I don’t have a lot to say about the elections right now — like Pulling Down the Statue Day, it’s just too soon to know if it matters. Clearly the high turnout is a positive development. Even if half the voters had no idea who or what they were voting for, they ignored personal risk, turned out in large numbers. We’ll see where it goes from here, though.

* * *
Call me a masochist, but I spent a few minutes cruising through the righty blogs this morning, including Instapundit. Now, usually I think responding to the Instant Pundit is one of life’s more futile endeavors (though Max and Oliver have made noble efforts recently). But this one hit a little too close to home:

IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT? Our drunks are more lethal than their insurgents.

This enigmatic little entry links, in turn, to a blogger who notes:

Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)

Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)

* * *

It’s been more than ten years since I got a phone call late one Friday night: my mother’s car had been rear ended by a speeding drunk, sent rolling down an embankment, killing her instantly. She was 55 — twelve years older than I am today.

Unless you’ve been through something similar, I can’t possibly explain the devastation which follows, when someone is ripped suddenly and meaninglessly from your life. Even now, so many years after the fact, there’s this hollow feeling that never quite goes away, this sadness that is simply part of the fabric of my life.

Some people may view statistics like this as fodder for snarky little blog posts. For me, it just drives home the fact that there are real people behind every one of those numbers, families whose journey of grief and pain has only just begun. And to so casually dismiss their loss — “is this a great country or what?” — is beneath contempt.

(Edited for clarity.)