Thursday, October 09, 2003

Just didn't have the heart to write anything yesterday ... .

The election took its toll, and a kind of numbness has set in. Will probably crash out of this in a few days, and be ready to react. For the moment, though, the lack of feeling is a blessing. Some of this comes from the deep sense of the "too late-ness" for me. After a long life of watching the pendulum swing left to right -- then right to left -- I should be finding comfort in the knowledge that this, too, shall pass. But this is different. There is little or no chance that I have enough time to see history self-correct.

There's another disturbing factor. Over the past several decades, that pendulum has failed to reach the left side -- but has swung right to middle-left, from right to right-left, center to right, and finally, right. The Left side of the national debate has all but disappeared. It would have completely disappeared except for the fact that a great influence in our lives is the Bay Areas' and the country's very first public network, Pacifica Radio, which surely has influenced the political climate of the San Francisco Bay Area and all of the 9 counties that make it up. We totally rejected the recall. Arnold did not win the north coast, but was resoundingly defeated here. The statistics are dramatic. Speaking "truth to power" has kept us in balance, and given us a sense of connectedness to others of like mind.

One might wonder why this huge state doesn't divide into two? The southern end of the state is the most populous and therefore has the greatest representation in the legislature. All of the celebrity representatives have come from that part of the state where star power counts. When I think about it, there should have been little surprise in the outcome on Tuesday. After all, they've sent to Washington, song and dance man, George Murphy, Sonny Bono, Ronald Reagan, among others, and now The Terminator.

The maps in today's newspapers shows that the Bay Area and all of the northern coast voted solidly against the recall. This would explain the optimism we were all feeling in the days leading to election day. We've never seen greater participation. In the office where I did phone-banking on election day, people were lined up waiting for a turn at the phones. There were many volunteers doing poll watching and driving folks to the polls. We were ecstatic at the turnout which was unprecedented (80% in San Francisco!). We were surrounded by a world of people who shared our concerns and our enthusiasm for the process.

On election day I went from the phone banking to city hall. As a member of the Arts Commission, I needed to participate in the presentation of our annual report at the regular meeting of the city council. That was at 7:30. Drove home immediately afterward to find the vote count well underway and concession speeches already being made. I was in shock! How could this be? Slowly undressed and climbed into bed without watching the painful process unfolding to a national audience that vacillated between shock, ridicule, and disbelief .

The words playing against the back of my closed eyelids as I fell off to sleep were, "...and California was to serve as the bulwark of resistance to the president's re-election campaign."
Dropped off to a troubled sleep after a brief cry. Just too tired to spend any more energy on "the world."

Today I go back to dealing with the micro. The macro will have to take care of itself. So today it's the Barbara Alexander Academy project, and tonight the Arts Commission and Chamber of Commerce Mixer at the Convention Center. Will reel in my vulnerability and resist the temptation to watch the political carnage that is bound to take place as the process of transition begins. State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Senator Pro Tem John Burton are probably salivating at the thought of peeling back the state of the state to this neophyte cocky governor-designate. Would love to be a fly on the wall in the Capitol over the next week or so. Watch for some dramatic back-peddling as Ahnold begins to see what he's stepped into. It will be sobering. But maybe not nearly as sobering as the pictures in my head right now as life continues to rival the most bizarre of scenarios.

Having put my worry into words, ... feeling better. Short of joining some movement to divide the state just below Big Sur (couldn't bear to give that up), there's little that I can think of to do.