Aaron Huffman

Is this YOU?

You're a Democrat. You call yourself a liberal, and you're not ashamed.

All through the spring and summer, you felt hopeful. It was an emotion you'd lost contact with over the last eight years, and it was fantastic to feel it again. Your man was doing well. He was going to win the election in a walk.

The country wanted change. Your man was change. Democrats were change. Change would triumph. You believed.

Deeply.

But now you're increasingly feeling anxious. You can't concentrate. You can't manage anything close to the euphoria of January and February, nor can you summon the optimism of June, July, and August. Ever since the Republican National Convention, ever since Sarah Palin, a gnawing dread has been lying just below the surface of your every interaction. Sometimes you can't keep it bottled up. Sometimes you snap—at the screen, at your friends, at your family.

What you feel these days is that it's happening all over again: the lies from the right, the successful pandering to the evangelical Christians, the sinking poll numbers for the Democratic ticket.

The man—your man—who should obviously be winning, now seems like he could very well lose.

You wonder if you're suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. You find yourself thinking ominously of how they stole the election from Al Gore in 2000. You have flashbacks to that heartbreaking, alienating moment in 2004 when you realized John Kerry was going to lose, too. You can't stop worrying. But you also can't stop following the events that are terrifying you. Your life is an endless circle: read the news, worry, talk to friends who are worried, get even more worried because they are worried, repeat.

If this is you, help is available. It's time for a pharmaceutical intervention.

Thankfully, new mood-stabilizing drugs have been developed for this particular condition, Election Anxiety Disorder. Read through the following offerings, and then ask your doctor which one is right for you.


PALIUM

Recommended dosage: 5 mg per day until November 4, except for October 2, the day of the vice-presidential debate—on that day, the recommended dosage is 50 mg. Take with alcohol as necessary.

Effects: Induces a Valium-like calm with respect to all things Sarah Palin and predisposes the mind to recall that she has only been on the national stage a few minutes and yet already has a pattern of political falsehoods, a knocked-up daughter pressed into a shotgun relationship, a cadre of small-town enemies crawling out of her closet, and an abuse-of-power investigation in her home state that's being run, helpfully, by a Democrat. While on Palinium, you will be soothed by repeated waves of placidity and feel certain that all of these Palin vulnerabilities will somehow lead to a Republican-ticket implosion within the next few weeks.

Possible side effects: Delayed ejaculation, loss of lingering resentment toward Hillary Clinton, desire to join the Alaskan Independence Party.


VIRGINIACODONE

Recommended dosage: One tablet taken an hour before looking at any map with red and blue shading.

Effects: Triggers receptors in the brain that have, in the past, received the news that Barack Obama really could win Virginia and its 13 electoral votes. Causes pleasing sensation of belief that this will, in fact, happen—that Virginia, which has been going to Republican presidential candidates by slimmer and slimmer margins over the last five election cycles, will finally tip into the Democratic column this year, and that leaked Virginia exit polls on November 4 will trigger a huge Obama landslide as Republicans across the nation sit on their hands in despair and Democrats everywhere rush to amplify the pro-Obama results.

Possible side effects: Obsession with Virginia governor Tim Kaine's winning voter coalition in 2005 and/or the minutiae of Virginia senator Jim Webb's narrow victory in 2006. May also cause drowsiness, induce drawl.


AFRODIAZEPINE

Recommended dosage: 15 mg daily, half dosage if some of your best friends are black. Consult with your physician before taking Afrodiazepine if you are black.

Effects: Also known as the "Black people will save us!" pill, Afrodiazepine focuses the mind on the record-shattering African-American turnout that helped Barack Obama win during the Democratic primaries. This drug fosters deep belief in the turnout-altering nature of Obama's historic candidacy and helps with absorption of related numbers and percentages, such as the fact that Ohio, which Kerry narrowly lost to Bush in 2004, could easily go for Obama this time around if he wins 95 percent of the state's black vote (a not unlikely scenario based on Obama's performance in the Democratic primaries, when his take of African-American voters was well above 90 percent in several states).

Possible side effects: Tourette's-like shouting of "Black people will save us!" at inappropriate moments, awkward attempts to acquire black friends.


CELLEXA

Recommended dosage: Four pills once a week or as needed depending on friends' moods and tracking-poll consumption.

Effects: Encourages the following response to any apocalyptic discussion of negative poll numbers: "Yeah, but pollsters can't reach people who have only cell phones. And most young voters have only cell phones, not land lines, and young people as a group are overwhelmingly in favor of Barack Obama, and therefore these new poll numbers probably aren't as bad as they seem... Okaybye... Text you later."

Possible side effects: Cancerous brain tumors.


JEWBUTRIN

Recommended dosage: Eighteen pills (a lucky number in Jewish lore), or any multiple of 18 pills, weekly. Do not take with milk and meat.

Effects: Stimulates the profound sense that elderly Jewish voters, particularly in Florida, have long since gotten over all those e-mails about Barack Obama being a Muslim and are now spending all of their time—between canasta and mah-jongg games—forwarding e-mails that talk about how Sarah Palin's pastor is tight with the founder of Jews for Jesus, how Palin was in church the day this Jews for Jesus putz came as a guest speaker and said that terrorist attacks in Israel were God's punishment for Jews rejecting Christianity, how on top of all this Palin is an evangelical Christian, and how Jews are generally creeped out by evangelical Christians, what with their tendency to fawn over the Jews because they supposedly can help bring about the rapture (at which point the Jews, their utility over with, will be left behind and suffer eternal damnation).

