Fighting the Urge to Channel Burton Cummings

(Originally published on my old LiveJournal.)

I’m sorry, Mike, but everybody gets at least one dejected post-election post.

I am not surprised by the outcome. This is pretty much exactly what I’ve been expecting since Howard Dean screamed in Iowa, if not before. Which is not to say “I told you so”, because a) who needs that shit? and b) I tried to make a point of not telling anyone so. But no, I’m not surprised by the outcome.

I am surprised by how much it hurt. At some point in the last four years, without really realizing it, I must have started thinking of the United States as my country too. At some point, American politics became my own deal, and not just a zany Hollywood blockbuster action spectacle mounted for my wry amusement. “To the thinking man, life is a comedy; to the feeling man, life is a tragedy.” I envy my fellow Canadians back home that cozy Hudson’s Bay blanket of ironic detachment I misplaced somewhere along the way.

Yesterday was our weekly luncheon with various fellows of the Academy. Of course, we talked about the election. I note in retrospect that all the Academy postdocs (who are smart liberal 30-year-olds) were, at noon yesterday, pretty optimistic for a Kerry victory, thanks to exit polls and Zogby and ” promised!” But all the Academy fellows (who are smart liberal 80-year-olds) were decidedly not. There’s something to be learned there.

Ah, well. We find solace where we can: The long view (a historian’s best friend), silly role-playing games, and John Harvard’s tonight at 6pm. Be there!

Edit: God bless Jim Carroll, who just made me feel a little better. And I changed the wording above because it sounded like I wasn’t Canadian any more. I still am. More than ever.


  1. Bush will be able to pick 1+ Supreme Court justices and lord knows how many other benches and thereby set the tenor of the judiciary for the next decade or more. They’ve won. The conservatives have won their stupid ‘culture war.’ They used homophobia, racism, xenophobia and paranoia and gotten what they want- a lock on all three branches of federal government. Sure thye don’t have 60 in the senate, but if Dems block too much the erosion will continue as the Repubs scream ‘abstructionist’ and ‘liberal.’ The cons frame the debates and set the tone. they pick the langauge that is used to describe issues. They hold all the cards. But here’s the silver lining hopefully: they won’t be able to make any more execuses about ‘liberal media’ or ‘gay agenda’ or ‘inherited’ problems or anything. Everything that happens from here on out is theirs. All theirs. The good and the bad. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully they’ve grabbed enough rope to hang themselves. How long will it take people to think with their wallets rather than their bibles? With their rational heads rather than their emotional hearts? I don’t know if it will ever happen, but hope springs eternal.

    Hey, I could be wrong. Maybe tax cuts and deep deficits are the path to fiscal health. I don’t know.

    And maybe being homosexual or deciding if and when to procreate are moral issues, but lying about the reasons for sending my buddies to fight in Iraq or giving my tax dollars to Halliburton or Enron are not. Who can say?

    Oh, and I don’t think I’ll be able to make John Harvard’s tonight- I do have to pick Michelle up in Salem.

  2. Ventura ’08: God Does Not Exist and Will Not Cure Your Alzheimer’s.

  3. I’m telling you, I’m voting for Randy “Macho Man” Savage, myself.

  4. Yup, I blew it. I could say it wasn’t by much — a few hundred thousand votes — but really, the Republican wins in the Senate mean I’d be lying about that.

    You win some, you lose some. From my perspective, which is much more radical than I usually show in public, you lose most. More about the tyranny of the majority later.

  5. Yeah.

    Good post, btw. I’ll try to condense the somewhat cheering conversation I just had into a relatively coherent post later this afternoon.

  6. Well, I really appreciated your cheerleading in the last couple of days. Even if I never quite believed it.

    You’re coming tonight, right?

  7. Heck, I still feel good about it. I believed up until pretty late last night, probably around 11 PM or so. I’m not so good at cheerleading causes I don’t believe in.

    I did file away a lot of my misgivings about Kerry because they weren’t gonna help, and they weren’t relevant to what I wanted to see happen. I think it’s really ironic that some cynical punk like me is better at message discipline than most of the idealistic bloggers out there…

    Oh, no, wait — I guess that makes sense.

    And yeah, I’ll show up tonight. A bit late.

  8. Crap. I’m 100% Canadian and I’m seething up here thinking about the crushing of liberalism that the Republicans are about to do to America over the next four years. Hello Roe vs. Wade. Goodbye civil liberties.

    Please come back home Robert and bring your nice leftist American friends with you. We’ll all sit on my couch, smoke some decriminalized weed, celebrate a gay wedding and breathe a huge sigh of relief that we’re not in the US as it sinks into the abyss of religious fundamentalism.

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