After Nov. 2

Table Talkers weigh in this week on post-election emotions and the next four years.

By Salon Staff
Published November 12, 2004 5:54PM (EST)

Private Life

Moments of perfection

StephanieL -- 08:37 p.m. Pacific Time -- Nov. 4, 2004 - #648 of 674

One of the things that we hear a lot around here -- in reference to the legacy of the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, women's suffrage -- is that each of us has been paid for. That the rights we enjoy and the freedoms we exercise and the privileges we have were not free, but we deserve them because someone who came before was willing to live, die, and suffer the fight to secure them. The price was named and it was paid. For us. The last few days I've been feeling like they got a lousy deal, like they didn't get what they paid for, like someone's trying to take it all back, no matter how much it belongs to us. Stories of lost votes, my great-aunt being disenfranchised by a nine-hour wait at the polls, and the results of an election that has left us without checks and balances and with hate in the constitutions of 11 states has made me feel like we've been cheated of what someone else paid the bill to ensure we had.

And then this evening I was in a class on postcolonial theory. We spent the two full hours talking about the relationship between our work, which is often accused of being removed from the "real world," and the election results.

At some point in the discussion, it was as if the room shrunk a little, and there we were, 11 women and one man, in the basement of a museum, talking about how to stay angry, reformulate the state, imagine history and time in a way that promises this is a part of something bigger. The professor is a young woman, and with the exception of one, we're all young women who made choices to make this kind of education more important than money or status. I felt the discussion moving through us, all candidates for advanced degrees, and it seemed miraculous.

As the whole world was reduced to the intellectual tenacity of a group of women and each of us sort of glowed, I started to think of the women who paid for this. I started wishing they could see us now. I wondered if they could possibly have imagined that this kind of education and community and participation in the political process was possible. And then it hit me, and I started to grin: This was exactly what they imagined. This was what they paid for, and prayed for, and marched for, and bled for. Suffragettes were force-fed in prisons and bar dykes raped in the back of police vehicles for this. For the possibility that someday I could become a lesbian historian and hear a tenured lesbian professor talk about exactly why our work is politically relevant. Its glory is in its ordinariness, in the thousands of conversations that have taken place just in the last two days. They had the guts to dream it possible, and here I am, living that dream.

And so now I see it's my job -- to take what makes me sob with frustration and transform it into a dream of something breathtakingly ordinary for my daughters and theirs. To pay for them, as someone paid for me.

Private Life

Bad Thoughts V: "Go Cheney Yourself!"

Cat Lewis - 06:37 am Pacific Time - Nov 7, 2004 - #3081 of 3260

I have been watching and reading the gloating and hullabaloo of the evangelicals over Bush's election, as well as the pundits' and columnists' breathless assertions that "values" have won the day. All of this cheering is juxtaposed with a feigned sympathy for "the poor Democrats", complete with footage of weeping young Kerry volunteers. But we are not the losers here. The losers are the Bible-thumping sheep. They are the victims of a con job by a modern day Elmer Gantry, who cynically used their faith as a lever to persuade them to jump off a cliff. They were nothing more than padding, used to prop up sufficient numbers to propel Bush over the finish line and empower him to radically alter the balance of wealth and power in the country, and create a permanent lower class. Their aim is to make sure that never again will a mill worker's son become a millionaire.

And what a con job it was! "Values" issues? Okay, let's take a look at a few of them.

Marriage: Only 8.4 people out of every 1,000 marriage-age people are married. Many people prefer just to live together. Bush pushed "In Support of Marriage" and the sheep ate it up, but what is he going to do? Knock on every door and demand to see a marriage certificate?

Gay Marriage: Guess what? Gays have been living together in loving relationships since forever, just like the heterosexual unmarried partners who live together. Denying gay marriage only means that they will not have the same rights as married heterosexuals -- just like unmarried heterosexual partners. What's he going to do? Knock on every door and demand that couples drop their pants to make sure one has an innie and the other an outie? Abortion: Roe vs. Wade didn't create abortion. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time, and they will continue to do it, regardless of laws. What Roe did was to rescue women who otherwise would have died in large numbers. Roe didn't provide the coat hanger, it merely sterilized it.

During the coming four years, the sheep are going to begin to realize that Bush isn't doing what they thought he would. Oh, he'll try to make new, restrictive laws, amend the Constitution and rail against all kinds of "sin," but when the dust clears and they look all around them, they will see that nothing has changed. Nothing at all. They will not understand that Bush failed them because it is impossible to legislate morality; if they were astute enough to realize that, they would never have supported him in the first place. But they are astute enough to recognize the shrinkage in their own pocketbooks and the hardships faced by their families as a result of Bush's reverse Robin Hood agenda. To the media, I say don't feel sorry for the Democrats. We fought the good fight and when we lost, we were defeated by the other side. Feel sorry for the religious right, when they discover that they have been screwed by their own party.

Divide and conquer.

White House

George Bush, Public Enemy #1, Part XVII

Ernest Fitzgerald, Jr. - 09:41 pm Pacific Time - Nov 4, 2004 - #546 of 824


I am waiting to be (re)discovered
and I am waiting
for the Enlightenment
to happen all over
and I am waiting
for everyone to sit up straight
and pay attention
and listen to what I have to say
and have been saying
and get what I stand for
before it's too late

I am waiting
for the clouds to clear
and I am waiting
for people of faith
to get back
to their first principles
and I am waiting
for all faiths
to just get along
and I am waiting
for everyone to really understand
the meaning of responsibility
but more importantly
when it comes out into the daylight
and I am waiting
for the brave in larger numbers
to stand up
and sing out their complaints
before the destruction begins
and I am waiting
for the good to stop dying
so young

I am waiting
for intelligence to prevail
and I am waiting
for "plausible deniability" to be
removed from the vernacular
and for "nuclear"
of all things
to be pronounced correctly
and I am waiting
for life and death issues
to be taken seriously
and I am waiting
for the end of nonchalance
and the end of the blasé rectitude
toward the suffering and death
of others
halfway around the globe
shown via satellite
and in color
between commercials
and public service announcements

I am waiting
for the fun to begin
and I am waiting for hope
to be restored
and I am waiting
for hate to be rendered
and for love
to look upon tempests
and never be shaken
and I am waiting
for Joy to take over
and show us her wild ride
and I am waiting
for Athena and Aphrodite
to climb down from their pedestals
and get their act together
and take it on the road
this time passing out free tickets
to everyone
and I am
like Ferlinghetti
waiting for everything
and everyone
to make sense
and for the rebirth of wonder
to finally begin

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