So. Having got my cussing out of the way, what I really have to say about yesterday's U.S. Presidential election mostly concerns the popular vote. (Mandate or not, it's orders of magnitude better than last time, and oh shit international opinion is not going to be good, but I'm trying to keep my thoughts as local as possible for the time being.) I find it hard to believe that more than half the country thinks we're on the right track and should keep going along these lines, but that's what the people who voted yesterday seem to be saying. Yeah, there's been plenty of dirty tricks and voter fraud and intimidation and whatnot --- again --- but 4 million is too big a number for me to write off as pure corruption. Much as the goings-on in Ohio may resemble those in Florida in 2000, at the end of the day there's some 4 million more people who voted "four more years!" over "no! please! anything but that!" and that means either this year's spectacular get-out-the-vote efforts were unable to reach a lot of malcontent and disenfranchised people, or there's a lot more people in favor of the status quo than I thought, and it's making me feel even more like an alien than usual. That said, it's been reassuring to retreat into the bubble of like-minded people on my LiveJournal Friends list, even if it doesn't really change anything in any way. Which is starting to get to the point of this post. You may have already heard or read something by me to this effect before, but I feel it's worth repeating:
Despite all the stupid TV news coverage about the hate and anger and fear driving this election, none of those have ever been the emotion or the question driving me. And I refuse to believe that everyone else who voted this time around was doing it just for hate or fear or anger, too. My emotion, whether I'm feeling it or just thinking about it, is hope. Because (as I told auranja,) dammit, I voted in an effort to make the world suck less. Isn't that the goal? Isn't that what it's all about? C'mon, Team Humanity, help me out here! It's almost enough to make me hit the streets with a tape recorder to start interviewing people. My question before this election and now, and probably for the next four years, and maybe beyond, is: Where do you get your hope? Because hope/hoping is a choice, and I think voting is an inherently hopeful act, or else why bother, because I'm so mind-boggled by the thought that there's so many people out there who pinned their hopes on the Bush/Cheney ticket, and to my everlasting surprise I don't want to give up on the idea that this is still all one country yet, and finally because I'm all too obnoxiously prone to fits of apathy and despair, I think hope is a good theme to be thinking and acting on for a while.
And on that note, I'd like to thank everybody on my LJ friends list who's posted something hopeful, and thank a few people in particular for entries that made me somewhat happier. I'm glad to report that the number of these entries is growing, and I may keep adding to this list, more or less in the order in which I find the entries that qualify for my admittedly somewhat arbitrary "hope fodder" standards: Abi, Lisa, Marcy (as always, way better than Barbie), Crazy Old Man Meyer, my favorite itinerant philosopher, Sara, Dan, and even Kim's little bit of black humor here. I've also had beneficial non-LJ conversations with ideath and pants_of_doom, although there's nothing written I can point you to there.
So. This is the audience participation part of my post. I've thought of another thing I should've added to my list of things I'm not worried about yesterday (filtered), which is my friends being anything less than completely awesome. So tell me about hope, friends. Where do you get your hope? What makes you choose to hope? What inspires your hopes? And so on. I will be filtering your answers, so no one can read them but me; let me know if you want to keep them private thoughts between us or you're cool with me showing them to the whole wide world (this is a public post). Tell your friends to tell me about hope, if you like. Like I said, I want to write about this. I want to think about it a lot. So give me food for thought.
This entry took me literally hours to write, and I've been composing it mentally for far longer. If I'd waited much longer in posting it, I might have had enough second thoughts to keep from posting it at all.