Possible side effects: Appearance of speaking in tongues—although this is usually only Yiddish, which is harmless.


REGISTRITHIUM

Recommended dosage: As often as needed to combat feelings of vertigo and despair.

Effects: Erases skepticism about Barack Obama's chances by promoting growth of the specific neurons and synapses connected with absorbing news reports with headlines such as "Democrats Post Huge Gains in Voter Registration." Helps patient to remember that hundreds of thousands of new Democrats registered to vote during the epic primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama, and that overall, Democrats have added two million new liberal voters to the rolls in 28 states since 2006 (while, during the same period, Republicans have lost nearly 350,000 voters in those same states).

Possible side effects: Vulnerability to belief that it might be okay for individual taking this medication not to vote.


POLLZAC

Recommended dosage: One pill orally in moments of extreme poll-related agitation. Also available in suppository form.

Effects: Completely erases all short- and long-term memories of any percentages, pie charts, line graphs, and/or margins of error. Also inhibits reabsorption of any such information.

Possible side effects: Disorientation, lack of balance, loss of motor control, and intermittent belief that Ralph Nader is likely to win. Not to be used while operating heavy machinery or by Bob Barr.


BRADLEY EFFEXOR

Recommended dosage: Twice daily in last two weeks of October and three times daily in first week of November. As needed until then.

Effects: Much like MDMA, this drug floods the brain with serotonin, producing a sensation that the world is full of love, that this love resides within all of us, that it is present now, that the patient can feel it (and is perhaps aroused by it), and that therefore no one would ever tell a pollster that he or she is voting for a black man and then go into a voting booth and, out of coldhearted racism and weasely cowardice, vote for the old white guy.

Possible side effects: Nocturnal emissions stemming from dreams about intercourse with Barack Obama.


JOELOFT

Recommended dosage: Dissolve in Bud Light or Johnny Walker and drink mixture rapidly before watching any speech by Joe Biden.

Effects: Patient will come to believe that Joe Biden is not only a working-class hero and a good Catholic, but also the best good-ol'-boy campaigner since Bill Clinton. Patient will further come to believe that this will help Barack Obama tremendously among the white, working-class voters and Catholic voters who don't tend to like Obama much. As a result, patient will see Pennsylvania as being firmly in Obama's grasp and soon thereafter should cease having any Pennsylvania-related panic attacks.

Possible side effects: Strange attraction to old white men with hair plugs. In a small percentage of patients Joeloft has induced fond thoughts of Joe Lieberman. If this happens, patient should go immediately to nearest emergency room to have stomach pumped.


ELECTRO-COLLEGE SHOCK THERAPY



Recommended dosage: For use only in extremely persistent cases of acute election-related anxiety, to be administered only by trained professionals.

Effects: Via electric current through brain and shouted commands audible to patient during treatment, recipient of Electro-College Shock Therapy learns, once and for all, that nothing matters except for the Electoral College vote totals—not the popular vote, not the national polls, nothing, nothing, nothing but the Electoral College vote totals. Patient also is implanted with the indelible memory that Barack Obama has led John McCain in projected Electoral College vote totals for the entire race so far.

Possible side effects: Incapacitating obsession with polling data from states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and others.


EMMIGRATOL

Recommended dosage: Three pills before any meals with liberals prone to declaring intentions to move to Canada.

Effects: Adjusts the human "fight or flight" impulse so that the flight impulse is blocked and fight impulse heightened. Also makes notions of visa applications, passports, and emigration papers incomprehensible.

Possible side effects: Loneliness if/when John McCain wins.


WEST VIAGRA



Recommended dosage: 16 mg at first sign of despair over chances of Democrat winning White House.

Effects: Strong confidence in the idea that demographic changes in the Mountain West and a startling increase in elected Democrats in the region over the last 10 years mean that Barack Obama will win Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada—and maybe even Montana and Arizona, too—thus triggering a landslide Obama victory that will make even Ronald Reagan's corpse jealous.

Possible side effects: Impulse to wear Carhartt jackets and large belt buckles, attraction to people who look like Jon Tester.


INTERNETSAPRO

Recommended dosage: One pill whenever an effective John McCain advertisement comes out.

Effects: Patient will recall, for a minimum of six hours straight, that Barack Obama is doing something with the internet that no other politician in American history has ever done before, and will further recall that Obama has raked in, and will continue to rake in, a ton of money off the internet—money that can be used to bury John McCain in pro-Obama advertisements in the closing weeks of the campaign. Patient will also remember that Obama has more friends on Facebook than anyone, ever, or something like that, and that these types of opportunities for direct communication with voters give Obama a huge advantage and help him continue to build a campaign that is more like a mass grassroots movement than anything else.

Possible side effects: Internet addiction, mounting credit-card debt from repeated online donations.


DISCLAIMER: Discontinue use of any and/or all of these drugs if you experience shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or a belief that John Kerry actually was a great candidate. The Stranger and its subsidiaries make no claims or guarantees about the long-term effects of any of the products described, and disavow any prior or future knowledge of studies linking these drugs to criminal acts, sleep walking, or driving at high speeds in the direction of Mexico.

eli@thestranger.com