Let’s admit it: We American liberals have been feeling like crap ever since Election Day 2004. We worked hard, and came very close to winning the presidential election, but when Bush pulled it off with a mere 51 percent majority, our work seemed amount to a pile of might-have-beens.
We got angry. We withdrew. Many of us even tried to find grounds to overturn the election. It’s pretty obvious: We’re in mourning.
Admitting to mourning is the first step to moving forward. With this idea in mind, progressives all across America are organizing a National Day of Mourning on January 20, the same day that George W. Bush takes his second inauguration as President of the United States. The great thing about a public mourning is that it helps the living get come back to life. The energy that’s being poured into counter-inaugural events is proving to be a catalyst that is re-energizing liberals all across America so that they can fight the tough battles to come.
The greatest thing of all is that counter-inaugural mournings are not just being planned for Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, the two usual hubs of national protest. Local events are being planned all around the country, and they’re taking on a dramatically local flavor.
In Las Vegas, the home of Elvis impersonators, liberal activists are appropriately staging a mock inauguration. In New Orleans, a group has organized what it’s calling a Jazz Funeral for Democracy. Now, with no intention of offending any other grassroots groups anywhere else, I have got to say that this Jazz Funeral for Democracy is the best idea I’ve seen for a January 20 protest event yet. An authentic New Orleans style jazz funeral procession will be created, providing local progressive activists with the chance to purge their negative feelings about the Election, and look forward more positively to the work before us.
I’ll take this lesson from the New Orleans Jazz Funeral for Democracy: The core of progressive values is a positive outlook on life that cuts through all the fear and garbage that the Republican nationalists love to throw out on us. What better way to start a four year stint of darkness with a festival that is defiantly upbeat?