White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A little patience and hope ...

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt...... If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. "

Thomas Jefferson, 1798

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

US election: A dream ended with nightmare!

Was it all a nice dream or a nightmare? Probably both!

First it was like a nice dream: We worked hard yesterday with an army of volunteers from MoveOn and other organizations. We tried to keep track of people in our district to see who hasn’t voted yet. Then we tried to call those who have not shown up at the poll to make sure they come. And then a short nightmare happened: They called us and said things are not very good in Florida and Ohio and we need to maximize the gain in PA. Then we went crazy. Just called and called and finally ran into every single door in the neighborhood. We truly maximized it and out of 600 people in the district, 540 voted. And on our canvassing we heard that the first exit polls show Kerry ahead in Ohio and Florida. So we were back into a nice dream. And those final minutes of voting just before 8 PM were great. With all the optimism that we all had and the chat that we had on politics of US. And we headed home with the hope that tomorrow is a new bright day.

And then we reached the magic box and news was not all good. Bush was ahead for almost all of the night. Although everything was basically equal till Ohio was clear, but the way that projections worked had Bush ahead all the time.

Then the nightmare started. Florida quickly went to Bush and PA didn’t help that much and as the counting was advancing in Ohio, Bush kept his lead and Kerry never matched. The whole night reminded me the soccer matches of Iran. Whenever some team score against Iran, everyone starts shaking because the chance of catching up is always slim for Iranian team. The supporters calm down and freeze suddenly. It was the same for us. Since the time that they reported 50% for Ohio, I had a feeling that it’s over and there is not a chance that Kerry can catch up.

And finally NBC projected Bush as the president, and CBS and CNN kept silence till this noon that finally Kerry conceded. And that showed how much the division exists in this country not only among people, but also among high ranks of powers in media.
Another 4 years of Bush-Cheney means an ongoing nightmare! Yes, today I was totally confused, frustrated and disappointed. Not only because of Kerry’s loss but only because of the reasons of loss. Apparently the major reason that people have supported W. Bush was because of moral values. What does that mean? That means they don’t care if W has injected billions of dollars of tax cut to US corps and top 1% rich of US and cut many social support programs. And they don’t care that over 1000 American troops have been killed in Iraq along with about 100,000 Iraqi civilians since March 2002 to make sure Halliburton and some other US business entities double their stock prices. What they care is that next door to them, there should not be a gay marriage or abortion happening, because it’s not moral!!
Today is a confusion day for America’s left and progressive movement. Apparently months of public mobilization and volunteer work didn’t pay off. Right wing was able to play the same card and mobilize his social army and bring them to vote and match with us. For a long time we blamed the turn out as a major problem, but this time it was over 65%.
Today I felt that I and probably many others in the left and liberal progressive of this country are living in a fantasy land. Our concerns are totally different than many of people in this country. Years of conservatives’ investments on educational manipulation, media buy outs and religious influence has worked out and now there is such a division between conservative/religious America and the rest of the modern world. Apparently the problem is deeper than what we thought originally and it can not be easily solved by political mobilization and volunteer work 6 months before the election. There is an educational and cultural gap between the liberal and conservative America which is feeding the whole corporate structure of the world at the moment. Filling such a gap, requires a radical change in the media and educational system of this country and that what the progressive America which partially has access to good chunk of the wealth in this country need to work out. Conservatives started from point zero in 1960s and brought America into the dark and disappointing today buy concrete effort and support. The liberal-progressive America needs to do the same if it wants to survive. Otherwise soon or late we will all be competing each other to immigrate to Canada or EU.
Yes yesterday was a nightmare and the days ahead are so. But we can always wake up and start doing something even very primary and small, but at least with hope that we won’t have a new nightmare tomorrow again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Half way thru the election

Just came home from volunteering at polls! As far as I heard from local people the turn out is quite higher than previous elections. Some people were saying it's twice, but ...
The news are both good and bad: The turn out is quite high nationaly but at the same time a terrible manipuation has started in Ohio. In an overnight verdict, the suprem court reversed an earlier ruling by lower courts and allowed challenging voters at the polls by party supervisors. That means that bunch of republicans are going to heavily democratic neighborhoods and pick at many of the African Americans or Latinos and challenge their documents and probably stop them from voting. This will definitely makes the lines longer and frustrates people more and more.

