Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Beat and brokenhearted

So I spoke to soon. I cannot believe that we lost. I don’t think it will sink in for a while, especially since extreme sleep deprivation has rendered my brain mush. I don’t know why I’m even attempting to stay awake, since I’m sure I could sleep for 12 hours if I decided to go to bed now.

I wanted to get something out there about my reaction, though I don’t plan to end the blog here. Like all Bush loathers, I’m shocked, devastated, and worried about where this country is headed. America has become a place that I do not understand and whose attitudes and policies I do not like. Supposedly we are free, and yet now it is possible—even likely—that the Supreme Court in the next four years will overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to pass laws that restrict or outlaw a woman’s right to chose. See those red states on the map? Imagine all the women who live there having to chose between an unwanted child and a coat hanger. Is this 2004 or 1504? Never mind the fact that Bush’s policies are hurting the environment and turning the world against us, thus increasing the likelihood that there will be some sort of global violent conflict. Bush undoubtedly interprets this win as affirmation that God wants him to be President, and that he is as infallible (does he know that word?) as he assumed he was all along. How could the majority of Americans think that Bush is right? But why do I even wonder? After all, Americans have elected some pretty yucky men to the highest office—Nixon, Regan, Bush 41. Fifty-nine million people can be wrong. I believe that history will prove that, but who knows how bloody and awful the lesson will have to be. Who knows how much all of us will suffer as a result.

Listening to Kerry’s concession remarks, I was angered by the idea that we should strive for unity. We do not agree with the Bush agenda at all—just because he got a few million more votes doesn’t mean that we should make nice. And it is political pandering for Kerry to suggest it. If I had to concede, I would confess that it breaks my heart why more Americans do not see the damage of Bush’s policies, not only to the world but to themselves. We know that Bush is lying when he says he is going to reach out to all Americans—he ran as a “uniter” last time and what did he do but ram his super-conservative agenda down all of our throats? With all due respect, Senator Kerry, I’ll keep my rancor. It’s all I have left now.

I find myself more upset about 2000 now than ever. Bush may have won this time (though do we really trust Diebold?) but he is still illegitimate in my eyes. Gore won both Florida and the popular vote last time, and he should have been President, thus Bush’s running for re-election is a result of his illegitimate accession to that office. This is why we should have fought harder in 2000. We should have taken it to the streets. I just cannot believe that with all the groups that mobilized against Bush, who must be the most hated President since Nixon, that we did not manage to defeat him. The reason why is that is a growing group of Americans that care more about denying the freedoms of women to choose and of gay people to form legal unions than anything else. This supposed “God first” agenda has essentially rendered the Democratic Party completely defunct in this country. Somehow we cannot get through to them on the economic issues because they see our secularism as off-putting. Moreover, the electoral college deters Democrats from even attempting to explain to these people how their religious beliefs are being exploited for the benefit of the rich and powerful—why bother changing anyone’s mind if you can’t change enough minds? That is the strategy that the electoral college forces upon both parties. Thus you cannot judge what appeal Kerry could have had, had he actually tried to convince all voters in the country, without regard to where they lived. It is sad to realize that some votes are worth a lot more than others. It would revolutionize elections if all votes were equal, and the presidency decided based purely on the electoral vote. The red and blue map is pretty stupid in that it implies there are no liberals in the middle of the country. This is not true—the map simply shows that they don’t have a majority. If our system wasn’t winner-take-all by state, then we could actually work on increasing support in those places. As it is now, Kerry probably never even visited many of them. What hope do we have of undoing the conservative brainwashing of America’s middle class if we automatically concede vast swaths of the country?

Cleaning out the office, as you can imagine, is sad work. I am sad not only because we lost, but because our operation was so unsatisfying on the level of organization. We did good, yes, but it wasn’t done in a manner that left unfulfilled my own craving for efficiency and order. I think I would feel better about losing if I thought we ran a tight ship. We were very wasteful, which is sad to begin with, but particularly bitter when you add the fact that it was all for naught, and is almost heartbreaking when you know that the environment will now be under siege by Bush’s policies for at least another 4 years, if not longer—you just know Jeb is going to run in 2008.

It is odd how everything we did is now irrelevant. All those preparations, the reams and reams of paper consumed by forms, flyers, campaign literature—suddenly good only for the recycling bin. The product of feverish preparations were now just detritus of the defeated.

I haven’t cried yet, but I’m not ruling it out. I think I will likely head to Europe sooner rather than later, as there is no inauguration to look forward to. (But first, I'm heading home to California for a visit.) So many volunteers are saying they are going to leave the country. I wonder if we could see a noticeable anti-Bush ex-pat movement spring up. I know we should stay here and fight, but how can you fight against the swelling evangelical fervor that is largely responsible for Bush’s popularity? There isn’t room for discussion with people who believe that the Bible is infallible, and who want to make their beliefs the law of the land, even if a majority of Americans don’t want them to be law. The majority of Americans, for instance, are pro-choice. But Bush doesn’t care. I’ll tell you what. I’ll make this compromise: I promise to return to America to take to the streets if (when?) the Supreme Court overturns Roe. I can’t imagine America taking that lying down. Maybe such provocation will finally shift the country out of this deadlock division; perhaps we have lost the election on the way to winning a revolution. Right now, it seems as if that is our only hope.


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