This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
– Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, November 1972
We prove ourselves citizens of a democracy not by our winning of elections but by our agreeing to lose elections.
– Lewis Lapham
I stayed up until 2 watching the returns, first at the house of some Bucks County Democrats I worked with during the day, and then, after an hour-long sprint down to Philadelphia, sitting on our former neighbors’ couch, in the dark, compulsively reloading CNN.com. Had to get up, red-eyed, at 6:30 a.m. to make my 8:30 flight back to Boston.
While riding the shuttle bus from the rental car place to the airport, a short, middle-aged woman with unruly sandy-brown hair and sandals looked at me and said, “Hey, weren’t you working the elections, too?” I said yes, I had been. We exchanged a few sentences I retained none of, and then, as we were about to go into the airport terminal, she gave me a hug and walked away. It was the best either of us could muster.
I’m … empty. Fear and horror come later. Anger that so many of my countrymen could have such a divergent view of what the American Experiment could be comes soon. Resigned acceptance and continued striving for what I believe in will, eventually, resurface.
But today: I’ve got nothing.