These are post-election notes relevant to the election day post which follows.
After a hopeful weekend, a frenzy of election day activity, and even a first flurry of very promising exit poll numbers, everything slowly fell apart. David Gergen, counsel to Republican and one Democratic president, commented as the hoped-for Kerry victory was slipping away, that his university students were going to be devastated, they would not be able to understand this.
How could they understand it when it doesn't make any sense? Beyond that recognition is the intensity of effort and commitment many of them gave. Young people worked for Kerry and voted for Kerry in record numbers. In Ohio, some stood in line for up to ten hours just to cast their votes.
I got an email from a young Kerry activist in California that is well worth quoting. I won't name her because I haven't yet solicited her permission, but this was an email sent to a number of Kerry supporters. Read it in conjunction with the story that follows.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the chest. Like I did after September 11th. Like I did when my mother died.But it’s not because of any self absorbed pity for us having put so much blood sweat and tears into this campaign. It’s because John Kerry should be President of the United States. And America will realize that only when it’s too late. John Kerry is a man of integrity, grace, strength and maturity. He embodies the America of my dreams and distant memories.
I was honored and deeply transformed by participating in the massive mobilization to get this man elected. I was also honored and deeply transformed by working with, and getting to know and love all of you, my compatriots. Your dedication, humor, professionalism and goodness reassures me that this nation cannot and will not suffer for long. She will once again be a beacon to all who want to be shown the light. But it is up to us.
I truly believe that in order to see our vision for this country realized, we must stay unified, energized, organized and positive. There is much work to do both locally and nationally, politically and culturally, physically and spiritually.
Take the month to mourn, rest and regroup. Spend Thanksgiving truly giving thanks for a fight well fought, and a man worth fighting for.Then, I invite all of you to join me as we look to the future and begin that work. We here in Southern California will keep our structure, though we will shift our focus. To those elsewhere, please keep in touch, let me know how you are staying engaged. What groups you recommend, people you believe in that may need support as they run for office, issues and news that needs to be investigated and exposed. Help communicate our values and reframe the debate with those who have been misled by a political and media machinery that is broken and needs to be replaced. Continue to give of your talent, time, money and networks so the foundation upon which we stand will be the only dry, solid, high ground left when the flood comes. Thank you again, and God bless us all.