A lot of us are suffering from PESS - Post Election Stress Syndrome.

I may need counseling with Dr. Reagan - Ron Jr.'s wife - over on Magnolia. But I'm sure she's got her hands full putting icepacks on her husband's brow.

Shortly before the election, Ron Reagan Jr. told me that he thinks that other son of a president is crazy.

And that his voters are delusional.

Yeah, I can see that. But I can also see a possible silver lining.

Local campaign workers estimate that about 80 percent of Queen Anne went for John Kerry.

One voted Democratic this year after reviewing a tax return where someone making 20 million a year wrote it all off.

Who thinks the best man or woman always wins?

Look at our primary race for state rep. Helen Sommers barely squeaked by.

Have you ever met Helen? She's smart, honest - even cute.

"Vote for her?" a legislative reporter once said to me. "Hell, I'd marry her."

Anyway, we found enough reasons to believe in those presidential polls this year that we called Canlis for reservations on Nov. 3. If you only go out once a year, you want it to be memorable.

Chris, at Canlis, asked who we were celebrating for. I said, "The smart one."

"Oh," he said, "John and Teresa had their anniversary dinner here." Seafood at dusk in late May.

Chris Heldridge is the son of a painless oral surgeon and a mother from Switzerland who taught languages at the Evergreen School.

What was Kerry like?

"Peaceful ... inquisitive ... gracious." He wanted to know what he was seeing. So many bridges - and so many people on them. "He was soaking it all in."

The day after the elections, my eldest daughter called. She said everyone at her university in Arizona wore black, "either sad or mad."

We skipped Canlis and had pumpkin soup at our friend's house on the river.

"I'm dumping my stockbroker," she said. "He was a big Bushie."

"We have to look at the bright side," concluded her partner. "No doctor called to tell us we've got something malignant. And the kids are fine."

I raised my children to believe that communism wasn't the enemy: Southern California and New York were.

Our son called from Southern California. He and his roommates had thrown a great party last weekend. Then somebody smashed his friend over the head with a beer stein.

Our daughter called. At 13 she broke the news to me she didn't want to be governor because: "I want to be a fashion designer." It was a stake through the heart. But looking at Gregoire, she made the right decision.

She's taken Manhattan. But we're were still always afraid that one day she might break some bad news to us. Not that she was an "L" - you know, lesbian - but that she was an "R" - a Republican.

This year she told her employees they would register to vote for you know who or be fired.

"What are those Red States thinking?" she asked, astounded. "As if terrorists could care two hoots about Cleveland or Des Moines. No, they'll hit a port, like New York or Seattle - and we're blue!"

This election is especially tough for my generation because we came of age when America seemed about the best and brightest, not the lowest common denominator.

In ninth-grade math class I put a Kennedy sticker diagonally across my blue looseleaf notebook and began to walk on the slippery slope of political addiction - a rare Democrat on Mercer Island. Kennedy won the election by only 118,550 votes.

But our popular teacher was passing out cigars one minute and learning his wife and baby had died in childbirth the next. What can compare to that loss?

I did debate and studied presidents in college. Years later I was having a gripping conversation with Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, Alice, when she burst out: "John F. Kennedy was a magnificent animal!"

Smart, educated, and articulate,  he won the Pulitzer Prize and Medal of Honor. Check out what he said when faced with embryonic religious bigotry before the Baptists on Sept. 12, 1960:

"...I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute ... where no Catholic prelate would tell the President - should he be Catholic - how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote...."

The real issues, he told them, "are not religious issues - for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barrier."

Listen or read his speech at:

This year some Catholic archbishops actually told their congregations a vote for Kerry was a sin. Kennedy won 78 percent of the Catholic vote; Bush won Florida because he got 57 percent of the Catholic vot, and Ohio because he got 54 percent of Catholics.

Nobody can predict what will come of anybody's presidency.

Anti-communist Nixon opened the door to Red China. And, after winning every state but Massachusetts, he got kicked out of office by two unknown reporters.

Ronald Reagan agreed to nuclear disarmament with the Soviet Union.

Now consider W's options. Terrorism is up; the economy is down. Most of the world detests him. Most Americans think he's doing a lousy job.  

Yet what would not be changed if he were to accomplish only one thing: Peace in Palestine?

Thom Gunn appreciates receiving feedback - even from Rs:

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