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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Try, try again.

Last night I hopped on the red line and headed to the south loop to meet J. for our possibly second date. (However, I just realized tonight that in the planning of last night, I left him hanging, so if he didn’t know I was coming, it may not count. But since I’m all about milestones and would like to have a succesful second date on the books, I’m counting it. Unless the first wasn’t even a date, in which case…)

I got to the bar after some wandering around. I usually have an amazing sense of direction, but didn’t bother looking up and getting my bearings. I just started walking and by the third pass of the Jesus Saves Mission, I was starting to get a little flustered. At the same time, I realized that my ID was sitting in Ravenswood and I was 45 minutes away in the South Loop. Shit.

I found the bar and luckily found J. immediately. He was surprised to see me, which I now realize is because I confirmed our plans, but only with myself. Oops. I joined him and his coworkers at a table with clear view of all the TVs and, unfortunately, a group of young republicans cheering each electoral vote like a Cubs Homerun.

The Young Republicans. I have to say that I have known very few. As a professor of mine once said, “Anyone who isn’t a democrat in their 20’s has no heart, anyone who isn’t a republican in their 30’s has no brain.” I’m not saying I am going to cross over between now and the next election, but I think the first half is true. How can women under thirty vote for Bush?

I can’t fathom it and neither could J., so we asked. “Hey you. You in the shirt that says, ‘George W is Hot’ and ‘Virgin Voter.’ Can you come here and tell us why you voted for Bush.”

So the blond with the perfect body, republican issued belt (see photo, every single one was wearing it.), and tight white homemade W is Hot shirt bounded over with her very green drink in hand. “I have morals and ethics that President Bush has and that is why I voted for him. He doesn’t believe in abortion and I don’t believe in abortion. He doesn’t believe in Gay Marriage and I don’t believe in Gay Marriage.” This was what we all leapt on. Gay marriage, civil unions, definition of male and female, and the sanctity of it all.

She continued her explanation, “Look, I don’t have any problem with Gay people. I mean, I like them, but what they do isn’t right.” Then in a stroke of brilliance, J deadpans, “I totally understand. I have black friends.” I chimed in that, “I like Jews.”

For a minute it clicked in her head. Most college educated people now know they can’t claim they aren’t racist, because they have one black friend. It is seemingly okay to say, “I know some gay people, but they still aren’t right.”

Then as J and his coworkers tried to break down the rights associated with marriage that is denied to gay couples, she glazed over and went back to her points. Terrorism, September 11, the Draft, the Army. She just couldn’t vote for a flip flopper.

I was so angry. I was beside myself. I was mute. So here is what I didn’t say to her.

“See that older man over there, the one buying all your drinks and getting you and your friend wasted? Soon I bet he’s going to offer you a ride home. Since you are too drunk, by his buying for you, you will giggle and accept. All of you will tumble out of this bar and into his car. You are at risk of being sexually assualted by him. He will say that you were asking for it. He will say that he bought you drinks and you were wearing that tight shirt and it was obvious that you wanted it. He will get away with saying those things, even though every excuse is wrong. It won’t be your fault.

“Then in a month, you might realize you’ve missed your period. Since you are in the abstinence party, you probably aren’t having sex with your boyfriend, right? How could you be pregnant? It was that man on election night. What now? You are 21 and pregnant with a rapist’s baby. You voted for Bush and obstensibly against abortion. You’ve waited too long to take the morning after pill, not that it is easily accessible, thanks Bush. So your options are?

“Adoption or keep the baby, but not abortion. Nope, you voted against that.”

GRRRRRRRRRR. I just saw it all happening in front of me and I was so angry and afraid for them. Don’t they get that men with an open tab who are 20 years older than you can be predators. It isn’t a love for the Republican Party, but issues of power and control.

It brought out an anger I have rarely felt since leaving the Rape Intervention Team in Colorado. Would I choose abortion? Hell if I know. Morning After Pill? Absolutely.

Has anyone read this far?

It was a lot for me too. All of this swimming in the surreal night of watching states go to Bush, to Kerry. Projected states. Possibilities. Probabilities. And a little bit of “what do I think of this guy sitting next to me?” Let’s be honest, it’s me, a lot of “do I like this guy? does he like me?” stuff going on in addition to rage, fear, confusion of election night.

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