Thursday, November 04, 2004

I Blame Myself

One of my favorite movies on the American political process is 'Primary Colors.' In the film, Billy Bob Thornton's character accuses one of his young charges of having 'galloping T.B.' That 'T.B.' stands for 'True Believerism.' Well, for a few hours on Tuesday, I actually had the same affliction.

I woke up early, around 5:15 and took a drive around Atlanta before getting out to run my morning laps around the Morehouse College track. I came back home, showered, checked my email and headed up the street two blocks to go to vote for the next president of the United States. I paid $2 to park, and I didn't care. I walked hurriedly across the street to find Samuel Archer Hall abuzz at 7:04am. I saw nearly 200 young people ready and willing to vote. I stood in line there with my friend and brother Calvin McAllister for the better part of an hour before we both walked to our seperate booths. This was my fourth presidential election.

Currently, my record on selecting presidents was 2 wins, one loss. I wanted to better my record, and that of the country's, so naturally my first choice was Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. The choice to me was astoundingly clear. I then voted for Denise Majette, although I felt she had no chance of winning, nor did she have the wherewithal to be running for the Senate after one term in the House. The only other thing of note that I voted on was the Gay Marriage Amendment. I felt it necessary and prudent not to vote on anything that would discriminate against anyone, so like so few others across the country, I voted no for such an amendment defining marriage. There's a feeling of pride and purpose that one gets when he or she leaves the polling place, and I felt it like never before. However, all the while I felt that my candidate would lose.

I drove to work, left work to do what it is I do, and I shot 25 boards in two hours. That is a record. That's the kind of day I was having. A good day. At some point riding around Atlanta, and seeing all of the Kerry-Edwards signs, it hit me; I started to believe. I actually started to believe that Kerry would pull it out. I mean, of course he would. We voted. We came to the polls in record numbers. And if we did it in Atlanta, then surely we did it in Detroit, Chicago, DC, Philly, Miami, Dallas, Houston, LA, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Charlotte, New Orleans and of course New York. And I was right, we did come out in those cities. But, my degree in Political Science should have reminded me, and more importantly my thesis on such matters, should have reminded me that states are not made up of cities as much as they are made up of counties. And those counties were coming out to vote too. They were voting different than the people that I saw in Archer Hall. They didn't seem to care about the war, the economy, a president who while in office flip-flopped numerous they figured since you 'knew where he stood' that was enough. However, I still felt as I was driving around, that it was going to work out.

Then I went home to have a late afternoon lunch. My doorbell rang, and one of my younger neighbors was at the door asking me to help him figure out a VCR that I'd given his family. I walked across the street, tried to help them out, but the thing wouldn't work. I looked at his mother who'd been probably laying in the same place all day watching television, and I noticed that she noticed my Georgia voting sticker. She hadn't voted today, and I'm sure that most of my neighbors hadn't either. I walked back across the street and started to get a sick feeling.

Daylight savings makes 5 pm in Atlanta look like midnight, and as the sun was going down after I got back to the office, the sinking feeling of defeat was starting to set in despite the fact that I had no indicators otherwise. I went to my photography class, went to a friend's play and eventually came home and sat in my bed and stared at the television. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to hit everyone that didn't vote. I wanted more. My emotion turned to anger after I let myself believe that for a minute these people would actually let this thing slip out of their grasp. Only in America could a decorated Vietnam veteran, 4 term US Senator be denigrated for his strengths and prowess intellectually and otherwise by a man who during the same war protected Texas from Mexico, hid behind his family's business interests and has done more to hurt poor people and people of color than any president in modern times.

My disappointment then went to the American populace. The whole damn country was red. What the hell was that all about? You sheep kill me. The whole damn country was red! I couldn't believe my eyes. Since when was 'liberal' a bad word? Since when was being a 'liberal' meant you don't believe in God. Since when was being a 'conservative' make you closer to God. And aren't Christians supposed to forgive, and not judge? Then why vote for the marriage amendment if it's not Christlike?

So go on and vote for him and enjoy the next 4 years. Enjoy the lies and deceit. Enjoy the horrible economy that only helps the very rich. Enjoy it you blissfully ignorant sheep, for this is a mess that you and your lethargy created.

But as for my people, I have nothing but shame. Where were you: Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson, Deion Sanders, Donavan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Kobe Bryant, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, Morgan Freeman, Sam Jackson, Laurence Fishburne, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx? You all didn't say one thing about voting, and who to vote for. And to protect what? My all you touch crumble, hell it already has.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.