I just talked to a friend who spent a 10-hour day volunteering in Toledo ,”pulling people out of housing projects,” most of whom had to cast provisional ballots. He’s going back to school now, but he’s absolutely determined that we should count all those votes. “We rolled over last time,” he says simply.
That is true. But the number I can’t stop thinking about is Bush’s 3.7 million lead in the popular vote. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was beset by a feeling of unreality on 9/11. But last night I felt that I’ve been living in this alternate reality ever since. In my America, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets regularly, with overwhelming energy and force, in solidarity with a progressive agenda of nonviolence, social welfare and vigorous defense of Constitutional rights. We give millions of dollars as ordinary citizens for the candidates we believe in, and hundreds of thousands of us volunteer to help them win. We use the Internet to share ideas, expose lies, and grow closer as a community. We recognize and celebrate our country’s diversity, and we understand how important it is to stay in touch with the rest of the world. Our culture includes plenty of humor at the expense of our bogeymen, the enemies of freedom and truth, but fundamentally it is a positive one. I just didn’t realize until now that this America is a subculture, a parallel universe. The real America is the one most of the world sees. Now that they see the results of this election, they’ll think that they’re right.