Pre-election heartsickness (and a little hope)

If I could sleep until Wednesday morning, waking up just long enough to vote on Tuesday, I would.

Friday I took the day off from work but worked well into the night to finish up a newspaper review. Aside from that and a brief foray into Manhattan with a friend to see the new Ray Charles biopic, I’ve spent the weekend in my pajamas, eating soup and lounging around on the couch with an afghan and the cats and a good book (somehow I missed Wharton’s The Touchstone until now), as I do when I’m sick.

I guess I am sick in a way — heartsick, at least — at the possibility that Bush might get in for four more years. If he does, I’ll need to look for a job in Canada — as I’ve said I would — even though Mr. Maud is still in the “stay and fight” camp.

Speaking of Mr. Maud, he’s volunteering for Kerry in West Palm Beach, a little north of our hometown. (I considered traveling with him, but we agreed early last month that given my temper I’d be a greater liability than asset to Kerry on November 2 if someone were unfairly denied the right to vote in my presence.)

Mr. Maud spent the weekend canvassing. Today he and his companions worked their way through two largely African American neighborhoods. As they talked about Kerry and handed out cards alerting people to their rights in case they’re challenged at the polls, residents of most houses met them with passionate promises to vote on Tuesday and drag all of their family members along.

“If anyone gives you trouble about voting, you can whip this out,” one of Mr. Maud’s friends told an elderly woman, handing her a voters’ rights card.

The woman held up her fist. “I’ll whip this out,” she said.

When Mr. Maud walked into the next yard, a young man with several gold teeth stopped waxing his car and announced, “me and my homeys are all voting for Kerry” (and wearing P. Diddy “Vote or Die” t-shirts) on Election Day. None of them voted in prior elections, the young man said.

I’m a pessimist, but even so I’m hanging my hopes on people like him: newly registered voters not included in the pollsters’ calculations.

Elsewhere in South Florida, Stephen Elliott has had some less positive experiences.

In Washington, my friend Antonio has taken a leave of absence from his job as executive director of the state’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs to serve as Latino Vote Director for the Washington Democratic Party. When I spoke to him earlier today, he reported that Latinos in Washington are registering to vote and planning to exercise the right like never before. Given a new Miami Herald poll that shows Latino voters (the lion’s share of the expat Cuban community notwithstanding) favor Kerry 61% to Bush’s 39%, this too is good news for Democrats. I know Washington is a safe Kerry state, but Antonio suggested that the uptick in Latino voter registration is a national phenomenon.

In Ohio, Jill has been working at phone banks for Kerry, but is still encountering hoardes of undecided voters even among family and friends. And she has some words for the person who stole the Kerry sign from her yard:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you so much for helping me realize the error of my ways, through your thoughtful misdemeanor. Before you took the sign from my yard, I though that I was going to vote for John Kerry. Now I know that he’s nothing more than a Liberal wussie from Massachusetts with a big vocabulary.

I’m interested in other stories, positive or not, from Democrats. Send them in and I’ll post a few selections this afternoon.


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