Monday, January 19, 2009

24 Hours To Go

I can't remember exactly when, but sometime in 2004 I found a java script countdown clock and put it on my blog. Titled "Bush by the Second", I had programmed it to count down to noon on January 20th, 2005, and watched it with growing anticipation as the days peeled away throughout the year.

There was no way this country was going to re-elect this guy, right? I knew it would be a close election, but there was no doubt in my mind that Kerry would win. It just didn't seem possible that we would vote to return this criminal to office. Well, you know how that turned out. I went to bed sometime in the early hours of November 3rd, 2004, feeling sick to my stomach. Literally nauseous.

Mark Morford. I was into him at the time.

It simply boggles the mind: we've already had four years of some of the most appalling and abusive foreign and domestic policy in American history, some of the most well-documented atrocities ever wrought on the American populace and it's all combined with the biggest and most violently botched and grossly mismanaged war since Vietnam, and much of the nation still insists in living in a giant vat of utter blind faith, still insists on believing the man in the White House couldn't possibly be treating them like a dog treats a fire hydrant.

Shock. Over the next few days, searching for anything to make me feel better, I blogged some good stories: Cincinnati repealed its anti-gay law, California voted to fund stem cell research. Ashcroft quit, as did Betsy DeVos. But the bitter taste remained, and got worse: Bush proclaimed he was going to spend his "political capital", reports from Ohio indicated problems with the electronic voting machines, Americans flocked to Canada's immigration web site, the violence in Iraq continued, a man committed suicide at Ground Zero, Jerry Falwell was to form a group to "guide an "evangelical revolution", based on the results of the election.

That clock on my site mocked me. I was disgusted with the Democrats, disgusted with the country, just plain disgusted with everything. I toyed with taking the damn thing off, or just quitting blogging altogether, walking away from the fight. But Molly Ivins gave me an idea of what was to come...

Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise. Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could.

He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. Leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast.

The thing'll smell so bad that the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

That sounded so prophetic to me. She was right. Given their attitude after the election, it was certain that these people would continue on with the madness that would lead us to ruin, and therefore, eventually, change. I reset the clock to January 20th, 2009. I forget the exact numbers it read at that moment, over 1500 days though, and there it sat for the next four years, counting down the days, hours, seconds...

My life was radically altered in 2005 with the death of two of my closest friends. Long story short, over the course of four years, everything I knew was slowly stripped away from me - the band, the job, the people I loved. Still I blogged though. It helped. Got into photography. Started reading Kos religiously. Learned how to blog "better"; creating the thread of an argument with multiple stories, and writing straight from the heart (thank you Maryscott) - and pumped all that rage and grief onto the electronic page. I had this governor I liked a lot, you see, and I decided to stick with this through the 2006 election, because dammit, they weren't going to get her too... and the rest, as they say, is history. Pretty wild stuff for an ex-drunken bass player/artist who had very little inclination to get that interested in the political world. I set out on a mission.

You can thank George Bush and all his disciples in this state for that. Disastrous Republican "conservative" policy, coupled with your smug arrogance and faux righteousness, turned me into the fighting machine that I am today. At the time this publishes on BFM, the clock will say "0 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes...." and the goodbyes are finally, finally starting for real. Meteor Blades summed it up the best...

Good-bye to your rip-offs, your malice, your arrogance, your ignorance, your outlawry, your denial, your deceit, your cronyism and your stubborn refusal to cease pushing the envelope in the department of shameless villainy. Goodbye to the administration you constructed of turdiness and explained with truthiness. To your smirk and your snarl. To your conscienceless cruelty. Good-bye to your corruption, your vanity, your world without grays. Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, you insufferable despots, and good riddance.

But never farewell.

... and the feeling of excitement, anticipation, and of sweet, blessed relief, will continue to grow until that magic moment when Bush is on the plane out of town, and a new era dawns in this country.

Change is coming to America, but change doesn't happen overnight. There still will be those out there clinging to Bushism, to divisiveness, to failed policy, to the old way of thinking. Like the last bits of rotted flesh on that skeletal chicken, their stench will be around to remind us to be vigilant for the infection that wants to remain in the body politic. Their incessant avarice, ignorance, and desire for a people divided and conquered will cause them to say things like this:

We believe that a Democrat is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man -- a debt that he proposes to pay off with other people's money -- our taxes.


We fear that no Michigander's life, liberty, or property is safe when a Democrat-controlled Legislature is in session.

Or this:

I do not support no-reason absentee voting. Anything the Democrats want so badly, I am naturally suspicious of and almost always opposed to.

That would be Mike Bishop and Michelle McManus, uttering those words that seek to destroy our positive sense of purpose, our coming together to make this a better state, a better world. They are just two examples of the attitude that still lingers and wants to keep hold - and there are so many others, as you probably know.

Don't let them in. Don't let them win. It will take time, maybe years, to heal from this sickness, to return our state and country to full strength. Our task now is to keep fighting until the last traces of the infection can no longer threaten to destroy our lives and the lives of others, to stop it in its tracks before it can grow and make us ill again.

I'm going to reset my clock after tomorrow to a countdown to spring training, and do my best to look forward to a positive future, and I hope, some "change" for myself as well. But I will still be here, still be watching and calling out the warning when the need arises, and, given some of the statements already made that indicate some people haven't learned the lesson yet, the need to do so will be frequent.

24 hours more of darkness. Say your goodbyes. Tomorrow, the light starts shining once again.