by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
November 9, 2006
BAREFOOT ON GLASS: AN ELECTION NIGHT DIARY
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- This election almost killed me.
Election Day morning I woke up with my stomach in knots and my head spinning from a dream in which independent U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Sanders was a horse running in the Breeder's Cup Classic and I bet on him but couldn't see the finish line.
Too much was riding on this election. Would enough angry people demand their country back? Where's Karl Rove been for the past three months? Which states is he planning to steal? Will the religious right get their heads out of their lower body parts and realize they're being scammed, or don't the names Mark Foley and Ted Haggard mean anything to them?
If this election is really a referendum on President Bush, will he have the nerve to use all those not-so-secret executive powers he's been coaxing from a lapdog Congress? If the Dems win Congress, will he throw a fit of royal pique and disband it? Will there be tanks rumbling in the streets of Washington this weekend?
By noon, pacing the floors wasn't helping. So I drove down to Dummerston center to vote. The ballot box was stuffed full. Very high turnout, the town clerk said.
By 4 p.m., there were so many computer glitches in Ohio that they were resorting to paper ballots. Paper is good. Dare I hope?
At 5 p.m. I called my mother in southern Florida. Her polling place was jammed, she said, and voting went smoothly. But her television news is reporting lots of computer jams in northern Florida.
I hang up and break out the single malt.
By 6 p.m. I'm too nervous to eat, so I make comfort food: egg noodles drowning in butter. And more Scotch.
At 7 p.m. it's so warm outdoors there's been a moth hatch. Lots of pale creatures fluttering against the windows. Global warming again? Damn the Bush team! But then, damn Bill Clinton, too! We've known about the dangers of global warming for decades. It's not just the Bush family's fault.
Thinking of Clinton, it's obvious that Hillary Clinton will be returned to the Senate. So will many other Dems. But like Clinton, most of them are already corrupt. How many voted for the war in Iraq? Just about all of them. Changing the seating down there from red to blue might not be enough.
Still, with luck Bernie Sanders will be in the Senate, and Sen. Pat Leahy will be running Judiciary. Thank God for Vermont.
Minutes after the polls close in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick is declared the winner. Historic! A black man in the governor's office! He energized the youth of Massachusetts with his campaign. Now we have to pray that he's worthy of their trust. I don't trust too many politicians.
By 7:30 p.m., CNN has mounted a full-scale attack on the election news. They've got colorful maps, flashboards, pasty Lou Dobbs, a stiff, over-tailored Anderson Cooper, and two panels, one of Republicans and one of Democrats. They look like those aging football players ESPN gets to analyze games at half-time, and their conversation is just as inane. The media has seized on the "Can the Dems take back Congress" story and will be beating it to death all night.
After "House," it's all politics all the time. That smarmy Republican-in-Democratic-clothing Joe Lieberman has won as an Independent in Connecticut. He swears he'll caucus with the Senate Dems. Yeah, when hell freezes over.
Here's Sen. John McCain's talking head. He uses the phrase "old-fashioned conservative values" four times in a five-minute bit. He's deluded if he thinks the Republicans will let him near the presidency. But for a shot, he's already sold out - all the credibility he's ever had is gone. A man who's been tortured supporting torture? It's unbelievable.
By 9 p.m., Sanders is confirmed in Vermont; so is Democrat Peter Welch for the House. I'm alone, but I'm screaming and pumping my fist in the air. Must be the Scotch. I didn't like Welch at the beginning, but I've been impressed as his campaign moved along. Sadly, Republican Gov. Jim Douglas and Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie are confirmed, too. Vermont voters are schizophrenic. They want productive change in Washington but they'll be damned if they want it here!
By 10 p.m. we're hearing the words "referendum on Iraq" on every channel. Brian Williams is doing a good job on NBC, but he's positioned himself so his body tilts away from the camera; wrestlers do that to make their chests look more impressive. Every time I try to catch Katie Couric on CBS I get a commercial aimed at housewives. This is not the time to worry about the cleanliness of grout in my bathroom, but it shows us who CBS's target audience is, doesn't it?
11 p.m. Have to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert live on Comedy Central. They announce that creepy Sen. Rick Santorum is out in Pennsylvania; they show a cartoon of him being "raptured" into "a better world." But then they show a picture of Sanders and say "Vermont has managed to become even more irrelevant." Little do they know.
By midnight, I'm an emotional wreck and go to bed. I wake up to find the Dems have taken the House and the Senate race is still tight. Intelligence and humanity have graced Arizona, where voters failed to outlaw gay marriage - although seven other states did. And happily, South Dakota voters refused to pass a draconian anti-abortion law.
Many are now calling this election a "tsunami." "The President is the Biggest Loser" reports the Melbourne Herald Sun. Well, we've known that for a long time.
I'm heartened. People are disgusted with the war, Congress, corruption, incompetence and hypocrisy. But Mssrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ms. Rice are still in power. From here on, my instincts tell me, we're walking barefoot on glass.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at email@example.com.