I took some solace, other than the bottle, in a documentary recently about the legendary Joe Louis - Max Schmeling boxing matches of the 1930s. For those who don't know, Louis was one of the first boxers to break the color line, and after a string of easy victories, was touted as the greatest fighter of the century. But before he could face the world champion, he came up against Max Schmeling, a former darling of the Weimar crowd in Germany. The Nazis, then in power, hardly cared about the fight; Schmeling was a has-been and a known associate of Communists, gays, and Jews. That is, until Schmeling won, knocking Louis out in the 12th round.
The Nazis then celebrated Schmeling, bringing him home in the Hindenburg and throwing a big party in Berlin. Louis was crushed and torn apart in the press, but he beat the world champion easily; the only thing left was a rematch. It was the greatest fight in the world, and the first time that white Americans rooted for a black man, against Schmeling, fighting for a government that had just taken Austria in the Anschluss. 70,000 people crowded Yankee Stadium and the entire country stopped to listen to the radio that day in 1938, with even streetcars stopped and movies interrupted for the fight. It lasted less than two minutes of the first round, with Louis beating poor Max to a pulp.
One newspaper said, "there was never a Harlem like the Harlem of last night. If you take a dozen Christmases, a score of New Year's Eves, a bushel of July Fourths maybe, just maybe, you'd get a faint glimpse of the idea." It was our first notion that we, or anybody, could beat the Germans. Schmeling, of course, went home in disgrace, but he never joined the Nazi party, hid some fleeing Jewish friends during the war, and ended up owning a Coca-Cola plant afterwards. He even met Louis again in the 1950s and they became friends. Aw. Can't we all just get along?
Here's an absurd thought: Is it romantic to say, "I have a folder just for you on my desktop?" My computer is like a little village, with folders full of e-mails and photographs dropped into larger and larger community folders. Yikes, I need a vacation. Maybe I should move to Hawai'i and become a bartender.
Okay, onto the screed....sorry to rebut some of you, but that IQ chart was a hoax:
Chart shows relationship between 2004 electoral vote result and voter IQ
Not that I had the slightest doubt, listening to Bush speak about Palestine with Tony Blair looking dopey beside him, that he's one of the most idiotic people we've had in any high Government office, forget President (thanks, Sergei and Mrs. Chance):
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
- H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Thousands of Americans and sympathetic people around the world (although they seem mostly to hail from Canada, France, England, China and Austria) are posting their apologies and good wishes for the survival of human race at this site...take a look, it will make you feel better (thanks, Lucas, Ellen and Miles):
I especially liked these:
More pep talk for the fat man himself:
17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists
By Michael Moore
And more bitter remonstrance against those Southern bastards who perpetrated this obscenity against us (thanks, Ellen, but sorry, Mom, Mrs. Chance and Miss Amy):
Could we blame it on the residue of the Civil War? Well, maybe and maybe not (thanks, Lucas):
This Southerner, I think rather sadly, took it a little too hard:
Man commits suicide at Ground Zero
A 25-year-old Georgia resident who was apparently distraught over President Bush's re-election shot and killed himself at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
Perhaps he should have had the cynical humor of this guy, who wrote this letter to the LA Citybeat:
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Morning After
I gotta say, as somebody who couldnÂt bring himself to pull the lever for either of those mutants, Kerry and the Dems have no one to blame but themselves. Until they get hip to the fact that relying on unions, minority groups, porno stars, and stoners to carry their water is a doomed strategy, weÂre in for a lot more of the same. While I
have no doubt you stand behind calling Bush Âinnately evilÂ [ÂWorld Leader Pretend,Â Oct. 28], that kind of rhetoric is just not gonna wash Â . It didnÂt work on Clinton and it hasnÂt worked on Bush. More importantly, you canÂt just write off the middle of the country as a bunch of well-armed anti-sex and rock ÂnÂ roll Jesus freaks (whether thereÂs more than a whiff of truth to it or not) and expect to consistently win national elections even with an unpopular war and body counts Â especially when itÂs Barbra Streisand thatÂs complaining about it and not the families of the dead bodies.
I admit IÂm still befuddled by the incredulous decision to invade Iraq as some sort of response to 9/11, but this deal with the Islamic world is gonna come to a head at some point, sooner than later IMHO, and Iraq is gonna be the tip of the Popsicle. To tell the truth, IÂm just glad that this whole fucking bummer of an election is over, so while we still have the fallout to deal with, at least we donÂt have to listen to the platitudes, smarmy analysis, and the other intolerable bullshit that accompanies our seemingly interminable campaigns. Until people revolt against the phony creeps that constitute the Âparties,Â itÂs all a big dog/pony concert to me. My hope is that, like GM, this country will stagger and stumble along, through good times and bad, no matter what egomaniacal, corrupt millionaire we put in the cockpit.
