Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What do we do on the day after Tuesday?

...soon off to a friendly local bar to meet a friend, drink fine Old European ale, and watch the returns come in with fellow liberal-progressive Brooklynites.

Voting early this morning was satisfying and uneventful.

At lunch, took a quick subway ride up to Rockefeller Center, which NBC News has dubbed "Democracy Plaza." It was more like Democracyland, packed with tourists, school groups, and the odd NYer like me checking it out, along with lots of guards and cops, of course.

Bland pavilion displays of American electoral history here and there, but mostly, the massive paraphenalia of broadcast journalism--booths looking out onto the street and the ice (where NBS has put their massive Map of the Nation), lights covered with red and blue gels, massive monitors playing the Greatest Hits of Presidential Speeches, interspersed with talking heads talkin' democracy. A circular ticker on some kind of tower diplaying news headlines. Giant scoreboards for Kerry and Bush--like the kind you'd see at an old baseball stadium, with big numbers being flipped by hand (cool!)--being hoisted above the plaza. White flowers in planters on the Fifth Avenue side spraypainted blue and red. It's Vote-A-Palooza, folks!

Late in the afternoon, after surveying the blogosphere and web for the umptyleventh time (kos...atrios...myDD...kos...nytimes...cnn...myDD...), getting anxious trying to read the chicken innards and tea leaves, I fantasized that if nothing else, a solid tristate area (NY-NJ-CT) sweep for Kerry would repudiate Bush/Cheney in the part of the country most hurt on 9/11, which they've used to such ill ends...but for me, that would be a pretty thin consolation prize.

I'm looking forward to this being over, and taking the next steps. Up at WorldChanging, the blog I contribute to, our group statement, Starting Tomorrow, reads in part:

...when it comes to solving the real problems facing this planet, neither party in American politics can claim the high ground, or even, to put it bluntly, much grounding in reality at all. In this first presidential election of the 21st Century, a realistic understanding of the problems we face as a planet and the role the U.S. could and should play in solving them should have been a matter of daily debate. Instead, we've gotten saber-rattling and name-calling. But pandering to the worst inclinations of the American electorate doesn't make any of us safer or the world more stable. This year, the entire political establishment has failed grotesquely to speak plainly about the objective realities of the world.

We can do better. We must do better. Regardless of who is elected president today, we must now begin to forge a reality-based plan for the planet.

Emily, Brooklyn NY


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