No wonder it’s dark
“It’s the Bible Belt,” my 21-year-old said.
“It’s the South rising again,” I said.
“What if there’s another Civil War?” my daughter asked.
I tried to remain calm. I tried not to panic. But the roller-coaster ride was screeching around a lethal turn, and my car was set to derail.
The day started well.
At about 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, I drove around the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, looking for America Coming Together’s Election Day headquarters. I ended up at FireTech Reno 2004, a convention with state-of-the-art red fire trucks parked in rows. Bright red.
I kept driving until I spotted a guy waving a cardboard sign that said, “Stop the nightmare!” I knew I’d found the place.
The parking lot was full, jam packed with California-plated cars. Activist imports wandered around eating fruit and bagels. Someone left a hippie-ism on a bulletin board: “Conservatives fear sex and love war. Liberals love sex and fear war.”
One team leader told me the strategy of the day: Volunteers were to canvas neighborhoods, knocking on the doors of likely Kerry supporters until updated voter registration records could prove each voter had actually voted.
I drove to several polling places where parking was scarce. People described waiting three hours in line but said other voters were pleasant as if Election 2004 was some kind of National Nice-off.
A co-worker gave me a bumper sticker Monday with an X’d-out Bush logo and the words, “We’re gooder.” I love that sticker.
So many thoughtful people, Kerry supporters. On Monday, we were predicting Kerry would win by a healthy margin.
But Bush signs sprouted in my neighbors’ yards. My students wore Bush buttons and backpacks with Bush stickers. My mom who lives in swingin’ Wisconsin had been sending me Bush conversion material at an alarming rate.
So many wonderful warm-hearted people, Bush supporters, hornswaggled by fear, stupefied by the conservative media. Not that it’s bad to be hornswaggled or stupefied. I’m a big fan.
Night came and my kids decided to distract me by renting “a funny movie for Mom.”
They came home with Real Genius, you know, smart kids subvert the weapon they were suckered into creating for the military. When we switched to TV for an election update, my daughter hugged me.
“It’s only four more years,” she said.
Reading state-by-state returns at NYTimes.com, I awarded the race to Bush fairly early—because, hey, I’m a realist—and hit the sack.
My Significant Republican, who’d been a bit down in the mouth, was starting to perk up. It’s nice to live in a home where, no matter who wins the presidential election, one of us will be salivating, the other sobbing. We’d promised no gloating.
I woke at 4 a.m. Wednesday to what most were calling “a close race.” The NY Times listed Nevada as an “undecided” state, despite the fact that Bush led by more than 20,000 votes. The president has a big fan club in Elko.
At the Reno Gazette-Journal site, besides a pop-up ad with animated martini glasses, there was a story: “U.S. Holds Its Breath.”
“It’s not over,” the SR told me, barely disguising his glee. He joked about “dangling binary bits.”
In other news, the Republicans took over more of Congress with a few big wins in both the U.S. Senate and in the House.
Nice people, Republicans. I like ’em. I’m thinking of becoming one. Fast. Before they, you know, start cracking down.