Jack Logan, Honeoye Falls, NY
There is no rapprochement in store ahead:
THE LAST BATTLE
So that's it, then. Like John Kerry says, it's time to get
over it. Move on. Get on with our lives and our jobs --
let the healing begin. Horseshit.
There are still many questions about the election as a whole:
Massive Voter Suppression and Corruption in Ohio
And (thanks, Dana and Aunt Nona):
Evidence Mounts that the Vote Was Hacked
By Thom Hartmann
Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies
By Sam Parry
George W. Bush's vote tallies, especially in the key state of Florida, are so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.
And you can bitch about it here:
Members of Congress are demanding an investigation to answer this question. Join me in supporting their call, at:
BUT this is all moot...let's face it. People in Ohio and Florida are not champing at the bit to break the locks off the ballot boxes (or find out who hacked their touch-screens), and the few thousand people who say "I'm sorry" don't make it so. My analogy to the Puritans last time, and their brutal, rapine Commonwealth government, are even more apt now:
Puritanism of the Rich
Bush's ideology has its roots in 17th century preaching that the world exists to be conquered
Puritanism is perhaps the least understood of any political movement in European history. In popular mythology it is reduced to a joyless cult of self-denial, obsessed by stripping churches and banning entertainment: a perception which removes it as far as possible from the conspicuous consumption of Republican America. But Puritanism was the product of an economic transformation.
The title of the next article is wrong; they NEVER believed in the separation of church and state. To our government, Christ is the ruler of America and other religions are tolerated at their peril.
Crossing the Church-State Line
By Sidney Blumenthal
Thomas Jefferson warned of the dangers of becoming a "priest-ridden people," but a conservative clergy was essential to Bush's victory.
And as far as they're concerned, there is no obstacle too onerous for Christ's new army:
The New Republican Reality: No Policy is too Right-Wing
By Andrew Gumbel
The Independent U.K.
Conservative pipedreams are suddenly part of America's mainstream.
Los Angeles - Where should the United States invade next? Iran, Syria, or Cuba? Will George Bush merely slash taxes on the rich even further in his second term, or will he have the courage to abolish income tax altogether? Will gay marriage simply be outlawed state by state, or will a much-threatened constitutional amendment come into being?
Do you think I'm exaggerating? How about this Crusader wargame being played out in full view of the people of Iraq (a mostly Muslim country, eh?)(thanks, Mme. Chance):
Holy War: Evangelical Marines Prepare to Battle Barbarians
The Christian Barbarians are on the march:
Bush will now celebrate by putting Falluja to the torch
The world is fated to four more years of brutal confrontation
If you imagine the rest of us have a problem living with George Bush for another four years, spare a thought for the 55 million Americans who voted against him.
The death of hundreds, thousands, millions of heathens means nothing to this Christian army:
Scores of Civilians Killed in Falluja
Muhammad Abbud said he watched his nine-year-old son bleed to death at their Falluja home, unable to take him to hospital as fighting raged in the streets and bombs rained down on the Iraqi city.
Like a blind man with a gun, they stagger forward, killing their friends and giving their true enemies a "bye":
Sunni Party Withdraws from Iraq Government
By Sameer N. Yacoub
The Associated Press
But nope, these bloodthirsty animals are ready to light up an even bigger powder-keg:
Analyst Raises Prospect of Strikes on Iran
Will Iran Be Next?
By James Fallows
The Atlantic Monthly
Soldiers, spies, and diplomats conduct a classic Pentagon war game-with sobering results.
And that's just the start...how about the Moon? Mars? Nuclear-tipped missiles pointed at every continent...there's one way to world peace.
U.S. Ready to Put Weapons in Space
By Mark Townsend
The Observer U.K.
Defense expert says America is likely to ignore treaty ban.
No, the only answer is to rip these people from the pedestal of leadership and put them were they belong, in the dock at the Hague:
Aggressive War: Supreme International Crime
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Associate United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal. In his report to the State Department, Justice Jackson wrote: "No political or economic situation can justify" the crime of aggression. He also said: "If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us."
AND FINALLY, from deep in the heart of Texas, a very pissed off young woman (thanks, Mike):
Here is your horoscope
for Thursday, November 4:
For the next couple of weeks, your ordinarily charming mouth may suddenly remind you of a firecracker. You won't be shy about saying what's on your mind. Just try to smile before you let it fly.
Oh, I am smiling all right. It's just that haunted smile that makes those who know me well shudder with the possibility of what comes next. Combine that smile with the silent tears pouring down my face for the past two days and even strangers begin to get nervous. And they should.
I will not crumble into a little ball and surrender to a stolen 2% "mandate from the people". Not like Kerry (I'll get to him shortly). Oh no, I will make my stand here and now and for as long as it takes. It's not like we progressives haven't gotten our asses kicked before.
First, the good news. VoterVirgin registered and empowered more than 100,000 first time voters. Preliminary numbers look good (with 97% reporting): So far all but 3 made it to the polls. Only 5 of them voted for Bush. Also, they are reporting that they plan to vote again. It feels good to know that a little education and a lot of smiles can go so far. This project would not have been possible without the financial and spiritual support of so many people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It's has been an amazing journey. I am forever grateful.
