Political parties

Let’s party: While electoral madness grips the nation, Bites is here to remind you that elections are also about parties. Not political organizations, mind you, but parties: free food and booze, funny hats, the smiles of victory and the frowns of defeat.

Sure, there’s the presidency at stake right now, and Bites is always up for a little revolution. But someone will win, little will change and our republic will endure. And the strength of our republic lies in our leaders’ ability to placate the masses with a good party.

Come inauguration day—with the right party, poem and populist presidential presentation—this country will forget all about the threats, lawsuits, treasonous plotting, rioting in the streets and all the other ugliness we’re about to go through.

Heck, just look at Sacramento. Since the death of former Mayor Joe Serna, the River City has been enveloped in a pall of death, conflict and leaderless mediocrity.

But new Mayor-elect Heather Fargo managed to sweep it all away and lift the city to a higher plane with a singularly fabulous election night party at Old Sac’s Laughs Unlimited, which set the tone for a funny four years to come.

“Sacramento is going to be a fun place,” beamed Cindy Cooke, Fargo’s volunteer coordinator, as her boss smiled for the television cameras. “Heather is going to be a fun mayor.”

With an entertainment slate of comedians and musicians and some of the best food of all the evening’s parties, Fargo’s shindig would have been fun even if she got trounced. But with an early lead that only widened throughout the night, it was pure love fest.

“I look forward to hugging each and every one of you personally for what you’ve done,” Fargo told the crowd.

Party down: The mood at the losers’ parties was expectedly more glum. Mayoral also-ran Rob Kerth kept a stiff upper lip, but the Greens seemed especially bummed out, considering they never had a chance in the first place.

OK, perhaps there were hopes that Ralph Nader would at least hit his 5 percent, a cause that Sacramento Greens tried to aid with the election night sign outside their J Street office that read, “Don’t fear, Gore ahead by 16 pts.” So much for the only truth-telling party in this year’s race.

A block away, in an aging building that houses all kinds of left-leaning nonprofits, a handful of activists that had opposed Prop. 34 as phony campaign finance reform tried hard to put a happy face on the measure’s easy approval.

Crusader Tony Miller tried to sound optimistic, but came off as downright delusional, in voicing hope that a measure winning by 24 points in early returns might still be defeated. Bites has to admire this guy’s passion and tenacity, but at a certain point, it’s time to face reality and just start drinking.

And their gathering simply proves Bites’ point: bad party, bad outcome. It’s a vicious cycle.

THE party: If Prop. 36 was all about hedonists who wanted to legalize their drugs, then it sure didn’t show at the election night party in Sacramento of its backers in the California Campaign for New Drug Policies.

After listening to months of rhetoric about how this measure was little more than a Trojan Horse filled with potheads, speed freaks and smack junkies, Bites prepared for a partier’s party, donning a tie-dye shirt, purple shades and that groovy Cat in the Hat chapeau.

Heck, four years ago, when voters legalized medical marijuana with Prop. 215, Bites attended the wildest campaign party there’s ever been, with joints the size of cigars, jam bands, hippie chicks twirling in flowing white dresses and tables filled with heavenly munchies.

Yet last week’s pro-136 bash was downright dull, filled with button-down dorks, squares and earnest policy wonks, all talking about things like civil rights and better uses of our public resources. They didn’t even have any Rice Krispy Treats. Can you imagine?

Bites was disillusioned. Could it be that those interested in ending our country’s damaging and divisive war on drugs aren’t all self-interested addicts? Because with the possibility of President Bush the Sequel, we may need drugs to be legalized now more than ever.