Grieving 11/2: Where are the casseroles?

When somebody dies, we know how to handle it. We bury the body, then go back to someone's house and take comfort in ham sandwiches and brownies. We commiserate. Neighbors, understanding what a horrible time this is, send over casseroles: beef stew, chicken divan, that kind of thing. You know you're not alone, because we have our ways– an obit in the newspaper, people sending flowers and sympathy cards. This is what civilization looks like.

Well, for the past several days– following an emotionally exhausting all-night vigil– I have been mired in deep grief due to the unforeseen outcome of our national election. I mope around the house, going through Kleenex at an alarming clip, and I can't watch the news without feelings of hopelessness– not to mention queasiness– overtaking me.

What I want to know is: Where the hell are my casseroles? I want flowers, cards– I want a funeral, dammit.

And no, the Red Sox win doesn't help, in case those of you who know that I hail from the Mother of All Blue States were wondering about that. (Well, okay, maybe it helps a little.)

A big dream has died here, and half of our fellow citizens feel as though we've had our hearts ripped out.

This was not your average election. This was The Election of Our Lifetime, the one that would get us back on track, allow us to re-implement all those swell Enlightenment principles that this great democratic experiment was based on. You know– reason, freedom from superstition, knowledge based on evidence, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But no, the Republicans had to ruin all our plans and re-elect the man who is said to believe in the Rapture ­ the event that will happen any day now, when he will be sucked up into heaven, body and soul, along with the true believers in all those red states.

(Is it any wonder he's unconcerned about the deficit and global warming? In just a little while, Bush will be outta here and we'll be the ones left behind, so to speak, to pick up the check and watch the beaches disappear under the rising ocean.)

In order for the newly bereaved half of the electorate to move through the anger/denial/acceptance process, I propose we create a special day to commemorate our shattered dream. And, come to think of it, let's make it more like an Irish wake than a funeral ­ I need to do something with all that champagne I socked away to celebrate John Kerry's big win. Let's designate the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a national day of mourning.

We can drink our champagne and reminisce, saying things like, "Hey, remember the Constitution? The part about unreasonable search and seizure?"

"Yeah, that was cool."

"And remember separation of church and state?"

"Oh, man, that was awesome..."

We can sigh a lot and hug each other as we drain those champagne bottles. Of course, we'll be needing some comfort food at this get-together, and I think, even if they can't muster a mac and cheese casserole, the Republicans could provide the ham sandwiches and brownies. It's the least they can do.