Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Pre-Debate Traumatic Period 

I have to say that my recent lack of posts is the result, I think, of a general low-level despair combined with the intolerability of the news.

It's a very surreal time. The electoral map looks like shit. The horse-race looks like shit. It all looks like a goddamn heaping pile of steaming, nasty shit--and yet I have conversations with friends almost nightly in which we concede that it may very well be the case that Kerry has already locked up enough votes to win the election and it's only a matter of getting out the votes on a massive scale.

And in that sense there is reason to celebrate, because the NYT and others have reported on the truly massive and unprecedentedly huge voter-registration gains made in key states by the Dems, especially in Ohio. So but then as soon as you start to celebrate, we get word that the fucking Secretary of State in Ohio has outdone Katherine Harris by declaring invalid huge quantities of voter registration cards for not being printed on 80 lb. card stock. Yes, that's right: 80-fucking-pound card stock. And this is the year 2004. And that type of chicanery doesn't even touch on the secret realm of the demonic technological priests of Diebold, whose mischief is invisible. Even to approach the problem is to be paranoid, since the malice is manifest but the truth is unknowable. I can't even think about the whole voting-machine-tampering no-paper-trail-in-Florida issue without my limbic system interceding (to prevent a total-brain-crash) by causing me to take a sudden nap.

And the news? Yeah, there's Ted Kennedy giving his clarion cry on nuclear terror like some sort of late-atom-age John the Baptist, wandering among the stupid and the deaf. Great shit, that. (And somewhat relevant, too, for those of us metropolis-dwellers more concerned with not dying in a nuclear holocaust than with whether "under God" can stay in the pledge of allegiance.)

But now the pre-debate "stories" are rolling in; including one headline (I'm not kidding--it must have been AOL news or something) making reference to how, in a debate, "everything matters"--including (get this!) hairstyles (ha!), mannerisms (haha!!!), and smiles (ahahahahah!!!!!!). Until the debate happens--and it seems as though somehow, incredibly, it will happen--I believe I have to not read or listen to another word from the media concerning any aspect of it, simply to preserve my sanity.

And speaking of sanity, I had a conversation this evening with a friend who had recently heard two different people (a man seen on TV, in Wisconsin, whose son had been killed in Iraq; and an elderly man met in person on the train) express the same viewpoint that the country was divided between those who understand Bush is fighting a righteous holy war for Christians and for America and for Good, and those who just don't get it. And it's probably true. No wonder Kerry has struggled so mightily with getting people to care about Bush's lies, when the slice of the populace who actually gives a shit about things like the presence or absence of WMDs is so damn small. For Bush voters, Muslims and Arabs are WMDs--and by God he's found 'em, all right.

So, where does that leave us? What is there, on this September 28, 2004, left to talk about? I imagine we at AmCop will be posting on reaction (ours, mainly) to the debates; and if and when I get to Allentown, PA I hope to provide a detailed log (with the help of my spanking-new Airport Extreme card) of what's going on on the ground, among the door knockers and phone bankers and data-enterers. (Did you know that the result of every door-knock and phone call gets entered into a massive database which grinds up the numbers and apparently spits out some kind of interpretable information with which the campaigns tweak their strategies and plot their next moves? It's like micromanagement taken to a whole new level. Should be fun to see.)

In the meantime, if any of our readers have news stories they would like treated or viewpoints on campaign developments they would like to express in brief or at length, feel free to email it to me and I'll post it up. (Of course, there are still the Comment threads too.)


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