Volume 17 • Issue 24 | Nov. 5 - Nov. 12, 2004

DOWNTOWN NOTEBOOK

Getting through the morning after… Bush’s win

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Each representing a life lost during the war in Iraq, egg shells painted as skulls have been piled in mounds based on nationality in the St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery cemetery yard at Second Ave. and 10th St. Called The Skull Project, the public artwork began on Oct. 11 and will be on display into next week. Upon arriving at The Skull Project, participants were given a pre-dyed black egg representing a life lost. They then created a skull egg through a simple bleach-painting process and then placed it on the mound of their choice.

By Wickham Boyle

We did everything right. We lit candles, we envisioned, meditated, donated money, voted early, called “undecideds” in Pennsylvania, supported our friends in Wisconsin and attempted in an unwavering way to believe. But now it is the morning after and I can see Kerry has lost.

I say to my daughter, who waited in line to vote for the first time yesterday, that it will all work out. I mutter, perhaps this will make the Republicans take responsibility for what they have wrought. I need to see a reason. But I am crushed and I have very little reserve of belief left.

Bush won an alarming percentage of the popular vote and the country looks as if we are two strange separate lands; one made up of New England and the West Coast and the other, the old America from an early exploration chart. I do not know who we are, where I belong, save that I can drive around my beloved Northeast and fly to California where my son lives, but I need to forget the rest of the country because I do not speak their language and they don’t want Berlitz for Democrats.

I reject wrong-headed war, where we invade another country based on lies and imaginings. I embrace the environment of the world, the Kyoto treaty and the ability of birds, fish and frogs to mate in what was called “America the Beautiful,” but may be renamed “America the Denuded” for oil, industry and personal gains. I want to pay taxes to support school, health care and seniors. I do not want to pay for war, to line the pockets of thieving corporate magnates or mean-spirited politicians.

I waited until I was 43 to get married because, well, it took that long to find my great love. I know how important that moment was for me and I want to live in a country where all the citizens can dream or aspire to be married to the love of their lives as well. I want us to be the helper of the world, not the police. I would love to live in a country where we send assistance to citizens in need and we don’t do a check to see how much oil we could co-opt first before assisting suffering children and mothers. I want to see my government share in feeding the poor, and housing the homeless and change their real status by education. I can’t be relied upon to feed Joseph who waits outside my market for a sandwich. I can’t feed him everyday. I have told him that, and I can see that other neighbors give him sustenance as well, but I am not a country.

I want to live in a place where abortion is available and where a young woman, like I was, who assiduously used birth control and became pregnant anyway, can deal with her situation privately and actually attend college and graduate school instead of becoming a waitress with three children by the age of 29. I want to live where my choices do not brand me as someone who is immoral, sloppy, and wrong headed.

I want to live where my fervent spirituality is valued as much as the men in the mosque, the families at services, those who fast on Yom Kippur and illuminate their Nativity scenes. I want my life with yoga, Buddhism and Christmas to be as important as the fundamentalist Christians. I want to live in a country that leads us to a world where we do not believe that any good person will go to hell because they embrace a different direction. We are all desperate for a world where we embrace rather than build spiritual fences to lock others out.

I have friends who say, “O.K. now it is time to move out of the United States.” But I say, now is the time to redouble my resolve to forgive, to live out loud with all my hopes and open heart on display. I am crushed, wounded and limping terribly today, but I will rebuild, believe and continue. I want to live to see a path in my country that welcomes me and all my sister and brother citizens to visit, worship, marry and strive to be more; not less.



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