Yes, we did.
November 5th, 2008 → Leave a comment
I woke up, slightly hungover from a lot of late night celebrating to a slew of text messages this morning. They include:
“Good morning. No, last night was not a dream. It really is a new day for America.”
“Good morning to a new page in American history!”
“Yes we can (crap in our pants)”
I was surprised how early John McCain conceded but he so got his ass handed to him.
Last night, en route to the parties, I was in Soo-Jin’s car thinking we had at least another hour to go before any kind of concession. But the swing states have spoken.
I now have faith in Florida, Ohio and Nevada like never before. I take back anything I said four years ago (and in the last year) about people from those states being inbred. They really have proved the world otherwise.
I was stunned how extraordinarily classy McCain was about his loss. His concession speech was probably the first time in all these months I’ve actually been able to listen to him for more than two minutes and feel no creepiness emanating from him.
I was screaming in the car ride as McCain was giving his speech: “We need to get out of this car! We need to watch Obama’s victory speech!”
We paid $20 to park Soo-Jin’s car in Hollywood to go to the “No on 8″ party at the Music Box. Last night was like Happy New Year except Tuesday and a week night. The place was at capacity and we were in line outside trying to get in. Cars were honking victoriously. People jumping and screaming in the street (mostly me).
I was screaming at the security people keeping the line at the Music Box: “Please let us in! There is history happening in a bit! I can’t tell my kids that when Obama gave his speech that I was stuck in a line outside the Music Box!”
We decided to go to the restaurant next door which was a very good option. They had TVs, beers and seats. It was amazing to sit there with people who were also so awed by the moment. I was a wee bit out of control in my enthusiasm (as I’d been a bit inebriated since 6pm– taking sake shots with each state that went blue) but so was everyone else. We were screaming in that bar. Toasting! Crying! I even kissed a couple people (in a non-romantic way)! And when Obama gave that speech there wasn’t an unawed faced in the crowd.
I finally got to watch McCain’s speech just now on Youtube. On the radio, you couldn’t see how Sarah Palin was crying in the back. Part of me is going to miss that crazy unqualified would be VP… but not enough to ever want to see her or her politics near my country again. May she rest in peace along Dan Quayle in the annals of political humor history.
I think it’s odd to see disappointed Republicans who remind me of left wingers of 2000 and 2004. They are now the downtrodden. They are the ones who are depressed. They are suddenly “the oppressed” the “unheard.” They talk of doom and gloom the way we did when Bush was elected, then re-elected.
Maybe they will be the ones to start making bad performance art. They are kind of off to a good start with all their “anti-Obama” art. They seriously should consider taking a survey class in post modern agit-prop theater art.
Later that night, I was at a burrito stand in Echo Park. Cars were still honking and hipsters were screaming in the streets about the high speed train to San Francisco that we will build. One guy was so wasted that he screamed into a police car at a red light, “WE DID IT!! OBAMA!!”
It was amazing, then sobering again when two homeless people came by begging for money and booze. They could have cared less who was elected.
This morning, I was in bed wondering: Holy shit, what am I going to do for a living now that cynicism has been eradicated from this planet? It’s like I have to look at my role as an artist in a whole new way. It’s no longer through the POV of the reactive and helpless American, but instead, from a place where an impossible victory was had. It’s like we’ve been freed by some awful prison sentence. Finally our utopia has arrived.
Oh, but wait….
Prop 8 passed. Some church that I don’t belong to (and one very large church in Utah that I definitely don’t belong to) has decided how half the state should define marriage. Ah yes, I remember that old familiar cynicism because it’s coming back to me.
Yesterday I worked for three hours at a polling place in Brentwood to remind voters “No on 8.” It was amazing how many people took the day off of work to volunteer. There was even an exchange student from Chile there who is going home in a few months but didn’t want to see the proposition pass and was spending the ENTIRE day electioneering at the polls.
My bright moment was when I managed to fenagle a couple of potential “Yes” voters to “Nos.” They were these women who were a little one the shortbus side. You know, wearing their ID’s and bus passes on those clear plastic necklace thingies, lobotomy scars, and wearing sweatshirts and scrub pants even though they clearly didn’t work in a hospital.
