Okay, it’s Monday, so let’s take care of a few things, shall we?
1. Kirsten Gillibrand – There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and rending of garments in liberal blogland about the bona fides of our Congresswoman Gillibrand now that she’ll be appointed to the Senate. I think most of the problem was the media circus surrounding Governor Patterson’s selection process – it was messy and silly, precisely the kind of drama we were supposed to denounce in the Obamanian era of politics.
That said, I understand why people are upset about elements of her voting record. The whole gun thing is problematic, mostly because the NRA are such assholes. Honestly, the NRA would have a lot more sway with those not in the wingnuttery if they’d drop the “cold, dead hands” bullshit, which is just cruel and infantile.
Her other votes seem prescient (“no” on TARP) or are the same as Obama himself (FISA). But here’s the thing: she won NY-20 as a Democrat. Unless you’ve perused the woods of Oswego County, you don’t know how Republican this place used to be. She was celebrated by liberals for turning our District blue after 75 years, yet is denounced as a “Blue Dog” now that she’ll be in the Senate.
Do I know how she’ll vote? Will she drift inexorably left, now that she represents a very liberal state? I can’t say I know for sure, but this I know: she’s super smart, actually cares about her constituents, is religious about transparency in government, and she will take all these criticisms to heart. In the long run, that’s awesome for New York, but in the short run… well, I hope her cute boy Theo isn’t reading Daily Kos.
2. The Purple Tunnel of Doom – This drives me crazy. Why do the police always lowball the numbers in a crowd? The day of the Inauguration, when we were shut out of the celebration (even though we had a ticket), the official line was “due to unprecedented interest, about 1,000 people did not make it into the ceremony.”
That’s disingenuous on several levels. Unprecedented or not, they should have had their best crowd control teams testing every scenario, weeks before the event. Anything else is a goddamn security breach, and they were very lucky nobody expired, especially in that weather.
Secondly… “1,000 people”? Even when they upped the number to 4,000 on Wednesday, those of us who were there knew they were on crack. By our eyeballing estimate, no fewer than 15,000 people got stuck in that tunnel, and even more were crammed against the gate outside. There’s a Facebook group dedicated to this, but seriously – why can’t people just admit they fucked up, and be honest about the numbers? Anything else just invokes fury among those who gave the most to be there.
3. Gratuitous pictures of our balls – The Texas Black Tie & Boots Ball was oddly corporate and depressing. I don’t think I need to add anything to this photo op:
In stark contrast was the Staff Ball, which frothed with youthful fervor. We missed Obama by about an hour (I was getting the flu I’m battling right now) but dined on some great fixins and saw the relaxed joy of our niece (on T’s side) and nephew (on my side) as they truly realized, along with everyone else, what they’d done.
You see that picture? That’s Gen Y, and they largely made it happen. Our Generation X sure as hell didn’t – we’ll be on our deathbeds, still choking on snark and sarcasm – but it’s not all our fault. As Salem and I were remarking the other day, it’s all about timing, and we didn’t have a chance. A glorious idealist born in 1970 would have been trampled into the ground by Reagan, given false hope by Clinton, and then destroyed for good by Bush. A glorious idealist born in 1985? Well, that’s them above.
I take it on the chin, I understand my place in the 20th and 21st century timeline. 2004 was my last gasp of trying too hard, and as I’ve said before, something in me broke. Never again will I trust Americans to do the right thing; the revelation of that disgusting, pockmarked underbelly is all I care to take, thank you very much.
Does that mean I miss out on the joy of this moment? A little, yes. I appreciate it intellectually, and I did cry with joy a few times this year. But that’s a fever I had once before, and like every virus, it’s very hard to catch again.