I love my country, but it keeps breaking my heart

Miki Johnson

For the record, my headline comes from one of my favorite protest placards from my experience at the Republican National Convention. This simple phrase immediately struck a chord at the very core of my beliefs, and does so even more now.

Yes, at the risk of adding to the stereotype of our liberal-slanting media, I am admitting that I didn’t watch Tuesday’s election results with an opinionless removal. No, I was rooting — hard — for Kerry (I know, huge surprise).

I was distractedly attempting to edit as the first polls closed; I laughed at the fun poked at our election system’s quirks by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; and, finally, I found it impossible to keep my eyes free enough from tears to focus on the computer screen.

Maybe I’m a sore loser or maybe I’m just as idealistic as college students are supposed to be, but there really was more than our country’s leadership riding on this election — at least for me. And judging by the palpable silence in my apartment when I got home, the listless conversation in class today and the forlorn faces I’ve caught across campus, I suspect I’m not alone.

No, this presidential race was going to prove that our electoral system was not outdated, that college students’ votes could impact a national election, that Bush flat-out stole his mandate from a temporarily confused population in 2000 — basically, that America finally would do something I could be truly proud of. Thus yesterday’s results, sealed by a narrow margin in my own home state (how I already am dreading four years of Florida jokes reworded for Ohio), took a more emotional toll on me than the average election.

And what keeps coming back to my mind is, “How the hell am I supposed to write about entertainment after all this?” It is very much my own (self-imposed) burden to bear, but it is a special kind of crisis when you have to convince other people the thing you dedicate at least 30 hours a week to is just plain-old not as important as what’s going on in the “real news.”

But maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. We certainly have some outstanding stories this week. There’s our cover story on page 3 about a new computer-music system that allows you to buy a live show you’ve just seen once the music finishes. And the apparently infectious music of Sonia Dada highlighted on page 4. Plus on page 6, what do you know, another NU alumnus has made it big (in an elite, underground way) creating experimental short documentaries and will return this week to the scene of his education.

And after all, haven’t the arts (with all their distraction value) historically gotten the most attention in our country’s darkest hours? I know there are plenty of you out there who hardly would characterize our country’s near future this way. I hope genuinely that you are right and I am wrong, wrong, wrong. But if not, I hope we can all find some small solace in gorgeous cinematography and thrilling guitar riffs. 4

Medill senior Miki Johnson is the PLAY editor. She can be reached at [email protected]