It was 10pm before I even left the house to go to the election celebration at the Sioux Falls Sheraton, and I was in a mood. It's hard to bounce back and forth between the need to work together and the need to smack someone upside the head for being an idiot. And it's hard, too, to lose one's cool, as I have done publically, and then to go back and talk to these same people without feeling either angry all over again or like a great big idiot myself.
But I went, and I'm sure my friends were all thrilled to have me there as I was extremely cynical and pessimistic for most of the night, and every time some happy pro-choice activist would say, "I'm so glad it's OVER!!!" I would helpfully point out that it wasn't - that there is likely another version of the ban coming in a couple of months. (One kind soul finally took me aside and gently said, "Look. I really need to be happy about this just for tonight. Tomorrow, I promise, I'll be back to strategizing." And as I recognize that timing has never been my strong suit, and that I'm always working a couple of steps ahead of or behind everyone else, but rarely in step, I really did try to put on my brave little toaster face.
Random bit of trivia about me: I am completely incapable of not wearing my heart on my sleeve. If I am upset about something, you will know it. And I get upset a lot when it comes to trying to work together with other people in political situations, which is why I'm frequently threatening (to myself, mostly) to quit this or that organization or party. So I'm not at all sure that my brave little toaster face was convincing, and in retrospect, I'm really wishing I had bought everyone in our little bar group a drink last night.)
All day yesterday, whenever anyone had asked me what I was thinking about the outcome, I would say, "I think it's all going to go into the toilet." And their faces would fall, and I wouldn't even have enough hopeful energy to feel bad for making them feel bad. I was holding myself in that guarded place, in that way that you do when you talk to a friend or ex who has hurt you and you are trying to have a conversation with them but you don't trust them not to hurt you again. After the 2004 election, when I had been so sure that Bush would have his ass handed to him, it was hard to allow myself to feel hopeful.
But anyway, as the results started to come in and I noticed that the Democrats had won the House and perhaps the Senate, and as a few of the ballot issues I had voted on were coming out my way - I started to feel different. (I'm quite sure that, had I not been driving and therefore been able to drink, I would have mellowed out quite a bit earlier.) I didn't need the brave little toaster face after a while. I ended up staying out quite late and cheering on the results with everyone else. And for the most part, I think I managed to control my inner, bitter Plainsfeminist and let the less neurotic Plainsfeminist out to mingle.
Today, I am feeling postively chipper. Well - strung out and half-dead, having only slept for about four hours, but as chipper as one can be under those circumstances.
I took particular enjoyment in listening to a few of the Bushies try to claim that this mean that Republicans must stay the course, and in watching Bush try to convince us that he and Rumsfeld had been planning Rumsfeld's departure for some time but just didn't want to upset the election by introducing it now. (Because, of course, if both parties are calling for you to replace the guy, you should hold out until after the election, since doing so earlier might signal to disgusted members of your own party that you might be willing to change your approach and that they could maybe trust you and vote Republican yet again.)
And I've also had a pleasant back-and-forth in my head about impeachment: Bush deserves to be impeached. The crimes he has committed against our system of government need to be treated as crimes and punished because we never want anyone ever again to fuck with our system like this. And if we let all of this go, we are essentially saying, yet again, that Democrats are weenies who won't follow through.
But at the same time, we're the nice-guy party. Pelosi has made it clear that she is all about progress, and progress, methinks, won't happen if we move from this disaster of an administration into congressional hearings on the president's illegal actions. She's doing the Daschle thing, and I can't decide if I'm happy about that or not, because on the one hand, I want them to kick butts and take names, and on the other hand, I want them to raise the level of civil discourse in politics significantly.
And on the third hand, I'm so blissfully happy to be able to even consider these options that I almost don't care. I'm just happy that we've got our government back. Sort of.
(I'm also sort of secretly hoping that this loss will cause Bush to think twice about believing that God is on his side simply because no one has been able to stop him. I'm hoping that his prayers tonight begin, "Dear God, Obviously I've let you down, and I'm amazed at the graciousness of the Democrats in this instance, and just maybe I can learn something from people who don't agree with me" - but I'm not holding my breath.)