It's been nearly two weeks now since the "results" of Election 2004 were announced. Shock, outrage, disappointment, cynicism, anger…what other emotions? Oh yeah, sadness.
Close…yes too close.
I've been unable to put anything on paper - part of me still wants to see the picture of Diana Kerry on the home page of our website, as a reminder - as Rick would say - " of happier times."
Today I read it's almost sure Ohio will be recounted. And at the same time I read if it happens, it will be aggressively reported. A Berkeley study has come up with some convincing data on disparities in Florida involving electronic voting machines, and it's been reported beyond the internet. These are good things, but I wonder where the mainstream press was during the campaign.
New Yorkers - the principal victims of 9/11 - voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic ticket, indicating they felt Kerry/Edwards would do a better job of fighting the war on terror. Open, brash, energetic tolerant New Yorkers who didn't flee the City or isolate themselves after the terrorist attacks. I hear that the Bush twins tried to get a table at Freemans in NYC and were told by the maitre d'hotel that the restaurant was full, and would have no tables available for 4 years! As word of this exchange spread through the restaurant the diners burst into applause and a round of shots was offered.
A couple came into Rick's last Saturday and sat at the bar. "We're from New Jersey and we were so depressed by the election we just had to get out of the U.S." They made a bee-line for Rick's and some good cheer, knowing they'd find some kindred spirits.
So in one of the many ironies between our Rick's and the film "Casablanca" we have an opposite theme today. (Madame) Rick is still an American expatriate, idealistic and supporter of underdogs. But Rick's is the center of activity not for helping refugees get to America but encouraging Americans to come to Casablanca and look at the world from a different perspective.
I'm thinking of setting up an open table where Casablanca visitors and residents can meet and over a good drink exchange jokes, discuss books, politics, music; play a game of cards or chess. Maybe something on the lines of the Algonquin Round Table, frequented by literary figures in the 20's - Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber among others - known as the "Vicious Circle."
The "letter of transit" for an entrée to Rick's is a sense of humor, curiousity, nostalgia and an open mind - not to mention an appreciation of food, wine, music and design. We're doing all we can to make Rick's a bastion of reason and civility in "this crazy world."