January 20th approaches. Inauguration day is nigh. Will there be public outcry? Before the last election, my politically active friends and I had big plans in the event of a Bush win. My personal favorite involved walking arm-in-arm to the Canadian border on inauguration day and throwing up our hands, surrendering Western Washington to Canada, and seeking asylum as political refugees to our liberal neighbors to the north. But here it is: we're on the brink of inauguration, and what have we done? Not a whole helluva lot.
I have my personal excuses. Time has gone on since the devastation of losing the election, and I've been happy.
I'm planning my wedding. I have great friends, a fine job, and a lot of creative writing outlets (including this one). I love my cats. As much as I want to kick and scream for the entire world to witness about the GWB re-election, I can't quite get myself knee deep in the hatred hoopla.
Because, you see, I hate George W. Bush and what he stands for with the vehemence of a hormonal teenager and the hot fury of 1,000 sins. I recognize that, as a writer, I must be detached and reasonable in order to make my point, to work for positive change. But realizing that doesn't diminish my rage.
And that latent rage is all around me. It winks at me in the form of the "W" stickers of my fellow commuters. For not only do I hate Bush, I hate anyone who voted for him – and yes, that includes various family members. I despise the Bush supporting, yellow-ribbon-magnet-on-the-back-of-your-gas-guzzling-SUV jerkoffs. I loathe the sanctimonious, bigoted, god-fearers of this country who believe W's re-election was a victory for morals. See? I seethe! I'm burbling with ineffectual hatred – it's raw, it's ugly, and I have nowhere to place it. No one likes a whiner, a ranter – or a loser. And that's what January 20th is all about – a $50 million party to celebrate our collective, liberal-thinking loss.
This week especially, my anger seeks outlets of protest. Short of expatriation, what can we do to express our utter disgust and dismay at the outcome of this election, and the direction of our country? How can we let the world know that not all Americans approve of our president's actions or re-election? What can we do – and what can I write now – that will make a difference? I loathe impotent gesture. What good will it do to go to the street in protest on January 20, other than increase ones likelihood of getting arrested or placed on a no-fly list?
As my wise friend Imaginary Lorenzo just said to me, "My political friends and I feel beat – and I don't mean tired, I mean defeated."
Who can blame us for feeling defeated? Just last week, the White House finally ended its fruitless search for so-called "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq (note to self: write future column about the annoying way our current administration and media manufacture and ingratiate bombastic new words and phrases into common usage). Bush and co. have remained unrepentant about their invasion of Iraq, despite their premise for said invasion being proven false.
The sliding scale of reason used to justify going to war is disgusting. And the lack of outrage from the American public at our leaders instigating a war on false premises – it's completely disheartening. Are we really that beaten?
This week, I feel a bit like we are. I feel the futility of protest, and it's so demoralizing.
I don't accept the Republicans so-called mandate (see note above regarding current administration and media introducing annoying new words into common usage), and neither do the other 49% of the rest of us who voted against Bush. Mandate my ass. I'm going to do anything in my power – write, educate, donate to charities, volunteer, fight for election reform, argue with my father – to fight for civil liberties and personal freedoms over the next four years. I just wish I had a way to communicate both my hopes and my grief in a meaningful way, for myself, and for the rest of the world to see.
Despite all our anger and disappointment, life goes on. But during this inauguration week, please feel free to take this space to vent your anger, express your concerns, or inspire revolution. And most importantly: after you vent, be sure you hold on to whatever gives you joy. Me, I'm gonna go try on a white poofy dress, write some vows, and keep saving to pay for that catering bar tab…