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Florida

Miami Beach, Florida
26 Oct. 2004

the sun is shining and the sea is blue and it seems utterly absurd to pretend to be working as I have been these last few days. in dark and autumn new york we are convinced that the future of the republic hangs on this election. Florida, despite being the quintissential battleground and swing state, enjoys the palm trees, tanned hard bodies, and merciless tropical breeze which makes it hard for cynical veterans like myself to take any of it seriously any more.

but that is only part of the illusion. yesterday we went to an early polling station in the haitian part of miami called Lemon City. We found a crowd at the public library, Republican lawyers in suits disputing the process of Haitian voters to be accompanied and assisted by translators. There was plenty of yelling, finger pointing, and cries from the Haitians that “this is not 2000!” and “you’re not going to do it to us again!” Now clearly the Republican contingent, all white and nervous, was some kind of shock brigade parachuted into enemy territory to do as much damage as possible. but i still felt bad for them a little bit, pin-striped types probably for the first time in their lives hanging out on the wrong side of town, and, yes, amongst black people to whom they were doing their best to obstruct, and thus disenfrancize.

Sunday morning we found John Kerry and Teresa Heniz Kerry playing footsie while attending a Methodist church in Ft. Lauderdale. Afterwards they went on to a large rally at Florida Atlantic University where the old Jewish ladies in the crowd were sitting next to gigantic speakers blaring denatured but still very loud acid rock. There’s not much to be said about these official appearances except the obvious.

Later on we saw Old Man Willie himself, Bill Clinton resurrected from heart surgery to do his eloquent part in the desperate struggle to convince Americans that a decent, intelligent, reasonable, otherwise unextraordinary man like John Kerry will be an incomparably better president that the Bush in the incumbent chair. Looking thinner than I remembered him, Clinton turned on the old magic and had the crowd chanting “Ke-rry! Ke-rry! Ke-rry!”

My biggest regret so far is missing the Bush daughters, apparently they were around and a chance to see those freaks would have been highly amusing. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll be back.

cheers,

alan

by [a former member] at 2004-10-26 09:37:18 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Alan? are you now a blogger?

by [former member] | 26 Oct 2004 13:10 | | Report spam→
yeah, man, they call it blogging but i think it used to be called “dear diary”
or, just masturbating with words under the guise of ruthless self promotion and the desire to listen to yourself talk…

by [former member] | 26 Oct 2004 19:10 | | Report spam→
yo alan…keep away from those bush cicks

by [former member] | 27 Oct 2004 07:10 | | Report spam→
Yo Moises, how do I get in your inner sanctum…I want to email you.

by [former member] | 28 Oct 2004 20:10 | | Report spam→
Ft. Lauderdale
28 Oct.

In a hotel on the outskirts of the Ft. Lauderdale airport, listening to the sounds of jets taking off and landing. Just hung up my film to dry, so i have some time to kill…

been making tour of polling stations where some 150,000 floridians have already voted, waiting in long lines for most; the elderly and infirm can “curbside vote” where they bring the voting machine touch screen to the car…

60,000 absentee ballots disappeared here in broward county so michael moore showed up to swing his fist and speak, in front of the ft. lauderdale government center. a bit of a rockstar rush followed by heckling between bushites and democrats, lots of screaming and yelling and in-your-face but no punches thrown. once they got tired of arguing they shook hands and went home.

that’s about it for now. still no sign of bush twins, but there were some shocking tanned miniskirted teenaged underaged republican sluts cheerleading for bush-cheney, while a guy in full black uniform and armband stood with a sign that read “Nazi Party For Bush.” He stayed in character longer enough for thomas to wonder if he was satirical or actually real! see, it’s not so hard to fool a german photographer…

by [former member] | 28 Oct 2004 21:10 | | Report spam→
Greetings from Jalalabad,Meester.
sitting in a plywood shed on the PRT base. truly the worst food yet. I actually miss KBR.
Barely a glimmer of recognition out here that there’s an election around the corner in the US, although I caught a few seconds of Eminem’s song on Armed Forces Network…In theory someone’s counting votes on the afghan elections somewhere, but that seems to have been forgotten quicker than menudo.

anyway, see you all soon, I hope. and really, watch out for those Bush twins. If Moises says it’s sketchy, its gotta be some serious skank.

by teru kuwayama | 30 Oct 2004 00:10 | | Report spam→
new york
nov. 4

The final days were, for this photographer, hectic, sleep-deprived, and admittedly hopeful. We went from one early voting station to another in south Florida, and saw the long lines of citizens waiting patiently to cast their ballots. Other than the Cubans who are still worried about the world Communist threat and thus predictably Republican, it seemed that the deluge of new registrants, young fans of P. Diddy, and naturalized immigrants would turn the tide.