Overall there was a 10% increase in youth vote turnout nationwide. First time voters of all ages registered with an increase of 40% (still waiting to see their turnout numbers). There have been some misleading articles about this turnout (AP in particular) but they are complete bullshit. The passion, engagement, and turnout are real. We kicked some ass at the polls and overwhelmingly the youth/ first timers voted for Kerry.
Moveon is reporting smaller but critical wins credited to members on the ground. The League of Pissed Off Voters is compiling data, stories, and activists on fire about what comes next. Other groups are beginning to report, but the writing comes slowly in the face of our grief.
Let me say I was happy to hear from Greg Palast and some of the election protection groups. Be sure of one thing: this election was stolen. And if you are rolling your eyes and mumbling something about tin foil hats, remind me to slap you silly next time we meet. That's two elections now that have been stolen. Shame me once, shame on you. Shame me twice, shame on me. Try to shame me again and I will kick your damn ass. At least one person in this country knows how that saying goes.
Now for the rant.
A. This administration, the Congress, and all their little dogs have got to be undermined at all cost. All we can hope is that given enough rope they will hang themselves or we will get lucky and throw enough sticks in their wheels to slow them down. They are a bunch of falsely righteous whore mongering drunks and freaks. Someone had better start taking pictures. I hear they are worth a thousand words and frankly, talking ain't working.
B. 2% is not a mandate. Well, it is if you can hear half of America screaming " YOU FUCKING SUCK!" over the din of the cult of Biff "chanting four more years". I am convinced this administration is all deaf in their left ear. There will be no middle ground. They will do everything they can do to rape the world's resources including our wallets. The news media has rolled over to become a bunch of flag waving ninnies and we have no allies in that realm, only tokens to give the appearance of balance. The "alternative" media is being muffled by the god bless america fox wannabees. We are going to listen carefully just to hear ourselves. Huddle close.
C. Kerry might as well have dropped his pants and shit all over everyone who has worked hard to protect the vote. To concede 12 hours after the polls close when literally thousands of people (not including the lawyers) were documenting allegations, irregularities, and stood ready to count every vote was a profound betrayal. Campaign experts my ass. It's the thousands on the ground and on line that got out to stand up for democracy. This election has never been about manners, so I'm not accepting that statesman crap. Fuck Kerry, fuck the DNC, and fuck the "campaign experts". As the numbers roll in from election watchers I get more and more pissed and am forced to wonder who's lapdog Kerry is. Fuck 'em all.
Now what do we do?
I have spoken with a lot of people who dedicated heart, soul, and ate a lot of ramen to be involved in this election. Everyone of them is asking the same question.
What is the most effective thing I can do for the next four years?
Normally there is a fair amount of attrition after a national election. Burnout is easy. But this time there is a real desire and dedication to figure out this republican puzzle of a stranglehold. It appears to be distilling down to election reform: counting every vote, transparent machines with paper reciepts, eliminating the electoral college, etc. I see a lot of top notch organization and creation emerging from this. On top of this, I have had a few ideas of my own...
Get thee to a seminary: I considered applying to a seminary when it dawned on me this voter block was being led like sheep to the slaughter from the pulpit. But I am only one and I doubt I could get 3000 really good actors to join the churches and preach tolerance. So, I say we just make a lot of visits to the seminaries and meet those who will lead the flocks next election during their formative years. Get them where they worship so to speak.
The Real Party: Since we are living in a one party country running one candidate elections it's time for the Real Party. I say we create grassroots coalitions (can you say meet up/ moveon?) that share information and teach in their communities and hold "accountability sessions". Those sessions are the brainchild of Interfaith Ministries which does not run candidates, but invites them to answer important questions in public forums. The candidate can only answer yes or no to the questions (no more words) and must do so in front of a crowd of local, active registered voters. Not showing up is considered to be a bad political move. I say we need more accountability and this is a powerful model. Not to mention we need to gather regularly and build a bigger flock of converts on our own.
Married Gay Baby Killers For Bush and Jesus: Actually I just like the name. But the fantasy vision includes a raucous band of street theatre troupes bringing the absurdity to a theatre near you. Maybe it's just a good CD title. Either way, I like the way it rolls off the tongue. Try it at home.
Get a Hug: I decided what I really need is a four year hug. We all do. So go get one.
So, don't get stuck wallowing in your despair just yet. Save that for when Congress gets back into session after the inaug(barf)uration. You start plotting and examine your commitment for the fight to come. I mean, come on, you can take a punch and come out swinging, right?
It's not like you're a bunch of GIRLY MEN is it?
I thought not. So, chins up, helmets on, it's going to be a long bumpy ride and I want you to come along with me.
Austin, TX ( a blue island in the heart of Texas where the crimson tide beats on the shore but makes no dent)
Vive le screed!