Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A fine day for a walk

In November of 1960 I was 19 and a university sophomore and I had paid my Texas poll tax and I voted for the first time, and I voted for John Kennedy. The election was a real cliff-hanger. Sometime after midnight, when it seemed reasonably likely that Kennedy had actually won, I went with a friend of mine to a cafe in downtown Austin that was open all night and was a hangout for local politicos. Everyone was in a celebratory mood, and at maybe two in the morning Lyndon Johnson, the new Vice President of the US, walked in and began shaking everyone's hand. He shook mine. I was real happy.

Of course, four years later I was picketing Lyndon Johnson's ranch.

I don't recall a moment of unalloyed pleasure at the results of an American election since that night in 1960. The first couple of years of the Kennedy administration set a high bar, I suppose.

But this morning, once again, I feel happy about an election, probably because George Bush has set a new sort of benchmark--I can't call it a high bar--as the worst president in American history. And I think the election showed the public is coming to realize it. I'm not fooling myself that control of the House and a possible razor-thin control of the Senate will make a huge difference in the direction Bush is going, but it will certainly slow him down.

Texas, naturally, did not join in the nationwide waking-up event, but there were signs of consciousness even here. A Democrat won Tom Delay's old congressional seat. I think that's called sending a message.

And it's a clear, sunny day here in Austin, and I don't feel like sitting in front of a keyboard much longer, so I'm outa here. Later.

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