-out "gay rights" from their platforms. I can see them going through headshots of white, Southern, devoutly Christian, anti-gay rights Dems. I can see people like me getting told to put our issues on hold, to be willing to wait four or eight or twenty years in order to get our rights. I know the Democratic Party well enough to know that they fold like rice paper. The Republicans have had their declaration--that this is a nation that cares more about right-wing values than left-wing social policy, that they'd rather be out of a job with kids on the frontlines than have to stomach gay people getting married and women controlling their own bodies--sanctified by this vote.
Well, I'm not buying it.
Sure, the presumptuousness and elitism of the Left has been brought to light like never before. That I'll work with. I will acknowledge that we have to stop treating everyone who voted for Bush as if they were stupid. If you assume someone is stupid, they know, and they aren't going to listen to a goddamn word you're gonna say. We need to stop wishing that the South would secede again and remember that there are good people there--including a number of good liberals--who need to hear good ideas.
We need to stop being complacent. The Democratic Party can no longer make any assumptions about its voting base. Fifty percent of new Latino voters voted for Bush. Yes, that statistic does indeed make me want to throw up and then hang myself, but maybe that statistic is there because Republicans have reached out to Latino voters like no Democrat has in ages. Bush was damn good at courting Latinos in Texas--he sent plenty of letters to The Notorious MOM asking for her support, something that Ann Richards never did--and he has likely taught that lesson to the Republican Party. A greater percentage of Berkeley--BERKELEY--Latinos voted for Bush than Berkeley Anglos. This. Has got. To stop. The Democratic Party has got to make a friggin' effort.
In fact, and I am the last person who I ever thought I'd say this--Democrats need to go to church. They need to start going to those churches whose leaders supported Kerry and turn their churches into the behemoths that sent 92% of Mississippi voters to the polls to ban gay marriage and re-elect Bush. Churches create community, and if there is no alternative to a conservative community, then how can the Democrats win?
See, I've been reading Molly Ivins, and Arianna Huffington and all the other writers I turn to for political inspiration. They remind me not to believe everything that the Republicans say about our nation. They remind me that nearly half of America DID vote for Kerry. They remind me most of all that yes, Bush is going to enjoy four more years in office.
But if we have a voter turnout in two years like we did this year, we might just make the second two years a lot harder. The House of Reps gets voted on every two years for a reason, people.
So, my hope is to spend the summer of 2006 campaigning (I have to spend this summer taking French so I can get my damn degree). I am going to do something I once swore I would never do. I am going to get religion, the religion I grew up with, because God knows that the current peoplee in charge of it can't function for shit.
And if that doesn't work, I'll find some cute Canadian boy and settle down. You can find one for yourself at http://www.marryanamerican.ca
My own capacity for hope amazes me on occassion. There's a voice inside my head telling me that if I think I can even change one Republican mind, then I'm pretty fucking stupid. Well, I've been a blonde this week. If it takes me being a blonde to get back on my horse and fight for this country, then you can pass me the peroxide.
Besides, blondes are reported to have more fun. And, to paraphrase a certain Ms. DiFranco, maybe Bush can keep me from ever being happy, but he's not gonna stop me from having fun.4 comments so far The End - 2005-02-11
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