Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Remembering BBFP

I cast my first ballot ever in California, voting for Kathleen Brown for Governor in 1994. I was so excited afterwards that I jumped off the top of the steps at the fraternity house that served as a polling place. Unfortunately, it was pretty dark and I don't have very good eyesight - I think you can see where this is going. There were several more steps than I had anticipated, and I fell to the sidewalk like a sack of potatoes. My hands and knees bloody and bruised, I limped home in agony but was pleased and proud to have done my part for the democratic process. Nothing but wild horses could keep me out of the voting booth.

As time passed, I wasn't content just to vote. I needed to work for a candidate to satisfy my democracy lust. In 1999, I foresaw that Bill Bradley would become the next President of the United States and I joined his campaign staff. I totally believed our slogan, "It Can Happen", even when one of our own supporters twisted the catchphrase to "Shit Can Happen." I would receive my paycheck and inevitably receive a solicitation from the campaign in my mailbox at home the same day. I felt guilty every time I didn't write a check in response.

I worked hours that would put Tyler Durden to shame. I left the Koreatown office to head home to Glendale in the wee hours of the morning, getting onto the 5 freeway at the 110 and waking up near the 2, hallucinating shadowy people standing in the street who disappeared when I got closer. I ate lunch at the Denny's on Vermont and dinner at the Texaco/Taco Bell on Wilshire, gaining 20 pounds in under four months. I stood at a high-visibility corner holding a Bill Bradley for President sign on Marathon Sunday, wearing a trashbag raincoat as water poured from the sky like God had broken the covenant with his people.

After failing to win even one state on Super Tuesday, Bradley bowed out of the race.

The day after his announcement was heart-wrenching. Not only had we lost, now we were jobless - but at least we had each other. Except only a handful of us in the L.A. office were Californians. The rest of our brethren boarded planes, left behind their campaign romances, and returned home. I got a terrible case of bronchitis and believe I may have been in a delerious state during a day trip to Disneyland with the staff that was left behind.

My parents wired me money, ostensibly to help me out until I could find a job. So after recovering from death's door, I did the responsible thing and got drunk every day for a month. I did eventually find a job. I got over the heartbreak. And despite being bloody and bruised, I was glad I did my part for democracy. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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