I thought this was appropriate to post today. This is something I wrote November 3rd, 2004 after working for the DNC for many months. It is absolutely amazing how different I feel today.
I tried so hard to stay up last night to see who would take Ohio. At 1:30am I switched from channel to channel, looking at the little box in the corner that had Kerry’s electoral count, CBS: 199, NBC: 199, ABC: 199, UPN: 199, CNN: 199, FOX: 144… I later turned to the internet, clicking to refresh yahoo.com, watching as the margin narrowed, 55%-45%, 52%-48%, 51% to 49%. Eventually, I fell asleep, literally dreaming of the red, white and blue map, all that RED, and the blue surrounding it, just a decorative border to that stronghold center.
I woke up this morning, and the results were loud and clear, and all I could think was: what the hell happened? I had all day to think about what happened. They say, let the best man win. A man who we’re not really sure won the first time around. A man whose 2000 election beat-over-the-head catch phrase was the “Energy Administration” (the same administration that later oversaw gas prices rise to $2.50 in some states). A man who, despite snorts and smirks (“I know the difference Senator Kerry! “) clearly does NOT know the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. A man who invents imaginary weapons, loses real weapons, distorts, manipulates and lies to it’s people. A man who urges us to be fearless while ruling over us with fear. OR A man determined to erase the permanent marker of the last 4 years. A man who swore he identified with the middle class worker’s strife, but never wore a blue collar or wandered the economic ‘middle’ a day in his life. A man who used his 3 purple hearts to win our hearts. A man who was not confident enough in the grey area we all understand, and, therefore, could not convince us of black and white. We did not have the best to choose from. And we should.
I respect John Kerry and the campaign I supported, the Committee I worked for, sometimes 17 hours a day, trying to convince the American people that all the sappy phrases, the ‘mill worker’s son’, the ‘help is on the way’ were going to lead us in the right direction. I believed it when Barack Obama knocked all of our socks off. I even believed it when I was locked out of the fleet center, day four of the convention, minutes before Kerry’s speech, begging the Secret Service to PLEASE, please, just let me back in to do my job and hear what he had to say. I wanted so badly to hear that the next four years would be better. Maybe even the best. I am dissappointed and disheartened with the decision the American people have made and the direction the nation is headed. I know that this sounds sappy and dramatic, but, for someone that has just recently begun to better understand the importance of the political process, let me have my lightbulbs dangle overhead. Like I said, we did not have the best to choose from. But we deserve the best. Now, we know we have to fight for it.
Recently, I read an article that said, if the 2004 election ballot read BUSH or NOT BUSH– NOT BUSH would win. That makes it clear to me, that the American people are passionate, not necessarily about a man, but about a concept or an idea. They want to see their ideal realized. Every day, we have to fight for what we believe in, rather than who. That is what is most important.
I was so disheartened by that experience that I did not get involved in this year’s election campaign at all. And I am more saddened by that than I was November 3rd, 2004. And so, it’s happening. Today is happening. And I ask you. Did we get what we believe in this 2009? Maybe so…everybody. I certainly hope we did.