Now electoral-vote.com is projecting both Bush and Kerry below 270 electoral votes which means no one has the real majority. Media has been working hard over the past few weeks to prepare people for a case of total deadlock. That means election would go out of the hand of voters to the backscene negotiations in senate and house of reps. Probably republicans know that Kerry is going to win. They just want to completely weaken him and his legitimacy before giving him the power. In some way Bush started his presidency like that and if Sep 11th hadn't happen, he would have had a misreble time to rule the government.

Anyway, we don't have the choice but to hope that people's turn out and high votes for Kerry neuralizes all these craps and finishes the whole thing this evening.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The night before Election

Yes, I'm quite stressed about the outcome of the election. I truely can't afford another 4 years of W. Bush. We kept checking the electoral-vote.com day after day and now it's projecting Kerry as the winner, but who can believe the monsters like Rumsfeld,Cheney, etc. are out, before you hear the actual concession.

America is truely devided. The polls claim that it's a 50-50 devide, but I don't believe it. But independent of the numbers of the splite, the undecided people are a small minority. That means that whoever who is the president is going to have a difficult time to fight for his policies in such a sensitive time.

The flow of information about this election has been incredible. You need to be an absolute dumb in this country if you don't know there is an election tomorrow. The media coverage has been fairly good. If it's a fair election tomorrow, whoever wins the election, I can't say that Americans picked him because of ignorance or misinformation. There has been tremendous amount of debate, more than what I could have imagined and definitely much more than the previous two elections. But the big IF remains there: if it's a fair election without major manipulaition. It seems to me that democrates are going to fight for death this time. One of the few areas that democrates in senate fought over the past few years was the regional judge selections. And that will definitely pay off in this election.
PBS broacasted a very interesting documentary about Kerry and Bush's life in paralel from 1960s till this election. To some extent my respect for Kerry was increased both as a liberal citizen and also politician. And it's so depressing to see a dumb and untallented person like Bush is ruling America and still at least 40% of this country support him!

On sunday, we did a full day of work in the neighborhood with moveon people to give the final information about the poll station and voter's rights. People in the democrate neighborhood that went are so eager to go and vote and get rid of Bush. The undecided ones are really few in this election.

Tomorrow is a historic day in most of Americans' life and defintely for me too.
Here is what a friend from moveon.org sent me about tomorrow:

Because this is it, folks. Tomorrow is the day.
Three years ago, George Bush was unbeatable. He had sky-high approval ratings. The media adored him. And his allies attacked the patriotism of anyone who spoke against him.
But that was before Bush invaded Iraq. Before he had racked up the largest deficit in American history. Before he exploited the unity we all felt after 9/11 to push through his radical right-wing agenda.
Before millions of Americans stood up to take their country back.
Now he’s hanging on for dear life. And we can tip him over the edge.
Tomorrow is the day.
Tomorrow is the day we’ve been waiting for, the day when all those doors we’ve knocked on, all those people we’ve called and talked to, all that hard work will finally pay off. Tomorrow’s the day that we’ve been training for.
And it may be a long day. Around 3pm, you’ll probably get tired, and your team may get a little cranky, and you all will wish, just a little, that you could spend the afternoon reading a book and forgetting all about this politics stuff.
But we’ve got to dig deep. We’ve got to keep our eye on the ball. We’ve got an election to win.
Tomorrow is the day.
In 1990, Rudy Boschwitz was unbeatable, an establishment Republican Senator from Minnesota rolling in cash. When Paul Wellstone, a scruffy populist college professor, declared his candidacy, no one thought he had a chance – no one even thought it was a real race.
But Paul got on a green-painted school bus and went around the state, talking to groups no matter how small, going to parts of the state Boschwitz never did. Everywhere he went, he brought a hopeful message about change and a commitment to the people of Minnesota. And then he won.
Paul died two years ago, and he’s missed. But what we’re going to do tomorrow will prove that the ideals he believed in live on. "When too many Americans don't vote or participate,” he said, “some see apathy and despair. I see disappointment and even outrage. And I believe that out of this frustration can come hope and action." Wellstone told people: "The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Tomorrow is going to be a Paul Wellstone day.
Tomorrow is the day that, together, we’re going to take our country back.
Until then!
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