The scenario played like this….
KW: Hi, vote no on 8.
Shortbus women: Which one is this?
KW: This is the one that would eliminate marriage rights for all.
Shortbus: (confused) So I believe marriage should be for a man and a woman. Is this the one it is?
KW: Yes, this one is for equal rights and the right to marry for all. (Then I start nodding obligingly like I totally get them.)
Other volunteer: Yes, see, Arnold Schwartzenegger endorses No on 8. A no vote is about marriage equality and equality for all.
(women seem obviously confused by what the word “equality” means)
Shortbus: So if I vote “no” that would mean I am for or against gay marriage?
KW: Yes, a “no” vote would support marriage equality. (I hand her a flier as if it will help her in the booth to meet her objective.)
Shortbus: Oh! Ok! (She starts nodding to her friend. Looking at flier. They walk off.)
(We act calm as volunteers and start screaming at how we just manipulated the mentally challenged as soon as they are out of earshot.)
Hey, listen! I didn’t lie to them! I just told them what was up. That a NO vote would support equality. Which is all it is.
There was an occasional hostile voter who would grumble or shoot a bad look as soon as they saw us. But it was nowhere near as hostile as how I thought electioneering would be. I imagined getting into shouting matches with old people. But nothing close to that ever happened.
One woman said, “I’m voting against this! But if there is anyone who has an issue with gays sees this they won’t vote no! You just totally screwed yourselves!” and stormed off.
We were pretty confused by her too..
I had a tough moment with one woman who said, “It’s not that I’m against gays or anything but my church told me that if gays are allowed to marry, then our church would have to marry them. And we don’t want to be sued and lose our tax exempt status for having to refuse to marry gays. I have to vote ‘yes’ to protect my church.”
Of course, what she had been told by her church is a huge point of misinformation about Prop 8. Churches cannot be forced to marry gay couples (and why would a gay couple want to be married in a church that hates them?) and the government does not have a role in changing how churches run. But Churches have told this and other lies to get their congregations to vote YES.
Sheep and Mentally Challenged people– these are the voters who favor crappy propositions.
I learned from our volunteer captain that propositions get on the ballot when enough petition signatures are gathered. This is not how it happens in other states. The proposition system is great and problematic this way. The perks– anyone can get a proposition on the ballot. The bummer— anyone can get a proposition on the ballot. This is why so often, we have very strange propositions on the ballots.
There was this one proposition about requiring roomier chickens cages that passed. I actually looked at the voting grids and it looks like everyone in California cities voted in favor of it while the rural farm parts voted against it. It’s kind of like Prop 8, people who aren’t affected by gay marriage deciding the fate of gay couples. Except it seems that people who don’t own chickens care more about having room for chickens than they do about actual human beings and just want the equal right to marry who they love.
It was warming to see a lot of older folks, folks who were straight and had no immediate stake in gay marriage say things like: “Absolutely! Without question!”
Some people were so passionately supportive: “I can’t believe this fucking thing is even on the ballot? Who cares if gay people get to marry? It’s none of my business!”
One great funny moment last night was the Mayor came by to the “No on 8″ party. I was inebriated, but my friend was more so. And as I stood at the side of the stage so the mayor could come through, she threw her drunk ass on me and we both fell on the floor.
I was screaming as she was on top of me, “Get up! Get up! The mayor is trying to get through.”
And next thing you know, Mayor Villaraigosa is hovering over the two of us on the floor holding his hand out to us, getting us up off the ground asking, “Are you ok?!”
By the way, our mayor is really freaking handsome.
It strikes my friend and her wife that we are talking to the mayor and they start screaming! Then I start screaming, “Sorry! We’re drunk! And you are the mayor! And I voted for you!”
I took a picture of him with my friends who just got married and was screaming to him: “Mayor! They just got married this weekend and we want to keep it that way!”
He is a good guy and gave a great speech that we would not let this fight end here.
But anyway, Prop 8 passed. I’m still in denial. I haven’t moved the “No on 8″ sign off my balcony.