Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Attempt at coherence after the liquor soothed the 269 Bush votes

First, let me say, that tonight I was something of an emotional basket case.

I went to the Obama rally (late, because my precinct took forever to close). We couldn't get a signal for the equipment to transmit the results. So by 9:00 I finally left, after Barack earned 81% of the vote. Then I went to Talk Show at the Second City, which was fun. So by the time I got to the Obama election night party, it was basically over. But here's the part where I got a little affected.

Barack was all over the media. National media. There were six or seven cameras up there, and Barack would go from one to the other, with tech guys changing his ear piece and changing the microphone in his pocket. And Barack was so good on television. He frames progressive issues in common sense ways. And I thought I could see his role changing again (or at least, it was clearer to me). He became more of a national figure, beaming across to millions of people (not just hundreds of thousands but millions) a reasonable, respectable, progressive message. It was one camera after another, and behind him on the big screen in the ballroom with confetti on the floor and a half-empty room with closed bars, his face projected on Fox News and CNN, speaking truth and changing minds. Most of the press had grown bored, but Barack was still working it, going camera to camera, sending out the message, continuing to *work*. And he's a pro. It made me proud.

It really made me proud.

And then afterwards, Bush earned 269. And it became like a bad novel. Like a bad science fiction novel where bad things happen. The Supreme Court eliminates affirmative action. Reproductive rights. Environmental regulation so permits pollution. Not to mention the Congress funding even more corporate welfare tax breaks and a bigger debt. And the invasion of Syria and/or Iran. It's bad.

The only bright spot is that we're not taking it lying down. We're not conceding. We're not conceding until every vote -- every provisional, every absentee -- is counted. I spent an extra 45 minutes in the precinct last night ensuring that those absentee ballots from the UK and Spain and a dozen other countries were counted. We're going to do the same in Ohio.

And Melissa Bean won! The map matters most, but it's not dispositive. Voters can trump the map. It's not easy, but it can be done. Maybe Phil Crane is a victim of making Mark Kirk's district more Republican, because those Palatine Township precincts got taken out of his district and put into Kirk's, leaving Crane with more black precincts near Zion.

But the Texas remap worked. That damn Tom DeLay. Time for Illinois to remap our congressional map. It's 10-9 now. It should be 12-7.

And really, it's time for the State of Illinois to step it up. With D.C. looking pretty bad for the next two years, we've got to step it up and be the beacon of manufacturing a middle class. We've got to invest in people, efficiently and prudently. We've got to put our policy expertise and wealth behind making Illinois the best State in the Union.

And Barack Obama had best learn how to filibuster, because when the Republicans try to ram something through, he's the guy who can lead the charge to stop it. Because he won't lose his backbone. That's why he won the primary, and now the general. He'll stand up to the worst elements of the national Republican Party -- and through his eloquence and tenacity and leadership, stop them from impoverishing most of us for the benefit of the few.

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