Remembering the Day the USA began to Die

I would imagine that everyone has an opinion on this. Some would say that it will never happen, some will say it has already happened. I say that the process is still underway.

Here’s my recollection of the day the USA began to die…at least the day I lost my ooh-rah. I wrote this at the time but am sharing it now.

Tuesday was Election Day. The big race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. The race had taken a fairly nasty turn in the last few days of the election. Bush said Gore wasn’t qualified and Gore said Bush wasn’t. As if anyone is qualified to be the boss of the world. I was antsy in the morning. I kept going upstairs and turning on the TV to watch CNN.

I had decided to vote. The thing that swayed me was a program detailing the number of people in this country who are completely disenfranchised. Anyone who has committed a felony. Generally for life, they cannot vote…even if they served their time and have been trying to be a good citizen for years. The homeless. The extremely poor. Illegal aliens. People who registered to vote and were not allowed to because the registration cards were not sent in on time.

I voted for Ralph Nader.. At first they told me I couldn’t vote because I hadn’t brought my ID. The nice old lady let it slide when I told her I’d lost my wallet. I wonder if my vote was ever counted.

The Gore campaign kept saying a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. To me it seemed a sneaky way to avoid the fact that there were really very few differences between the two parties. It allowed the two party system to steal a block of votes based on fear rather than conscience. It pissed me off. They didn’t let Nader in the debates. That pissed me off more.

Election night was like a Monday Night Football game. I’d never seen it like that before. A big screen with the score showing in the upper right corner. I watched the ‘big game’ with my roommates while we chugged beers. It was fun. Men, sports, and politics. Never mind how we felt about the things that really affected us. Never mind that every one of us probably felt like there was something missing from our lives. Let’s watch the game. I was really into it. It really was fun. The race was neck and neck. We took a lot of bong rips and drank plenty of beers. It was like I was living in a frat house.

Florida went to Gore. He was penalized. The networks later awarded Florida and the Presidency to Bush. The Democrats called a foul. A recount in Florida as Bush’s 50,000-vote lead fell to 500 or less. I went to bed with Bush the winner and woke up with the race undecided. American democracy had failed. Gore won the popular vote and Bush’s brother had publicly said his brother would win Florida -where he happened to be the Governor. How far would it go?

Wednesday the confusion in the Presidential race continued. The Bush people let the world know that Gore had called and conceded the presidency with the 50,000 vote Florida lead but then called back to take back his concession after the true results came. They started throwing the idea of recounts in other states out there. The Gore people demanded a hand recount in Palm Beach County. The count got underway. Shads and bullshit.

The results flip-flopped. No one knew anything. While not leaderless, America was suddenly facing a crisis like no other in modern times. Gore held a strong majority in the popular vote. It was the faulty Electoral College that would determine the winner though. Florida was key with the winning twenty-five electoral votes going to the winner of the popular vote in Florida itself. It was within a few hundred votes. Already there was substantial evidence of voter fraud.

“What do you think about this election?” People everywhere asked the same question. We all talked about it. Everyone was talking about it. Rage was simmering – everywhere. Outrage.

I watched the continuing saga unfold in the political arena on the television. The country was pretty much split down the middle in party lines. I liked the idea of Republicans and Democrats throwing rocks at each other like Palestinians and Israelis. It was a battle of the rich versus the rich while the poor waited to see how they’d get screwed this time.

Eventually, weeks later, the Supreme Court (mostly appointed by Bush, Sr. told the world that George W. Bush was the winner. Al Gore bowed out gracefully – he showed himself for a pussy. Gave up again when he knew he had been cheated. There were no casualties.  No casualties except the dignity and character of the United States. If these fuckers could steal a government, it meant they could do anything they wanted.