Every day I sit down at my desk, and for a few hours I try to tell stories and be funny. Every day I read and answer a bunch of e-mails from readers who tell me how much laughter they found in my books. Short of hearing people laugh, hearing that you made them laugh is the best. But the last few weeks I have been hard pressed to come up with anything funny to write down. You’ll even notice that the blog entries have been pretty scarce, and the last time this happened was in the six weeks following 911, when everything I did just seemed trivial in the face of the disaster. And I’m feeling it again because of the election.
The other night, late, I had just finished reading a front page story in the NY Times about 3600 volunteers in Ohio who were going to challenge newly registered Democrats at the polls to try to discourage voting. 1600 of them would be assigned to Cuyahoga county, largely urban and ethnic. Right up front, the Republican party was saying that they were trying to win the election by depriving people of their right to vote. This seemed a just okey-dokey way to go about winning an election to them.
Then I signed onto this bulletin board, and I read the election poll that someone had put up which at the time showed 82% Kerry, 18% Bush, and I completely went off my rocker, wrote a vicious post pointed toward the 18%. A few hours later I came to my senses, was hit with a wave of remorse, and erased the post, I hope in time for only a few to have viewed it.
So here’s the thing. People are going to get hurt over this election. I’m from Ohio, and if someone challenged my right to vote at the polls, after I had gone to the trouble of registering for the first time in my life, I would, at the very least, bitch-slap them. And I am a relatively mellow, Buddhist, tropical island-living Ohioan. If I had to live in Cleveland I’d be looking for a reason to beat someone’s ass every day of the week.
So, that said, you guys don’t need me to vilify someone for his political opinion, and you certainly don’t need anyone to throw gasoline on the fire of divisiveness that’s burning out of control in this country. I figure if you’re reading this board, you like my books enough to come by here, and you enjoy a good laugh. You “get” the humor. You are probably a pretty intelligent and reasonable person. So even if you’re in the 18%, well, I’ve had my crazy moments, you are allowed yours. Or vice-versa.
I ask this, from both sides: tease, cajole, jape, jive, raze, rib, and satirize, but in the midst of practicing the fine art of fucking with each other, here and in the real world, try to do the right thing. Try to think, be perceptive, see things as they are, and do the right thing. As critical as this election is to your own life, and your own agenda, or even, as in my case, your own piece of mind, try to allow the opposition to be wrong. You’ve been wrong before – or most people have — you can allow people to be wrong. You must, in fact, allow them to be wrong and forgive them for being wrong. Because the alterative is to face a nation in which half of your countrymen are idiots. I’m not sure I can get up tomorrow and be funny if I truly believe that.
So, apologies in advance for my extended lack of humor. This may take some time to get past. In the mean time, practice your Christian forgiveness, your Buddhist tolerance, or your human compassion and give your brother’s and sisters a break. They are not the ones who are pissing you off. They are not the ones spouting the rhetoric that rings so falsely to you. They are just as clueless as you are.
As am I.
I have to go chill now. Peace.