If there is one thing that Audubon Park is about it is joy. The joy of playing solos, the joy of making noise, the joy of friendship. Overall, we are a pretty joyous bunch.
But, today is an awful day--one that I am personally having a hard time getting through.
But, the wrong thing to do is withdraw--to accept our defeat and turn our backs.
Yes, I am disappointed.
Yes, I am angry.
Yes, I am mystified.
But we--as people who still believe that social justice is attainable, that equal rights for all people is not immoral, and that each American--no matter what their philosophical persuasion--can get along and work together for the benefit of our country and the world--need to make a louder, more joyful noise so as to make ourselves heard over the dull roar of disenfranchisement and discrimination, over the din of greed and oppression.
I have asked myself all day what else were we to do. Didn't we do it all. We registered new voters. We got the voters to the polls. But somehow, it wasn't enough.
We can't let this discourage us. There is still happiness to be had in this world--we just need to work harder to find it. There is still hope in this world--we just need to strive harder to protect it. We need to start work on the 2006 and 2008 elections. We need to focus on our communities. Where we see poverty, hunger and discrimination, we need to reach out and give some of the happiness and joy that we all find in ourselves and each other to those that need it more. The next four years, I fear, are going to be devastating for those at the bottom of the American social order. We have to be there to help them.
Yesterday, while volunteering for MoveOn outside a polling place, Jennifer and I befriended the Republicans volunteering there. They were obviously a little sketched out by us at first, but by the time the poll closed we were all getting along and having a nice time. Of course, this was during a time when I was pretty confident that Kerry was going to win, but it was the most incredible feeling. It was a time when I really felt that I was making a difference. These two Republicans were going to leave that night with a better idea of what liberals are like.
Bush won, but he didn't win by a lot. Most Americans, no matter what side of the vote they ended up on, want the same things essentially. We need to help them see that this administration is not Conservative.
It is not Christian.
It is not Moral.
It is a perversion of the values that it pretends to hold dear. It is our duty to help those that can't see this understand. No matter what, I still believe that most Americans, when you can talk one on one can agree on most issues at their core or at least come to some understanding of each other.
I am pretty sure that I am stupid for thinking this--America has such an awful history of injustice (against the world and against ourselves)--but there is something essential to it, something deeply ingrained, this idea of America, that, even if it hasn't ever been achieved, even if it has, to date, failed spectacularly, there is an idea of what America can be that I think we can achieve.
This country prides itself on being a country where you can start with nothing and succeed. A country with a document, the Constitution, that protects the liberties of its citizens. A country that was born as an underdog that defeated a juggernaut. This self concept of America runs contrary to what this administration stands for: advantages to the rich, but not the poor; a Constitution that takes liberties away; more power centered in the hands of a few, reaching around the world to protect our interests with no regard to the repercussions. But it is because of this American Myth that I still think we can achieve something greater than we have yet. The idea is there. We need to make it real.
We can't give up.
The flaws of the administration were laid bare before us--and some chose to turn their eyes away and proceed as though they knew nothing.
People can close their eyes, but they can't close their ears.
"Don't Mourn, Organize" from Daily Kos
Sen. Elect Obama's speech from the DNC
War is on the Stereo by the Nein