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Sunday, November 7, 2004

Iíve spent the five days since Tuesday trying to come to terms with what happened in the election, but now Iím not so sure it was such a wonderful use of my time. This idea of ďprocessingĒ is the intellectual equivalent of the rationalizing I do on a daily basis.

That rationalizing is what allows me, for example, to take several extra coffee breaks during the work day, and extend them well beyond the usual time allotted for such breaks, and then use that time to catch up on whatís happening on General Hospital. Or reading those coming-of-age novels I enjoy so much (probably because Iíve never felt as if I quite grew up myself).

The act of processing (that is, the process) hasnít gained me much insight, other than a swirling maelstrom of explanations that Iíve picked up here and there. With the hindsight of nearly a week, I can see now that it wasnít an explanation that I was really looking for. It was something else. It was validation.

The truth is, I didnít exactly find it. I found plenty of people who agreed with me about what they thought should have happened, and I found loads of explanations about what people thought did happen. But the more I read, the clearer I hear that voice telling me I donít know the answer. Probably there is no single answer, and Iíve already run through all the partial ones, so itís time to move on.

Thatís easier said than done, though, isnít it? When high expectations are shattered, you want to know why. You feel betrayed, and you want to find a way to aim the blame so it splatters on the guilty without sullying you and your friends, even if you share that blame.

Itís a little like losing the Super Bowl or the World Series; it doesnít matter how close you came, if victory slipped away. Itís like a failed love affair, or a bankrupt business venture. The post mortems can be more devastating than the defeat, almost paralyzing. You sort through the facts, glean whatever helpful hints you can, and apply that knowledge to the rest of your life. What you donít do is turn the process of processing into the rest of your life.

2 November 2004

Cloudy sky.

The election is over. The history of the world is not. Hope and opportunity have kept us going through darker times than this, when hope was dimmer and opportunity less accessible. We havenít come through six billion years of evolution to slither back into the ooze, and we havenít survived the last four years to hand our fate over to anyone.

Maybe that sounds like rationalizing to you. To me itís the beginning of a new process, one that looks ahead more than backward. (Which is pretty much what Iíve been trying to tell myself for the last five days anyway.)

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This doesnít mean Iím backing off from demanding an investigation (and paper ballots). And it definitely doesnít mean Iím going to turn my back while the administration hijacks the Constitution and thumbs its nose (and by extension ours) at the rest of the world. I wonít be leaving the country to Those People. Iím not feeling very charitable or tolerant right now, but Iíll get over it. Charity and tolerance are too much a part of my nature.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Driven
"We left Santa Rosa in the rain at 1:00 this afternoon and found our hotel in Anaheim at 9:30 pm on a warm, balmy Southern California night. In between we saw a lot of brown fields and a million taillights. I'm so glad I wasn't the one driving."

Three years ago: Oversold
"The trouble is, because Davis made such a big deal about this vague, unsubstantiated rumor, he accomplished what the terrorists would have been trying to do if there actually had been a threat."

Four years ago: Do We Have Enough Lifeboats?
"What a wonderful brouhaha we would witness if recounts or late results turn this thing upside down. But then I remember who the governor of Florida is. Jeb Bush's administration will be handling the tallying there."

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