Sunday, November 16, 2003

We won. 

I feel as though someone has beat me with a baseball bat. That's how tired I am, what with phone banking for Blanco's campaign yesterday, staying up late and quietly celebrating her victory last night, and being at work this morning for 6:30 am. But I would like to have a few words about this victory for the people of Louisiana.

If anyone doubted Kathleen Blanco's graciousness, and abilities as a concensus builder, all they had to do was hear her victory speech last night, and post-victory speech today, in order to cast their doubts aside. Last night she had much to say about Jindal and his efforts, praising him and his supporters for their commitment to better Louisiana.

Jindal, in his concession speech last night, never mentioned Blanco's name once, displaying, for a time, the latent hostility and mysogynistic undertones of politics in Louisiana, and perhaps in our country. He couldn't lower himself to name or congratulate the woman who defeated him yesterday. Someone, of course, talked some sense into him, and today, he issued a statement congratulating her and wishing her the best.

I did a survey of the major news networks today, and found that Fox News was the only network to mention his lack of grace and sour grapes:

Jindal, whose concession speech Saturday never mentioned Blanco by name, congratulated his rival on Sunday.

"Today is certainly a new day for Louisiana and today should be Kathleen's day," he said. "We offer our governor-elect our heartiest support and will do anything we can to help her."

Hopefully, dear reader, you have an opportunity to read the Fox news report, and savor, if you will, the enthusiasm in the article on Kathleen Blanco's victory, muted though it is. Fox news is like a concentration camp for journalists. Surrounded by the bobwire of ignorance and idealogy, we forget, sometimes, that there are journalists working there who would prefer to have it another way, but for reasons of their own, choose to remain there, and compromise their values in the process. Every now and then, however, the true nature of their hearts is exposed.

I digress. In her post-victory speech today, Blanco reached out to Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, and said, "We will work together." There was not a hint of irony in her voice, given that Nagin, a democrat, had endorsed her republican rival. She talked about wanting to challenge the children of our state to do better in school. I liked her phrasing. Nothing about mandotory testing, and all about, in that simple statement, assigning the responsiblility of caring about learning to the children, with all of our help of course.

I am suffering a little bit of postportum depression today. A sweet joy/sorrow that this is over, for now, and Blanco won, and now what? I know however, that we have a little something special in Louisiana, because for two years in a row, we have been able to beat back the Republican surge in this country. We have been able to freeze the right wing dead in its tracks, and they have cracked like a branch covered in ice in an ice storm.

Perhaps that is why my dream the night before the election, in which my sister told me it was going to freeze that night, 5 degrees below zero. Sometimes a victory is like an ice storm, and as the young man said in the movie, The Ice Storm, molecules slow down in freezing temperatures, and the purity of things, or the lack there of, is apparent.