[Metroactive Features]

[ Features Index | Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

The Next Four Years
A survival guide, and some healing advice

Pages: 1 | 2

The healing continues with local tips from our own traumatized staff, as well as consolations from some of our friends, including Mark Ames of the eXile.

The Liquid Cure

By Richard von Busack

Well, the first thing to do is get drunk—sloppy, swearing drunk. You'll have company, because Bay Area bars are swollen with grief-stricken men and women. Getting drunk isn't going to hurt anything. You may be an irresponsible drunk today, but maybe you'll be president tomorrow. It's happened before.

And while you're drinking, let it sink in. You live in a country where they hate homosexuals even more than they hate military torturers. They may not know any homosexuals or lesbians personally, but they hate them anyway. A slight but highly organized majority of your fellow citizens believes in a vengeful sky God. This no-see-'em God has selected as his human mouthpiece the spoiled scion of a phenomenally ruthless political dynasty. Drink up! Skoal!

Like all self-pitying fantasies, giving up the country without a fight is a bewitching idea. If I leave, that'll show 'em, you snivel. Let them turn the USA over to their Protestant mullahs. Let them bring back chastity belts and the ducking stool. Seriously, it's never too early to install a sound contempt for organized religion. Remember, the Weathermen were all formerly kids who said their pledge of allegiances and Lord's Prayer in school.

Before passing out, fix one image in your mind: the great Wheel of Fortune, first described by the fifth-century philosopher Boethius in The Consolations of Philosophy: What comes up must come down.

Some other happy thoughts: There's still a connecting bridge between the blue states. Travelers can drive on a Blue Highway from one end of this continent to the other, so long as they detour through the Prairie Provinces to get around Montana and the Dakotas. It's a long road, but don't complain—it's a better corridor than the arctic caribou are going to have.

Still, since Bush is Bush, and a highly impressionable person (and for God's sake, don't let W see that Alexander movie), he may yield to the most revanchist influences. Once Rehnquist joins the Choir Invisible, Bush may dig up a Supreme Court candidate so anti-choice he goes into convulsive weeping every time he sees a box of Tampons.

Tough times don't last! Tough people last, and to last they need suckers to go to the wall for them. Fortunately, there are plenty of weaker people for them to use up before they get to you. Think of it: the draft will free up hundreds of jobs. Expansion of the war on terror to newer fronts—Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba—will mean plenty of defense dollars for our employment-starved valley.

In the second Bush administration, industry will flourish. Once Roe vs. Wade is overturned, there will be new opportunities in coat-hanger manufacturing. Nuclear engineers will be necessary for the new power plants, and they'll be hiring roughnecks for the drilling rigs off of Mendocino. Other previously unemployable liberal arts grads will be needed to teach Pentecostal as a Second Language. It's always a good time to brush up on your Pentecostal: "Abbadabbahamandeggamekkalekkaheidiho."

Translation: "Stand with us. Or we'll stand on you."

Run Away!

By Mark Ames

As Woody Allen suggested, "Flee. F-L-E-A. Flee." I live in Russia, and I think I'm going to stay here for another four years. I prefer a secular autocracy under Putin, who at least has a functioning brain, to a Taliban dictatorship ruled by a scatter-brained moron like Bush. People here and everywhere outside of the United States look at Americans as the biggest morons, the most credulous suckers that the world has ever known. However, if you flee, you will be welcomed as a refugee, one of the few non-pod-people left.

That's the only sane advice I can give. Leave the stupid, bigoted, assinine country and wait it out overseas, where life is quite frankly better anyway. People don't stress out over work like they do in America, you don't see front-butts on people as you do on every streetcorner in America. The only annoying thing is that locals will start asking you what's wrong with America and why your country is so fucking stupid. Then you will find, as I do, a flickering patriotism rising up, a patriotism you really don't want to feel, and you'll suddenly burst out, "We may be stupid, but we can flatten your piss-ant joke of a nation in two hours if we felt like it! Ha-ha-ha! What has smart got you? Your country can do nothing but complain and build another high-speed train rail. My country invades and occupies wherever the fuck it feels like! Ha-ha-ha!"

And that is when you realize, oh God, that you can take the American out of the Bush, but you can't take the Bush out of the American. At which point, suicide is the only respectable thing left ...

