Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


We deserve whatever we get now.

Or, well, a slim majority of us do. The rest of us deserve mercy. As my friend Julie said, “58 million people CAN be wrong.”

Gonna gotta keep on keepin’ on, fighting the bastards (who look to have legitimized themselves now) and living our lives.

After voting yesterday morning I listened to Martha Reeves & the Vandellas singing “Dancing in the Streets” over and over again. Big crowd at the poll, reports of big crowds everywhere, so hopeful. “It doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there” -- utopian and joyous. Then I listened to the first 2 movements of Ives’s “Holidays Symphony,” Washington’s Birthday and Decoration Day, which was the precursor to Memorial Day, a holiday so-named to decorate the graves of Civil War dead. The “Decoration Day” movement quotes “Taps,” followed by a wild rousing victory march, underscored by Ives’s trademark quiet lovely slow-moving dissonance. Chills. The symbiosis of life and death, the necessity of someone else’s death for a community’s triumph.

America has been top dog empire at least since WW2, and in the top 5 since the Spanish-American War. Bush is gonna run this empire into the ground -- he’s well on his way. A helluva lot of suffering for us Americans here, though possibly not so much for me or my family, skilled healthy college-educated white people. And Bush’s adventurism abroad is gonna see that a lot of people have violent bloody early deaths, including a lot of Americans. But maybe it’s time for America to lose its top dog empire status. After all, we’ve just proved to the world that we’re no more enlightened than any other top dog empire ever. Certainly our history shows that our victory marches were built on a lot of violent bloody deaths -- the conquest of the Indians, the building of a lot of the empire’s wealth by slaves, the economic degradation of laborers producing cheap commodities worldwide for our private consumption and for our owning classes’ private profit. A lot of us had hopes that we were somehow going to finesse the inherent contradiction of being an enlightened empire, work for expanded human rights and peace and prosperity internationally while keeping our relative wealth and power. Bush’s supporters said to hell with all that. Why should we be different than any other empire?

Last night as the vote counts were coming in, and nothing unexpected was breaking for Kerry, I threw up my dinner, probably from worry. This morning I felt fine, except shaken up. Like I’d witnessed a murder. And then huge crowds of people I didn’t know were wildly cheering the killer.

They won on an agenda of hate. Hatred of gays and lesbians. Hatred of women’s reproductive rights. They don’t give a whistle about the number of abortions. Abortions in America have increased since Bush’s accession, after having decreased during the Clinton years. And of course Bush cut funding for measures specifically designed to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies through contraception. No, the religious wrongwing isn’t about preventing abortion, they’re about hating women’s sexuality. And last but not least, it’s about hatred of Arabs, poorly gussied up with talk of liberation. 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, and hundreds of Iraqis tortured, many of them to death -- that the so-called conservatives didn’t throw Bush out on his ass over either of those counts shows the emptiness of their liberationist rhetoric.

The rule of the unrighteous cannot last forever. The rule of the liars and incompetents cannot last forever. The hateful house of cards that they’ve kept delicately in place will continue to crash around their ears. We’ve seen pieces of the structure fall and fall and fall already -- it should have been enough to get them thrown out, but it wasn’t. A whole lot of suffering is going to crash down with the piercing of their carefully managed illusions, and it’s a goddamn crying shame. And when the time comes we’re gonna keep on rockin’ to try to soften the blows and salve the wounds and prevent the worst from happening.

And we're gonna hold onto what is good in our lives, whatever that may be.

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