Since the election, since the media announced a major coup in the culture war, since President Bush declared a two percent win a mandate, since the head of Focus on the Family started to dictate who will chose our judges, I’ve been thinking. And I think that we all know that no good can come of that. Here’s what I’ve been thinking:
Anger, Denial, Depression, Bargaining, and Acceptance. The Kubler-Rossities of life and death — the five steps of dying, and so often, the five steps one goes through when anything comes to an end. (Who can forget the Anger, Denial, Bargaining and Acceptance that we all went through last season, when Friends and Sex in the City went off the air? We thought that water cooler chat would be nothing but uncomfortable silence — nothing to distract us from staring at the birthmark over the eye of that skinny guy in accounting, now that we couldn’t discuss Jennifer’s new hair-do or who Kim Cattrell blew this week. But alas, life, did, indeed go on. And can’t they take those things off with lasers now? It looks like someone paint-balled him in the temple, gangland style, for Christ’s sake.) So since Tuesday night, I’ve been going through the stages.
Anger. I yelled at the weather, my girlfriend, the roosters in the yard, the lawn mower, the TV (a lot), and some random passers-by who had the bad judgment to drive down my street in a suspiciously Red State-looking rental car. I wrote rants (see previous posts), essays, eulogies (death of hope, justice, intelligence) polemics, and what I think is a new genre, liberal white whines. Friends and I worked ourselves into a frenzy over the phone, something akin to Christian charismatics being “taken with the spirit”, speaking in tongues, daring the Rove vipers to bite us, as we invoked the names of Jefferson, Madison, and Hillary in order to cast out the evil, flight-suited cheerleader. Possessed by the holy ghost of righteous indignation and free evening and weekend minutes were we, and we were pissed.
But no, it couldn’t have really happened? There’s just no way it could have happened. Too many cared, too many turned out, too many saw through the lies. There had to have been a mistake. Oh what dangerous rapids we did ford o’er that most treacherous of Egyptian rivers, the great Blue de-Nile. Nearly drown, we were, in denial. I noticed a lot of nodding among us, as if we could reassuringly bobble-head our way to salvation, if we only agreed with each other hard enough. Alas, we were but passengers in the back window of a stinking cab piloted by a crazed Arab with an RPG and a younger, leaner, hungrier God than our own. No paperless trail would reveal the mistakes, no deus ex machina would righteously pluck the poser out of the palace, we were, most inexorably, fucked.
Then depression set in. There was a fatalistic “to hell with it” among the defeated. Phone messages were mumbled, voices trailed off, everything seemed unimportant in the face of our collective misery. But it was collective misery. We had company! There was a reason that you can dance to the Blues, that you can make love to the Blues, that you can rejoice at the Blues. It’s the commonality of spirit, the shared suffering, the release of grief — keening through twelve-bar progressions in the key of glee. (So that’s why Black people — used to this shit by now — sounded so happy at church, sang so pretty at funerals, and invented the Blues. Nice of them to share. About time we understood.) We found, knew, and became in a single lament. We were the Blues.
Lawd have mercy, if I’d not been born without rhythm and melodically challenged I mighta’ composed me a requiem for a dream, but instead you get this toneless tocatta for a nightmare. (That can happen, by the way, nightmares, if you eat a tocatta right before bed. Particularly a cream cheese tocatta. I’m just sayin’.)
And thus the bargaining began – not with God or man, but with ourselves, as we tried to somehow set the terms that would make it, perhaps not all better, but tolerable. They would see, when enough farm boys were ground up in the desert of Iraq, teenage girls were squatting over coat hangers in alleys, when their grandchildren were born owing enough to buy a Yankees center fielder, when the trees were gone, the air was brown, when they were all dressed in rough-cut burlap and Broadway was silent because all the Gays went to Canada — then we would show them the face of righteous social justice. We would rescue them, let them beg us to take our country back and run it for them. Apologize, they would. Dig a giant hole and drop all things Bush into it, covered with concrete and imprinted with warnings to future generations to never ever dig them up. The name Bush would be expunged from all documents, and chiseled from our monuments, like Aknatan, the Pharaoh who dared bring mono-theism to the Eqyptians, whose name uttered aloud brought down a death sentence for a five-hundred years after his execution. Even arboreal reference would be forbidden, so in the land of the free we would have to merrily go round the mulberry shrub, and a woman’s pubic patch would ever be know as a curl-meadow. Only then, then we might feel better.
Or we could move to New Zealand. For days you could walk up to any random Blue-stater and get a price quote on a three bed, two bath in Auckland, Sidney, or Vancouver. (Toronto’s too cold and Montreal is, well, it’s Fucking French, isn’t it? I mean, at least with the French in France you get France, but French in an Ohio-like setting? Don’t think so. And fuck me, I only know how to say orange juice and pizza in French. How am I gonna be culturally elite?) But with no binding arbitration by a vengeful God willing to smite the shit out people using his name for their own political ends, the bargaining broke down,.
So can we move to the final stage, acceptance?
I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it a lot. And what I’ve come up with, after much pondering, and with consideration of the teachers in Oregon who were arrested for wearing “protect our civil rights” shirts, and the kid in Missouri who was arrested for posting a “If George Bush is King, Off With His Head” bumper sticker on his car, and with no little concern over that F.B.I. computer program called Carnivore (Atkins Diet-based program), which scans the internet for threatening language…
I’d like to make a modest proposal…
AN IMMEDIATE CHEERFUL OVERTHROW OF THE US GOVERNMENT
Let’s go, people. Let’s see a great big smile, you’re on camera. The revolution will definitely be televised.
[Editor’s note: The photos of Chris’s torture by guards at Gitmo are still on the way, but he wanted me to let you know that when you see the redneck chick pointing to his genitals, the look you’re seeing on her face is not mocking, it’s shock and awe, baby, shock and awe. ‘ target=’_blank’>