Sunday, October 15, 2006

A look back at November 2004

I wrote this right after the 2004 Presidential election. I wrote it for a locally published online zine. It was for the local Jacksonville audiecne but I tried to reflect how everybody seemed to be voting against their interests that year, no matter the party. I refered to myself as The Drunken Irishman.

The events of November 2, 2004 brought feelings of both monumental joy, and miserable failure to many of us here in the river city. Like many all across this great land, we discharged all of the energy, emotion, and egregious indignation we had felt this past year onto a sheet of paper while standing at one of those peculiar blue stands. Years of campaigning came down to hours of counting, and the moment of truth. Many of us know of the difficulty we had waiting to know the outcome, and hanging on the decision of each red and blue state. For many of us the emotions of the campaign were unbearable, but the pressure on the men themselves was even greater. The Drunken Irishman, and the many around town who saw them both, know of the election night that both John Kerry and George W. Bush spent here in Jacksonville. I know many of you are casting a critical eye upon this page and doubting what the Irishman tells you. You may be thinking that the Irishman has been consuming too much of beverage of the Motherland. The Irishman has used his many contacts to piece together the story of Bush and Kerry, and Jacksonville’s election night.
The two candidates for President of the United States arrived in Jacksonville late in the afternoon of November 2. John Kerry flew into town aboard a private helicopter to the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island. Harrison Redstone, shipping magnate and orange baron of North Florida, greeted Kerry. As part of the top one percent of income earners in the U.S., Redstone stands to lose a bundle if Kerry’s tax policies become law. However he seems fine with this trade off if it stops the Iraq war that he detests. The President meanwhile entered Duval County to the south by limousine. When Karl Rove insisted that he had to use the little boy’s room, the limo pulled into Waffle House. Bush felt this was a perfect time to fit in some last minute glad handing so went in as well to chat with the ‘fellas. Once inside Bush met Donny Sutton as he sat finishing his daily ration of hash browns and gravy. Sutton was recently laid off from his truck driving duties, and cannot send his 18-year-old daughter off to college due to skyrocketing tuition rates. Yet Donny loves the President because he’s a good churchgoing man, and Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11. With Karl done, the President quickly bid farewell to the group with the exclamation, “Remember, we love freedom, and they don’t.” With the polls coming to a close, and dusk settling over Jacksonville, the two candidates began their tumultuous election night.
Many do not know that the Senator from Massachusetts has only two needs on any election night to calm his nerves and sense of superstition, a bowl of clam chowder and the Wu-Tang Clan. To this end the Senator sat quietly in the back seat of his Tahoe, with his I-pod surrounding him with the fury that is Enter the Wu-Tang, as it sped down I-95. At that same moment the President found himself passing UNF on the way to Crazy Horse. The President had insisted that his aides find a mechanical bull for him to ride. The exit polling was beginning to look bad for him and he wanted to reinvigorate himself. “I betcha John Kerry can’t ride the bull like I can,” exclaimed the Connecticut born Bush. The President was greeted like a hero once inside Crazy Horse, and was able to stay aloft the bull for a full four seconds. Once he was thrown from the bull, he picked a fight with an Arlington man and left the club with a newfound head of steam.
Still trying to find the steaming bowl of chowder he desperately needed, and now through Wu-Tang Forever, Kerry pleaded with the owners of Cotton’s Barbeque to no avail. It was at this point that the Senator felt his momentum slipping. Kerry’s wife Theresa then called and suggested that he look up Doreen Merryweather, an Avondale socialite and her boarding school friend from Switzerland. Merryweather’s millions could afford her the freshest of clams, but it was too late. Red states were falling like dominoes and the hour was drawing near. With the longest of long faces, Kerry then headed for Five Points. He quietly slipped into Fuel Coffeehouse, and took his Trois Pistoles to the back to be alone. He logged onto his website with his username, Democratmackdaddy, and thanked friends for their efforts. He had fought the good fight, but his journey was over.
The President’s journey is still ongoing. After getting a tattoo of a puma on Beach Boulevard, the President drove through downtown with his head out the top of his limo. He yelped and hollered and even lassoed a young bystander with his, “ropey rope thingy.” The President was on top of the world, and there is only one place to go from there. The events of the election moved some closer to the rapture, and others to the edge of total despair. This great battle of 2004 is over, and the Irishman is thankful for that. Many on both sides have much harder work than came before on their horizon. As clich├ęd as it might sound, the Irishman hopes the country as a whole wins out in the next four years. Whether that is in spite of Bush or because of him.

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