half tank full

· State of the Union

ok. I confess that since 10 pm pst 11-02-04 I have been under the covers since I began to realize with a giant stomach aching nausea that exit polls ain’t what they’re cracked up to be and I was living in a dream world. Albeit the dream world of what used to be known as the Republic of Berkeley (which now includes Oakland). Thus ensued the self-imposed news and media blackout under which I remain, somewhat less than blissfully, beneath.
One should spend a solid week listening to The Meters and Brian Wilson. And nothing else. However, a bit of bloggage has made it through the blackout and that is really the message of this moment. My, we are angry. We are outraged. We have lost our sense of reason. The United States of the Stupid we are. I mean They are. The red ones. The Other.
I’ve seen the maps and read the rant on The South (I did that rant myself two volumes into Robert Caro’s Johnson biography). But what sobered me up was an accidental espying of a NYTimes special “election” section with a full-page set of election maps going back to the Roosevelt era. Instructive. Like a two-party system fuel gauge, it showed the country running from Full-of-Democrat to less full, half-full and, finally, Full-of-Republican. That was Reagan. Reagan, Reagon, Raygun. Reagan. Eight years of Reagan, governor. Eight years of Reagan, president. And an eternity of Reagan, god. Then we slowly drifted Democrat-ward, toward nirvana, to Full-of-Clinton.
And now we are half-and-half.
As a nation we are at the moment in opposition to ourselves. Looking out from my mirror is some ex-hippie from Poughkeepsie who has a nephew shipping out to Baghdad soon. Voted red. The jerk in the cherry red Humvee parked in a handicap space in downtown Oakland got the special license from his brother-in-law at the DMV. Voted red. On the other side of the mirror: an ex-peacenik from Palo Alto who got a college deferment from the Viet Nam draft and runs an architectural firm. Voted blue. The twenty-something trust fund baby working for an environmental organization and planning a year-long kayaking trip around the world. Voted blue.
I’m not sure which way this analogy is going but if the tank is half full we’ve got miles to go before we weep.