Wednesday, November 3

[Let's pretend this is an informed consent]
I've never been a particularly good loser, so I've found myself feeling predictably defeated and discouraged all day. I've also found myself feeling angry and deeply resentful toward the people living in this country: their ideals, their "values," their vision of what our country should be about. I guess I had this grand vision of the American populace as being a hardworking, moderate group devoted to freedom, fairness, prosperity, and hope. I never really bought into the vision of America FOX blatantly panders to; I thought the knee-jerk moralism and arrogant self-righteousness was part of the network's schtick, not necessarily indicative of the electorate's true persona.

But the core of America has thunderously declared its approval of this president and his policies. This time around, there is no questionable margin of victory: Bush garnered more than 3 million more popular votes than Kerry. The people of this country pulled a one-two punch on me. Not only did they not come through for Kerry, they delivered big-time for Bush. As difficult as it is for me to wrap my head around such an anomaly, I have to move toward accepting it because there is no other recourse this time. We can just wait for four more years to slip off the clock, all the while keeping our fingers crossed in the hope that Bush will solve his own problems for once.

There are some things I'm having a particularly hard time accepting.

  • New York, D.C., and New Jersey all voted overwhelmingly for Kerry. These were the three areas most affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. If the people living in these areas think Kerry would keep us safer than Bush, who is Montana to argue?
  • The 11 states with anti-same sex marriage initiatives on the ballot are indicative of a major national backlash against gays and lesbians. This is incredibly disappointing, perhaps most ironically in a time when gay culture has been co-opted by the media and made acceptable for the mainstream ("Queer Eye," "Will and Grace," metrosexualism, etc.), in some cases making many conservative rich white men even richer. So we will laugh heartily at fags and dykes but we won't dare guarantee them equal rights under the law? Does this sound familiar ("Amos 'n' Andy," blackface, etc.)?
  • Even after squandering the world's sympathy and support after Sept. 11 by launching an unpopular pre-emptive attack on a sovereign nation for apparently exaggerated reasons; after more than 1,000 American soldiers and an estimated 10,000 Iraqi civilians are dead; after a humiliating scandal within the military in which Iraqis were tortured and humiliated for fun; after not coming through on his promise to capture Osama bin Laden, the actual mastermind behind 9/11 who is very much alive and well and cryptic as ever in his recent video; after presiding over a struggling economy in which corrupt corporate CEOs walk away with billions while the average American struggles to scrape past each day; after outright lying to the people about the true nature of his tax "cut," raising false hope in a time of national financial instability; after running up a record-breaking deficit to fund a largely unsuccessful war; after stumbling like a confused and exasperated monkey through three presidential debates in which he did little more than complain about how hard it is to be president, this man still managed to get more than half of this nation's voters to say, "Yeah, this one's our man. He'll move us in the right direction."
When I look at this relatively short list of obvious blunders (there are many more) that would almost have guaranteed that any other president would've been run out on a rail, I can't fathom how a majority of this country could accept and, by their votes, encourage this behavior as long as they get to keep their guns and keep women's and gay rights always on the brink of nonexistent. It is inconceivable to me how regressive this country has become, and how willing the sheepish masses are to not only let their rights evaporate, but also to actively seek to deny the rights of others. But despite my surprise and disappointment, the people have spoken. And, as I am bound to them in the name of democracy, we share a national fate.

I'm not sure I buy into the speculation that Bush will take on a more moderate agenda to try and unite the nation. I think that, if anything, Bush's far-right leanings have been validated and energized by the religious and socially conservative voters supporting him. In fact, the Right is likely to begin furthering their anti-gay, anti-choice, Jesus-freak agenda, all while ignoring the senseless carnage in Iraq and the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

As it stands, I am now seriously rethinking where I choose to live, as the belly of the South is clearly too full of noxious, hypocritical fire and brimstone for my liking.

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