Thursday, October 30, 2008

Episode 65: How to Vote

Back on Election Day 2000, before the coup, Sister Meg and I were lucky enough to snag tickets to the Gore/Lieberman victory rally in downtown Nashville on Legislative Plaza. We arrived early and parked far far away and made it through three levels of security and pat-downs and purse-investigation. We stood on the granite plaza in front of a giant bank of journalists and TV screens, all ready to listen to President-elect Gore come out and we waited and waited and waited. Hundreds of people were gathered and roped off in different access-level areas. Lots of "No New Texans" lapel buttons. I saw one that said "Gay Men Hate Bush." There were giant TV screens on either side of his eventual stage and they kept blinking in and out so we couldn't really follow the story of what was happening. Evey now and then, we'd see some good news - Hillary over Lazio in New York, Gore takes Florida, etc. Then Florida was un-Gored and the journalists on the tiers behind us were going apeshit.

Being 2000, not everyone had a cell phone so there were just a few people on the phone for several hours, relaying the news or the not-news or whatever. Hours went by without us knowing what was happening. Never-was-been Marilu Henner came out - though as far as I know, she was not on the ticket - and sang a song from Chicago where all the lyrics had been changed to reflect politics and Al Gore and it was mind-bogglingly bad, though everyone smiled and laughed that way you do when a child tap-dances to "The Good Ship Lollipop" and doesn't fall on her face. Then another hour went by and Cher came out - also not on the ticket, though maybe she should have been! - and gave us a cheering-up speech, telling us we'd pull this out, but she didn't sing. More hours went by.

Al Gore never came out, though we had heard rumors he was staying in the hotel beside the plaza, watching from a penthouse window. It started to drizzle. It was 11:00 or so and the crowd started dwindling and eventually we broke up and trudged back to our cars, dripping wet, denied a victory speech - or indeed a presidency, though we didn't know that just yet - by Al Gore.

I guess that's my Woodstock, the thing I can say "I was there" about. It was a terrible night, all the way around. But mainly because of Marilu Henner and her idiotic song.


Anonymous said...

God it's painful remembering that night. And the WEEKS after ...

Katharine Weber said...

Millions of people, if not your neighbors, followed your instructions! Nice work!

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