A George W. Bush appearance in Miami, inside the Coconut Grove Convention Center, and I saw that the Republicans scream louder than Democrats, that they were, for the most part, older, and that the message of fear and loathing coming forth from the pulpit had a ready audience. But at John Kerry rallies, all in sun-drenched palm treed venues, you could hear Bruce Springsteen evoking the crowd to tears, you could feel the positive energy, the waves of hope and feel-good-about-it-all wash over a populace presumably tired of threats, terror, and war.

I flew out of West Palm Beach and landed in New York in time to take my mother to vote, she went first and assured me that she clicked the Democratic ticket straight down the line. I did the same, and hopped into the rental car (Ford Taurus) for a ninety mile an hour dash to Boston, where the first downtown exit off of the expressway took me to Copley Square, lit by huge floodlights and ready for Kerrys victory party.

So along with a few thousand supporters, we sat under the cold, damp, rain and waited. I fell asleep on the press riser and woke up to see that there were no early surprises. The solid states of the south went red, the northeast, blue. The Black-eyed Peas and Sheryl Crow played. Umbrellas popped open and we braved the security cordon manned by the TSA to grab coffee, sandwiches, and cigarettes.

Then the big television screens began to unfold the sorry story of election night. The margin by which Florida went for Bush left the crowd stunned. Young, earnest, beautiful women in the crowd began to bite their fingernails, pray, and weep. It got wetter and colder as the night wore on and the state of Ohio loomed above us. NBC called it for George W. Bush but CNN made it a green state, too close to call, and the sagging crowd went wild with cheers and last hope and cynical journalists said to each other that it was a close race no matter how you looked at it and a few thousand or hundred votes here or there would make all the difference. It was already two in the morning.

And they kept crunching the numbers on the screen. A hundred thousand votes. Cuyahoga county. Cleveland. Columbus. Ohio, Ohio, OHIO. John Edwards, at long last, came forward and made his defiant, practical, short speech. We went back to our hotels, filed, and dropped off to uneasy sleep with the televisions on CNN.

So for a few hours the voices of the news drifted in and out of dreams and when we woke fully as the mobile phones began to ring, we knew that it was over. The hundred thousand vote gap became a hundred and fifty thousand. The margin of Bushs victory in the popular vote was terrifying. How could this happen? The Democrats had mounted the largest, most motivated and mobilized campaign in anybodys memory. Where were the millions of new voters? Where were the young, the first time voters, the formerly apathetic and apolitical tuned in for the first time? The long lines, the exit polls showing Kerry ahead? What the fuck was going on?

First they said that there would be an announcement at 10 am. Then it was 1 pm. It was a very cold and sunny morning in Boston. We stood in line outside Fannuil Hall, where two hundred years ago the American Revolution had begun, in part, and where Senator John Kerry had launched his campaign perhaps as long ago. Journalists are a usually a jocular bunch. But this morning it was as if we were at a funeral.

Then the rush for the press to get in made it clear that it had all collapsed. There was no security sweep, dogs, or metal detectors this time. Two or three exhausted Kerry campaign workers and volunteers tried to establish a hierarchy of who should get in first. The line disintegrated into a push on the door. One after another, with pushing, shoving, yelling, we squeezed inside. They called out the names of TV stations and some wag shouted out, Let Al Jazeera in!

Edwards spoke first, and then Kerry. Their families and advisers sat in the front row. The speech was everything that it had to me, short, dignified, final. Kerry thanked and said good-bye to those who had been with him for the journey. Afterwards the crowd of volunteers and staff did not linger. There were a few tears, but in true New England fashion, mostly it was quiet and subdued as everyone filed out.

We were stunned, in despair, destroyed. Something is seriously wrong in what used to be, despite all the faults, a country of possibilities and of freedom. The America that voted for Bush is a rejection of all that is hopeful, decent, and generous about our society. I fear for the future, and mourn the loss of what was a decisive chance to set at least a few things right. John Kerry was not perfect or brilliant or extraordinary. But he was smart, capable of subtlety, a serious and fair-minded man who would have been, if not a great President, an honorable one.

by [former member] | 04 Nov 2004 18:11 | | Report spam→

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teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
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New York , United States


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