We are so positive bush has stolen the election. We are equally furious as we are determined. We get to Tallahassee in time to meet at 9:00 a.m. - Andrea is on a conference call so we head over to the capital building - there we meet about 20 other angry & ready folks. We stand in front with our "no stolen election" sign, our "count every vote" signs. We get our first call for action - bombard Kerry's office with "do NOT concede" messages. Excitement is in the air. Most of the folks gathered are students - some are too young to vote but they are there, with hangers & signs. They are furious the first amendment has passed - a minor cannot receive an abortion without notification of their parent. ufb.
As we stand on the street, hundreds of cars go by, honking and waving their encouragement and support. A couple of bush cars go by, an oddity in this democratic strong hold. One of the republicans yells out the window "Kerry has given up fools!" and then "go get a job". Why do republicans yell that alot? i like to tell them i'm independently wealthy & don't need a job just to see the odd look of disbelief cross their faces as they shut up.
The press has arrived. As have the police. We get interviewed by one and ignored by the latter. We think we're being ignored because the republicans have applied for a rally permit this morning - so we are here and they aren't!
Andrea calls, as do a couple friends: Kerry has conceded the election, BEFORE all the votes were counted. What a dick head. What a fucking asshole. We are all furious. How the hell are we going to be able to fight for the election if he gives in? What the hell is his rush anyway? What would it cost him to wait, to demand that all the votes are counted? Why is he doing the republicans' dirty work for them? All too often we stop ourselves before others stop us. Kerry is making me fuirous, as are the demos - why do they have to do this to us, capitulate so quickly. Didn't Gore do that the last time too?
We're terribly sad. The election 'experts' are saying they cannot see obvious fraud - well obviously, the machines are sophisticated and fraud is not easy to find.
My heart is torn in tiny pieces - it aches and aches. No one can believe this is happening. We're reviewing all the work we've done over the past few months, all the people who have hit the streets running, all the voters we've gotten registered & to the polls, all the common everyday folks DETERMINED to not allow bush into office again, and it just is NOT possible that george w. bush has won. I refuse to believe it. They HAVE to count ALL the votes.
I speak with my friends, my fellow codepink workers, my comrades around the country. We are all in shock and disbelief. I feel the very worst for all the poor, disenfranchised voters I convinced to vote in this fucking election; all the promises I made about their vote counting, about their vote being counted. And here they're not even counting the absentee ballots nor the provisional ballots. I think of the womon who drove her beat-up car that I questioned whether it could make it, drove it up a steep hill to retrieve her social security number so she could vote. I think about all the single mothers that were so stressed over feeding their children but still took the time to register to vote & promise me they wouldn't miss the election for any amounts of money or gold! I think about the disabled veteran, bitter & furious, who ended up registering and agreeing to vote; I think about the womon who told me in 2000 she was turned away from the polls, how she'd felt like a criminal & didn't want to ever feel that way again. I promised her it would not go down like that this time.
These are the people that I feel so bad about: the ones for whom voting is a struggle, a challenge - and they do it. We've failed these people most and i'm so very sad.
And then I feel for all the countless strangers who saw me, saw my truck, saw my 'pink slip bush' t-shirt and contributed to my work = some in not so little tiny ways, like buying my latte or my bus ticket; or just going out of their way to encourage me, to let me know I have their support. All the folks who opened their homes to me, gave me access to their computers, their food, their shelter, their modes of transportation, their time, their energy - mostly strangers again. All the friends, family, neighbors who also contributed to my work, some financially, some w/their skills and/or resources, some w/loans - everyone with their time, eneregy, support. I think of all the strangers, whether sitting on the subway in nyc or at a rest stop in indiana or on the street corner in tucumcari, who took hope and inspiration, believing we really can & will defeat bush. And I weep for all of us.
I don't know which is worse to believe: george bush & his cohorts have managed to steal the election; or that there are really that many u.s. citizens who support bush & his cruel, hateful agenda.
We decide to march over to demo headquarters; we hear there is press there & we want to let them know what we think of them, the cowards, the gutless, spineless demos. I race to the truck to pick up the megaphone and then go to meet the demonstrators. I get to the headquarters & don't see anyone or anything but a locked front door. As I approach the door, I'm told everyone is downstairs where there is juice and food.
Juice & food? I don't want either. I enter the basement to see everyone lounging around, sipping corporate drinks & snacking on corporate treats. I tell folks they're being bought off cheap - we should be out front making a ruckus.
The democrats come to talk with me and a couple of other activists. They are mere volunteers themselves, exhausted and terribly disappointed, like us. I can't allow my sympathy to temper my words too much. Kerry is wrong, I declare, he has deserted us. We want to talk to him & tell him he is wrong, he cannot concede our democracy - just wait until the votes are counted at the very least.
They say they are as heartbroken & upset as we are - but they are brave & resigned already. We declare we are angry & are going fight whether kerry has the guts to fight or not. We march out and head for the truck & then the progressive center. We are having an action planning meeting & an activist training tonite at 7:00p.m. As we approach the truck, there are several wimmin standing around, reading the sides of the truck. We greet each other bravely at first but oh so sadly - suddenly we are all weeping, holding on to each other, strangers united in grief and fear knowing what this administration is about to unleash in our world. And we weep some more. Knowing deep in our hearts, we've worked our butts off for the wrong man, the man who never deserved our support. The man we supported because we knew he would be better than bush.
When we reach the progressive center, we want to rant and rave - and we want to rest - but we can't until Kerry's speech is given. We wait and wait, turning on stupid npr, trying to listen while we express our disbelief over and over and over again. We go over all the numbers, the hundreds of thousands of volunteers we personally know or know someone who knows. Again, I weep for those unfortunate souls who had so much hope, so much determination, so much strength joining together to defeat bush.
We won't believe Kerry concedes until we hear it from his whimpy lips. I wait to hear him express his deep sorrow, his deep desire for us to remain united, remain strong, remain fighting the good fight. Instead he suggests we unite - with what, with whom? bush? He's GOTTA be kidding. I read later, sure, we'll cooperate with the republicans - we'll hug your elephant and you can kiss my ass!
Kiss my ass, Kerry. I think Nader was right - we should not have worked for Kerry. We should have worked for a candidate we believe in, who represents us, who will go down fighting with us, not conceding our democracy. We are all weeping now, listening to kerry, giving up, giving in, not bothering to count the votes, for he's been told statistically, he doesn't have a chance. our votes are given to statistics! fuck him. fuck the whole democratic party.