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04 November 2004

Don't mourn . . .organize

So, yesterday I stayed home from work, taking a day's vacation to chill out from the stress and to be able to watch the election returns as obsessively as only a Scorpio can without feeling guilty (intense loyalty, even to shitty jobs, being another possible Scorpio trait, or maybe that's my Taurus rising.) I didn't expect two things - I didn't expect Bush's win to be so decisive and I didn't expect to feel so sanguine about it. I guess it's a product of having lived through 1972 and 1984 and other similar disappontments. Or maybe it's just age and wisdom. But the relatively early finish to the agony gave me some time to peruse the blogs of the passionate Bush opponents, and there again there was no great surprise. Those whose opposition to Bush was puerile, febrile and ill-informed (and, yes, there are a few of those) had a response in the same vein - I'm leaving the country, going underground, getting really drunk. OK, I admit, in my younger days I had a similar reaction, for about an hour. Then common sense set in - in 1984 I had two kids and adult responsibilities. In 1972, I realised that I wasn't all that grounded anyway so better stay where I am and sort myself out.
On the other hand there were many in the left blogosphere, the ones I consider my real soul-mates, who reiterated in so many different ways that old refrain: Don't Mourn, Organize. I also had a few good e-mail exchanges with friends from Minnesota and elsewhere that went along the same lines.
Unity is another theme that is being played in the aftermath. I have a few observations on that. The left's big problem is and has always been the old circular-firing-squad metaphor. Those feverish, firecracker types I referred to earlier will put a high priority on finding someone to blame. So the losing side (that's us) will not reach out to the winners, and will have to struggle even to stay together with those whom they have infinitessimal stragegical differences with. Sad, but true. Bush, on the other hand, can blithely assume (boy, can he assume) unity in his camp. He speaks, like a good Christian, of building common cause with those Americans who voted against him, and I'm sure he thinks this is the epitome of healing. But wait a minute, can anyone who is so blindly, chauvinistically nationalist be a good Christian? What about healing the gaping wounds in Europe, the middle East and the rest of the world? Speaking of the rest of the world, how about some of that big-hearted love for the planet?
Let's not leave healing and unity up to the neo-cons and the fundies, because their version of unity is oddly exclusive. As for me, I will mourn and organize simultaneously.

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