It has been nearly two weeks since I last posted an entry on this site. I’ve been trying to come up with something to say for most of that time. But after the presidential election, it’s hard to go back to posting an entry about, say, leaf blowers. (I went for a walk today and they were blasting everywhere. Maybe I’ll stroll through the industrial district where it’s quieter!) Yet so many of my feelings coming out of the election seem half-formed, and I don’t have the energy to flush them out.
Take the possibility of election fraud. In the two states that essentially decided the election, Ohio and Florida, there are reasons to be suspicious. But I want to be careful about embracing conspiracy theory, because it’s clearly self-serving. At the same time, I’m very suspicious of electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail and are owned by GOP-friendly corporations. It practically invites conspiracy theories. And I certainly wouldn’t put it past the Bush administration to cook the books.
I’ve also thought in recent days about moving to Canada. It sounds facetious, something to crow about just for affect. But I’ve been serious. After all, more than any time in my life I feel just outright ashamed of my Americanism. But as one friend reminded me this week, leaving the country to those who hold power now is not the answer. More importantly, though, I’ve been fortunate enough to carve out a life for myself here in Portland, writing and taking pictures for a living, and I don’t want to give that up and start all over again.
Another question the election has wrought is my faith. I don’t want to go to Hell for not believing, but I also feel a profound guilt by association when it comes to sharing beliefs in any way with those conservative Christians marching in step with the president and moralizing about everyone but themselves. Valarie has even considered converting to Buddhism, and I don’t blame her. I’m appalled by how Bush and so many in the Christian right have taken the terrorists’ bait and practically embraced a religious war. And don't even get me started on gay marriage.
Ultimately, of course, life will go on. Even if, as I worry, the seeds of World War III are being sown by George W. Bush as much as by Osama Bin Laden, hopefully Armageddon will come a few decades down the road. Maybe that sounds selfish, but regardless of what side you’re on we all just want to get back to our lives. Strict Muslims on the other side of the world want to pray to Mecca without bombs and McDonalds cluttering the way. Here at home we want to keep standing that house of cards made of IRA accounts, organic produce and i-pods. Whether they’re wearing turbans and hunched in caves or waddling through their McMansions in elastic-waste Dockers, I just wish we could wrestle back the world from whackos and get on with our lives.