Hello, Uranus? Got Any Room?
Must. Move. Away. Cannot endure more Bush. Soul about to implode. Right? Not so fast
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, November 5, 2004
I said it, you said it, pretty much anyone with a brain larger than a grape or a soul more nimble than a rock said it maybe a thousand times over.
And you probably weren't even all that drunk when you said it and maybe you were even a little more than half serious and maybe you said it just like this: If Bush somehow snags another election, if the unthinkable comes to pass and the Dubya neocon nightmare refuses to end, well, that's it. I'm outta here.
Done. Over. Gone. Moving away. To Canada. Or France. Latvia. Uranus. Anywhere, really, that doesn't have Bush as leader and that doesn't make me openly ashamed to be a citizen and that doesn't make me feel like a sickened disillusioned ulcerated outcast in my own happily divisive country every damn day including Sunday.
You want a place, you say, that doesn't right this minute seem to be working heroically to make homophobia and born-again fundamentalism and pre-emptive isolationist warmongering and environmental ignorance a national religion. A place where SUVs aren't considered minor deities and where gay people aren't loathed for wanting to slice a wedding cake and where brazen heavily narcotized denial in the face of a veritable mountain of presidential lies isn't the national pastime.
Tempting, isn't it? To just move away to a sunnier, clothing-optional utopia and wait for it all to be over, for the dark days to pass and the Shrub era to sink into the tar pits of history and the fog to finally lift?
After all, most all of us on the progressive Left feel we truly faced the dragon this election, and we put up a valiant fight and marshaled as potent an army of dissenters and intellectuals and moderates and liberal crusaders and feminists and enlightened activists as possible, considering.
And we supposedly had more of the youth vote and the disenfranchised single-female vote and the "Daily Show" vote and the Eminem vote and the celebrity vote and the humanitarian vote and the antiwar vote and the gay vote and the pro-choice vote and the Howard Stern vote and the immigrant vote, and still the dragon just sneered and hacked up another fireball of bogus fear and evangelical Christian self-righteousness and torched our glimmering sword of juicy hope into a smoking cinder.
And now, this. The nation has officially, stupefyingly handed the world's worst president a blank check to do whatever he and his cronies like, without fear of major repercussions or voter disillusionment or damage to an imminent re-election campaign, because there won't be one.
Which is to say, Bush now has no one to worry about now but his true constituents (hint: it ain't mainstream Repubs, or even the born-agains), no one to answer to but the CEOs and the energy barons and the military-supply corporations co-owned by his father, and nothing to guide him but his own deeply regressive, monosyllabic moral compass. Hell, why stick around for more of that?
But here's the catch. Here's the tough part to accept. Here's what everyone who's right now on the brink of packing their bags and checking the real estate prices in Vancouver has to know and has to have drilled into their disconsolate hope-crushed souls right this minute, before it's too late:
You cannot leave. You cannot drop the armor now. Why? Because you are needed, more than ever. You are mandatory to keep the energy flowing, the karmic vibrator buzzing, to keep the progressive and lucid half of the nation breathing and healthy and awake and ever reaching out to the half that's wallowing in fear and violence and homophobia and sexual dread, hoping to find harmony instead of cacophony, common ground instead of civil war, some sort of a shared love of a country so messy and internationally disrespected and openly confused its own president can't even speak the language.
After all, you don't hand over all your children the first time the flying monkeys bang on your door. You don't give up your dream house just because a bunch of gangbangers moved in down the block. You become a bit more wary and alert and you stock up on the superlative porn and the expensive wine and the deepened sense of true beauty and sex and love and hope and you hunker down and grit your teeth and dig in for the long haul, and you work on making your own goddamn garden more beautiful than even you could have imagined, because, well, the neighborhood -- and the world -- needs it, more than ever.
Look. No one said it was gonna be easy. No one said it was gonna be painless. And no one said it was gonna be quick. As I've noted before, the neocons have been planning this takeover for decades. The Bush regime, despite feeling like a massive indigestible incomprehensible fluke, is no accident.
The GOP is deeply entrenched and the razor wire is all around their compound and they are masterful at working the angles of fear and manipulation and of kowtowing to the least tolerant and least morally flexible segments of the population -- this is, after all, how Bush won a second term -- and hence they aren't about to just roll over at the first sign of outcry or dissent or a snowboarding senator, even if he's 10 times the man and a thousand times the intellect of the smirking lunk currently in office.
And besides, most hardcore Republicans would, of course, love it if you'd leave the country, and take your gul-dang gay-lovin' tofu-eatin' tree-huggin' pierced-labia values with you. They would love it, furthermore, if the libs in the morally shredded red states would split for the coastal cities and the major metropolises of America, all those godless heathen places where the neighbors won't yank the Kerry/Edwards sign outta your front lawn and chase you down and beat you with it and call it patriotism. Remember: bullies never deserve to own the playground.
And one of the most stirring e-mails I received during the outpouring of grief the day after the election was from a young female reader, "an artist, an intellectual and a Jew" who's been living in Mexico and who now says she's so enraged and saddened by the election's ugly outcome that she's preparing to return to the States ASAP, just so she can help, so she can join the resistance, keep the right-wingers from coming after our souls. Now, that's patriotism.
The bottom line: Don't disband the newfound army just because one ugly battle was lost. Mourn, commiserate, lick wounds, lick each other, drink heavily, spit out your stale gum of disappointment and pop in a fresh clove of laughter and spiritual heat and then regroup and sober up and take an even deeper breath and watch in hot wet spiritually emboldened amusement as the cosmic circus unfolds.
It's far from over. The tunnel is just a little darker -- and longer -- than we imagined.