As you all know by now, I kept my New Year's Resolution for 2000. Granted, it took the dirtiest election in United States history to get me to do it… but I did do it. And I plan to do it again.
In the waning hours of the year 2000, as we approach the beginning of the Third Millennium (the real one), thoughts turn to New Year's Resolutions, and how we can improve ourselves and our lives in the coming year.
Tradition puts a great deal of emphasis on resolutions like getting in shape and losing weight… So if you want to give Kate Moss or The Rock a run for their money, The Diva is behind you all the way. But I plan to make just one resolution for the new year: TO STAY ANGRY.
I know that doesn't sound like much, but just a couple of years ago, an awful lot of Americans were furious, and promising to stay that way. You see, despite their wishes, calls to their elected representatives, and letters to the editors, Republicans tried to unseat their President -- the most popular American President since people started keeping track of such things.
At the time, some of us (The Diva included) called it a coup, a naked power-grab, an undemocratic exercise in opposition to the people's will. Others claimed it was an aberration. A one-time deal.
I think Coup2K proves that we were right, and they were wrong.
So here we are again, with the people on one side of an issue (by over a half a million votes), and the GOP on the other side. Will the people stay angry? Are they capable sustained outrage? Of righteous indignation? I can't speak for them, but I can speak for me. I have no doubts that I can, and I'll tell you why:
Any time I feel my passion cooling, all I will need to do is remember; remember what it felt like to watch democracy betrayed.
And I will remember.
I will remember what it felt like to watch the Palm Beach County voters laughed at and called "retards."
I will remember what it was like watching James Baker insist that rejected ballots had been counted, recounted, and recounted again and again.
I will remember what it was like listening to the Bush camp discredit manual recounts, knowing that their candidate had signed a manual recount law in his own state, had gained votes in manual recounts in six counties in Florida, and had requested recounts in other states.
I will remember what it was like hearing for the first time that GOP operatives had, with the help of partisan elections officials, altered the absentee ballot requests in Martin and Seminole Counties.
I will remember how it felt to know that black Americans were dropped from the voting rolls for no good reason, showed up with their registration in hand, only to be turned away; and what it felt like to know that others were intimidated, harassed, or left waiting in line, only to have their polls closed.
I will remember what it felt like to watch the Republican rent-a-mob shut down the recount in Miami-Dade County, and then to hear about the Bush-Cheney call to congratulate them.
I will remember how I felt when Gore was called "Sore Loserman," his Vice Presidential Residence was besieged; and what I felt when a skinhead in Los Angeles singled me out at a protest to taunt me with his racism and bigotry.
I will remember what it was like to believe for a brief moment, after the Florida Supreme Court decision, that the ballots would finally be counted, only to have the United States "Supreme" Court step in and shut down the process and run out the clock. I will remember the press reaction, and how the "experts" couldn't make sense of the decision, or defend it.
But most of all, I will remember what it was like watching Al Gore concede a race that he won, and what it felt like to learn that everything I had believed about my country was a lie, a sham, a shell game, and that I was gullible enough to have fallen for it.
I don't think I am going to have any trouble at all keeping my 2001 New Year's Resolution. I think it's going to be easy this year.
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NEXT: SINGLE-ISSUE VOTING