The last few weeks have been hard on me. I relied on magical thinking to survive them. I convinced myself that if I didn't get in any huge fights with anyone (especially family members), and if I watched every single episode of The Daily Show and The Rachel Maddow Show, and caught a few episodes now and then of smart liberal commentary via Now with Alex Wagner or Up with Chris Hayes, and checked Nate Silver's 538 blog at least once every single day, everything would be OK.
And everything WAS OK, so either my magical thinking worked or all that fuss and bother wasn't necessary for anything but my own ability to cope.
Now that it's over, I would like to thank Nate Silver for helping me survive. Like so many progressives, I relied on his blog. It kept me relatively calm and reassured. Nate, I wish I could endow a math department in your name at my alma mater and give you a foot rub.
Not that I was too sanguine yesterday. I tried to find ways to stay away from my computer: it made me crazy that I couldn't start checking results first thing in the morning. So I went to work. I ran errands. I went on an eight-mile hike. I washed all my dishes. I took a really long bath. I made hot chocolate, and then I sat down to start dealing with the results. I was hopeful, but I was also prepared for bad news. At least, I told myself I was.
I'm just not one to count my chickens before they hatch. I'm not even one to count my chickens AFTER they hatch. In my book, it's still to early to count them when they are cute little fluffy yellow things. I wait until they have molted all their down and grown feathers and started laying eggs. THEN I count them.
I don't know if it's basic skepticism or wise caution or a somewhat malign distrust of good news, but I just can't believe any good outcomes until they're really confirmed. I just can't. I can only hope. It's sort of a hard way to approach the world, but it's the nature nature gave me.
The first truly good news of the evening was Elizabeth Warren's victory over Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race. I wanted to believe it.... But I couldn't quite. And then the news from the electoral map started to get quite good.... And then Fox News called Ohio for Obama, and my facebook friends (with whom I shared the election--that was pretty darn fun, actually) started getting all happy, and I kept remembering 2000, which I went to bed with one winner and woke up with another. I kept waiting for something to change.
But it hasn't changed. Obama is still the winner. Mitt Romney is still the loser. MITT ROMNEY LOST. Romney/Ryan lost Massachusetts, where Romney was governor and supposedly has his residency; Michigan, where Romney's father was a beloved governor and Romney was born; and Wisconsin, where Ryan grew up and was elected to the house. Nota bene: It's hard to win the country when even your neighbors don't really like you.
I'm grateful that the craziest Republican candidates (with the exception of Michele Bachmann) lost their races--especially the awful guys with the horrible ideas about rape. An article about how crazy rape comments helped torpedo a few campaigns prompted me to offer this prayer on Facebook:
Dear Goddess, please, PLEASE, let this be the end of "gray-faced men with two dollar haircuts," as Tina Fey so brilliantly put it, spouting complete BULLSHIT about rape and women's bodies. Let no more such men be taken seriously as candidates for high public office. Let all parties understand that ignoring basic biology and presuming to dictate to women how they should approach tragedy and trauma and its aftermath is a sure road to defeat and irrelevancy. Let us shape better conversations about what being "pro-life" means. Let us end not only these stupid remarks about rape and unwanted pregnancies, but rape and unwanted pregnancy. Let us educate ourselves, our grandpas, our daughters and our sons. Let us respect women. Let us respect women and let respect for women transform us all. In the name of all that is holy and good, kthnxbai.
I watched Romney's concession speech, grateful that I wouldn't have to see his horrible smarmy smile too many more times. I watched Obama's wonderful victory speech. I stayed up long enough to get the results of the final race I really cared about: Democrat Jim Matheson, whom I voted for, defeated Republican Mia Love, whom I didn't. At that point, all that was left was for me to quote Samuel Pepys: "And so to bed."
I commented on a few threads, finished reading a bit of commentary. The song playing on my itunes as I got ready to call it a night was "All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose," with lyrics by Woody Guthrie and music from Billy Bragg. I couldn't have chosen a better soundtrack if I'd planned it.
Except that I couldn't sleep.... So I got up to see if anything had changed in the 45 minutes I'd been in bed, and found this photo of John Boehner in a sweater so hideous it very nearly destroyed any and all optimism I'd acquired after such stunning victories for gay marriage, women, the Affordable Care Act....
But thanks the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals, I managed to fall asleep. Woke up to a world that looked a lot like it did when I went to bed, which is always nice. Today I'm too exhausted and too worried about the many challenges we now face to be jubilant, but I do feel some truly delightful schadenfreude when I think of all the money Sheldon Adelson et al BLEW on the election. I keep thinking about how glad I am not to have to think about Mitt anymore, which involves thinking about him. Oh well.
Anyway, after what I've endured this election cycle, I deserve a nice evening out with friends, which is what I have planned for tonight. I have the rest of the week to deal with after that, and then, when the weekend hits, I'm thinking I might be in a post-election coma, and that might be a good thing.