03 November 2004

Abstractly Ill

You're not going to find a lot of political discourse hereabouts, mostly because I'm so woefully uninformed. For that sort of thing I commend to you Pigs and Battleships, courtesy my friend Ryan, who now has a reason to go on living -- I'd feared that back-to-back Bosox/Kerry victories might effectively neuter him for years. So at least we can look forward to four more years of his articulate outrage. It's something.

Anyway, like all right-thinking people -- sorry wrong-thinking people, but you're wrong, please think harder -- I am disgusted, appalled, disappointed, incensed, all those stomach-churning emotions. More so, I think, by the lopsided results of the various gay-marriage initiatives than by the Presidential results. Having grown up just after the civil-rights era, I hadn't previously seen such widespread evidence of unrepentant bigotry, and it's far more frightening to me than any threat Al Qaeda and its ilk may pose. But there was very little good news for the left in general yesterday.

What I find interesting, significant and a little bit heartening, though, is that I'm feeling all of these negative emotions on behalf of complete strangers. Because the past four years demonstrated conclusively that electing a narrow-minded, regressive, war-mongering nincompoop into the country's highest office doesn't affect me much at all. I am a heterosexual white male, age 36 -- too old to be drafted, too young to be seriously worried about Social Security, deficits or health care, except in the abstract. I will not be seeking a legal abortion. I have no desire to marry another man. Jobwise, I am in a position of extraordinary privilege, earning more money for writing a single 1500-word column (which takes one day) than somebody mopping floors will make in a month and a half. The horrible things that are going to happen to many Americans (and other citizens of the world) over the next four years, and for who knows how long thereafter, are not going to be happening to me, in all likelihood. In fact, the only truly concrete difference between the Bush presidency and a hypothetical Gore presidency, as far as I personally am concerned, is that I opened my mailbox one day a few years back to find a check for $300. And at a time when I could really use it, too.

So Bush was re-elected yesterday, and pretty much the worst thing that can happen to me is that I'll get to keep more of the money I make. But that's not the heartening part. The heartening part is that it's now after 5:30pm and I have yet to eat a single bite of food today. The pit of nausea in my stomach suggests that I'd only chuck it right back up.

Maybe I'm not as selfish and solipsistic as I sometimes fear I am.

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