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Pre-Election Crazies

Election Day: See update following post.

Are you anxious/antsy/terrified today? Have these feelings been building over the past few weeks and days? Are you bipolar, moving back and forth from elation to despair? You are not alone.

A Saturday New York Times article addressed the angst that Democrats and liberals—and, I might add, progressives—are enduring over this election—so much so that, despite the good polling news, we’re too afraid to be optimistic; we lie awake at night worrying, and we’re bringing the issue into our therapy sessions. What if? What if Obama loses? The same, yet worse: What if McCain wins? This is not merely the workings of a deranged mind: though the polls allegedly show Obama winning all over the place, I’m hearing conflicting reports, sometimes even from the same source. One talking head on NPR this morning says Obama’s leading comfortably in almost every state; mere minutes later a different talking head says the gap in Pennsylvania is shrinking in McCain’s favor.

And then there are other factors to consider: even if Obama wins, the Republicans might find a way to sabotage or contest the results. Or they could contest one state, holding up the final results for weeks or even months, creating yet more anxiety for me and my fellow citizens. Numerous nightmarish possibilities abound. The last two presidential elections left us all at least a little bit paranoid. And, as we used to say in the stoned soul picnic years, ‘just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not after you.’

I keep imagining alternate scenarios. In the first, Obama wins, and the streets of my city, which happens to be Oakland, CA with an African-American population of 51%, are filled with people dancing the night away. In the other scenario, he loses, and my neighbors riot.

To avoid feeling responsible for the latter outcome, I started calling Florida Democrats from home to get out the vote; today and tomorrow I plan to join the phone banks at Obama Headquarters. If I didn’t do something, and McCain won, I’d feel guilty. (My sister thinks I have delusions of grandeur, pointing out that mine is not the swing vote.)

I’ve been on edge about it for weeks now. Today, on the eve of the election, I woke up in a state of tension that’s almost unbearable, and I’m dreading the next two days. Instead of doing a measly two-hour phone shift, I think I’ll mosey on down to Obama HQ early and spend most of the day there. Being with like-minded people is probably the best way to make it through.

November 4th:

Win The World, Lose Your Grandma

Isn’t life–or rather, death–sad?

So I went to the 36-hour phone bank yesterday. Everyone I spoke to assured me Obama’s going to win and it’ll be steal-proof. One person knew this because she dreamt of Obama making his acceptance speech, and her dreams have always been visionary. Another one said “God wouldn’t take us this far only to drop us at this point,” and a third confirmed that “God has a lot to do with this election.” When I said I wasn’t counting on God, he said, “But God’s counting on us.”

So there you have it: it’s in the bag.

I confess that I’m becoming more and more optimistic, even planning to go to a Victory party.

Appropriate Song of the Day:

Ballad of a Thin Man (Bob Dylan)

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say ‘who is that man?’
You try so hard but you don’t understand
Just what you will say when you get home
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is—
Do you, Mr. Jones?

(substitute “Mr. Bush” or “Mr. McCain”)


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