The president visited Chattanooga the other day. Big story. Big, big story.
My pal Nick designed the TFP’s front page for the event. Big page. Big, big page.
And yet this is how the paper looked when it hit driveways.
It’s hard being the only flaming liberal in your little family. Okay, my aunt Vicki is also a flaming liberal. So there are two of us, I guess, among a sea of red. Red so red that I am regularly inundated with emails calling out Obama for not being patriotic enough. Not loving his country enough. Not saluting the flag enough. Not being Christian enough. And my dad has been saying for years that Obama is an undercover Muslim hellbent on destroying the U.S. from the inside. He knows this because he heard it from a guy who does construction for some Muslim dude who said it was true. I like to imagine that scenario: Muslim prankster chews sandwich and scares the shit out of a couple of nearby white dudes by confirming their biggest fear.
I try to keep my mouth shut because we all know arguing with your family about politics is a nonstarter, but sometimes I can’t. Keep arguing long enough and you realize there are parallel realities happening. It’s scary.
Just this weekend my family was in town for Holden’s birthday party and apparently (I found out the next day when I left for work) my brother ripped up my Obama yard sign and my dad replaced it with a Romney sign. I don’t run around ripping up his Confederate flags and putting down, uh, American flags. Because that’s his thing and even though I disagree with it and think it’s divisive and hurtful, that’s his property and his house. I let it be. I reckon those rules have changed though, going by precedent.
Here we are in the afterglow of a re-election victory. What a relief. I haven’t called or texted anyone to gloat. I remember how I felt in 2004 when Kerry lost. Just fucking beside myself with grief. How could the country be so stupid? I’m sure Republicans are reeling in the same way. Those stupid Democrats and their stupid lack of stupid comments about rape. And their stupid legal weed and their stupid marriage equality.
God, I want to gloat.
Four years ago, in January, I got to witness history being made. That picture up there shows an enormous crowd at the Obama inauguration. It was an honor and a fucking blast to be present for that. The vibe was incredible and it’s one of the most important and cool things I have ever done. I’d like to go again.
It feels good to win but it feels even better to see the tide turn toward sanity. I have to remember that it is a tide, though, and sometimes it will recede. We take steps forward and then get yanked back sometimes. You can’t lose hope and you can’t check out. Politics is not a game and I get irritated when I hear people dismiss it as such. Those people in slick suits politicking are going to make the rules you live your life by; you sure as shit better pay attention, read something every now and then, and contribute.
And for god’s sake, don’t get caught on the wrong, hateful side of history.
They are directing traffic in the parking lot of my office so that people can drive up and buy editions of today’s paper. Demand was so high that they printed up 40,000 additional copies and they’ll be offering up other promotional items in the days to come.
I’ve not been in the newspaper business very long, so I’ve only lived through an era in which print is said to be dying a slow death. I’ve never really known what it feels like to face great demand for your product, so I have to confess: It’s flippin’ awesome.
All morning (okay, all three hours I’ve been up), I’ve been crawling all over the interwebs, devouring everything I could find about what happened last night. The whole Proposition 8 nonsense out in California is dampening an otherwise banner day. But as other people have pointed out quite eloquently and diplomatically, tides turn — Obama’s parents’ union was illegal in many states at one time and now look how far we’ve come — and social justice will prevail. We have taken a step in the right direction nationally; let’s keep up the momentum.
I’ve been trying and trying to get Newseum to play nice and let me see the foreign front pages but it just won’t cooperate. But I have a pretty good idea of what they say and show. And that thought makes me warm and fuzzy with pride.
I did get the site to work long enough to notice that a lot of American papers went with a poster treatment. Here’s what The CA did (Incidentally, I just noticed that “commercialappeal.com” in the top right ear is not centered correctly; how did that happen!?!?!). I’m a nerd, so I’ve got a roundup of some of the more interesting pages after the jump.
• My man won. I have backed him all along and I can’t even tell you what a relief it is to see him come out ahead with such a wide margin. I have faith in him and I know fully well that he could disappoint me hugely (being human and all) but I believe in his essential goodness enough to really really root for him to do the right thing and feel reasonably confident that he will make good judgments and surround himself with good, sensible people. Coming off of eight years of following what seemed to be an absurd and ironic morality play, it is going to take some time to get used to being led by an intellectually curious and fairly inspiring personality. What a dilemma, right?
• We got happy hour prices and a free shot of tequila tonight (and a plastic election-night hat!) at The Cove. And there were people there shaking noisemakers and shouting “Viva la revolucion!” And the barkeep made a funny face when I ordered tequila and wine at the same time. We finally explained where we worked and I think then he understood the urgent need for liquor, which is, I think, why we got the discount.
• Sarah Palin might very well become a historical footnote, and hopefully a cautionary tale about how sex appeal used as political strategy is FUCKING BOGUS.
• This country just evolved. Just took a major leap forward. Fifty years ago it was perfectly fine to deny black people participation in our society. And now? Clearly their participation is fucking crucial and important and in a fully undeniable way (as it should have been all along). Apparently there are some white folks who don’t understand why their fellow white folks would get emotional and excited about the prospect of a non-white presidential candidate. To which I can only say IF YOU DON’T GET IT, THEN YOU DON’T FUCKING GET IT AND NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU.
• Tears if joy. When’s the last time I actually cried those?
I’m so excited/nervous/barfy/worried about how today is going to unfold. I have my hunches and my hopes, but we all know those don’t amount to a hill of vomit-flavored jelly beans.
I remember being so full of hope in 2004 and then feeling all that slip away like sand in my fingers. Dirty, stinking, fickle sand that I clearly never had a grasp on anyway. Waking up and knowing Bush had managed to pull it out and that so many people I know and loved helped him just wrecked me. I was embarrassed and angry and just defeated at the prospect of four more years being led by a borderline evil and ineloquent fucktard. Knowing the Dubya era is now coming to a close and that it might actually give way to something positive and potentially unifying fills me with hope and the delicious saltwater tears of pride.
I don’t know how I will handle another defeat. No, really. If this country unites in complacency and fear and puts Grumpy and Dopey in office, I am going to have to take some time to think real hard about what that means.
I have never worked a presidential election at a real paper before. We’ll have pizza and cookies and I’ll be swilling coffee, so chances are I might go into sugar shock before it’s all over. I’m going in early and staying late to make sure we do it right. Also, because my nerves are about to eat me alive and sitting around the apartment in my pajamas isn’t making me feel any better.
History is about to be made, y’all. Let’s be on the good side of it.
(Election-day work pimpage: The CA has a really cool project mapping local polling places and what’s happening at them.)