This Too Shall Pass

Be smart. Bark, whistle in the dark. Be smart, make art.
—Timothy Near, artistic director, San Jose Repertory Theatre

Let go of being miserable when the situation is out of your control. The only person you are hurting is yourself.
—Megan Anderson, cultural center administrator

I'll continue to contribute to the causes that hold government accountable and build hope for the future: locally, nationally and globally. I like Amnesty International, Earthwatch Institute, Oxfam, the Heifer Project and BioGems among others. And I'll become a card-carrying member of the ACLU.
—Gregg Catanese, landscape contractor

Your responsibility as an adult is not to fix the blame for the problem on someone else; your responsibility as an adult is to fix the problem. Blame is for babies.
—Julia C. Smith, writer

I will dedicate the rest of my life to expanding the minds of my children to accept people of all social, economical and sexual preference backgrounds; To support a woman's right to choose what is best for her body and to care for the planet that GOD LEFT IN ALL OUR CARE. I will attempt to teach my boys the power of their voice, their thought, their actions and their vote!
—Laura Galvan, account executive in copying industry

Sure, the Bible Belt has the votes, but the coasts have cornered sex, drugs and rock & roll—not to mention hot tubs, sensimilla, Internet porn and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Broadway, Hollywood and Halloween in the Castro?
—Michael S. Gant

Fight the Power

Right here in the valley are some groups that are fighting the good fight and need your help.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ('cause Roe vs. Wade is endangered) 1691 The Alameda, San Jose, 408.287.7526; 3131 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose, 408.277.0777; 5440 Thornwood Dr., San Jose, 408.281.9777.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ('cause housing programs will be knocked down) 888 N. First St., San Jose, 408.294.6464.

BILLY DEFRANK LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER ('cause gay rights shouldn't be left up to a straight Texan) 938 The Alameda, San Jose. 408.293.2429.

ACLU OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ('cause you can kiss your civil rights goodbye) www.aclunc.org

SILICON VALLEY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS ('cause the Patriot act is downright unpatriotic) P.O. Box 9457, San Jose, [email protected]; www.siliconvalleyforcivilrights.org.

CLEAN CITIES COALITION OF SILICON VALLEY ('cause the Clean Skies initiative is misnamed) City of San Jose Environmental Services Department, 408.277.4312; www.svcleancities.org.

ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION ('cause your privacy online is threatened) www.eff.org

FOOD NOT BOMBS (handing out vegetarian fare will cure the world of oppression and militarization, and pretty soon, Bush will just fade away ...) Cooking at 80 S. First St., San Jose. Serving at Second and Santa Clara streets, San Jose, 508.314.6669.

SAN JOSE/SOUTH BAY NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN ('cause W ain't always for women) P.O. Box 611957, San Jose; www.sanjosenow.org.

SAN JOSE FAMILY SHELTER ('cause those taxes you're saving mean housing programs get less funding) 408.926.8885; www.sjfamilyshelter.org

EMERGENCY HOUSING CONSORTIUM 150 Almaden Blvd., San Jose, 408.539.2100, www.homelessness.org.

SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK OF SANTA CLARA AND SAN MATEO COUNTIES ( ...and so do food programs) 750 Curtner Ave., San Jose, 408.266.8666, www.2ndharvest.net.

PACIFIC FREE CLINIC (Universal health-care coverage? What's that?) 1835 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, http://pacific.standford.edu; open Saturday 10am-2pm.

PRO BONO PROJECT SILICON VALLEY ('cause the law—you hope—will continue to be on your side) John Hedges, 480 N. First St., San Jose, 408.998.5298, www.probonoproject.org.

SILICON VALLEY TOXICS COALITION ('cause industry self-regulation sometimes needs a little, shall we say, nudge?) 760 N First St., San Jose, 408.287.6707, www.svtc.org.

ATHEISTS OF SILICON VALLEY (somebody's got to balance out all those God freaks) www.godlessgeeks.com

SAN JOSE PEACE CENTER ('cause war is not the answer—unless you're an unpopular president who didn't have much of a mandate before) 48 S Seventh St., San Jose, 408.297.2299, www.sanjosepeace.org.

SOUTH BAY MOBILIZATION ('cause those who forget Vietnam are doomed to repeat it) P.O. Box 641163; San Jose, CA 95164, 408.998.8504.

VETERANS FOR PEACE CHAPTER 101: SOUTH BAY/PENINSULA ('cause these hearty activits come with firsthand impressions of what the occupation is really like) Contacts: George Johnson, 650.207.6073; or Joe Cernac, 408.292.5465. www.veteransforpeace.org.

Traci Vogel and Vrinda Normand

Pages: 1 | 2

Send a letter to the editor about this story to letters@metronews.com.

[ Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

From the November 10-16, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.