Thursday, November 04, 2004

taking a breath... 

Okay. It's been over a day since Kerry conceded the election to Bush. Whether he should have capitulated so quickly or not isn't the issue. I can understand how maybe he wanted to be the bigger man, to avoid the circus that happened last time around. To unravel all the voting irregularities that seem to have occurred could take a very long time and, in the end, might not change the outcome.

I think it's pretty obvious that I desired a different outcome, as did 48% of voting Americans. Whether we voted for Kerry because we thought he was the man to help get us out of the mess Bush et al. got us into or just because he wasn't Bush (agreed, not a good reason to vote for a candidate, but sometimes necessary under the political system as it currently stands in the United States), we believed that it would be best to get Bush out of office. So we showed up at the polls in an effort to achieve that outcome. And we showed up in record numbers. Bully for us.

And bully too for the conservatives who voted. It's not surprising that, in my not so humble opinion, those who opted to keep Bush in power because they thought he would be a stronger leader for the War on Terror or they thought he was a more moral person or that at least he stands by his decisions (even if the decisions are misguided or just plain wrong) - well, I think those folks are blind. Some are stupid and blind, others just blind in their inability to see Bush for what he really is, i.e. an obdurate, smug, pompous man in the pockets of big business who does not practice the spirit of the faith he proclaims so loudly to follow.

But those conservatives still voted. They exercised their rights in a mostly free and open election to choose the government they wanted. There just happened to be more conservative-leaning folks in the voting booths on Tuesday than liberal-leaning folks. And so we have Bush.

There have been a lot of heated words flying through the air and the wires over the last 36+ hours. Liberals screaming at the conservatives for being blind idiots. Conservatives shouting at the liberals to suck it up and move on. Some of it has remained civil, most degenerated into "You stupid!" "No, you stupid!" exchanges.

Thing is, such exchanges, while understandable (and trust me, I understand the anger that many liberals and progressives are feeling right now), are not going to solve anything. They're not going to change the facts and they're not going sway anyone to see things our way. Neither will threats of violence against an entire region of the US. And yes, I've seen that out there in the electronic ether.

Chris suggested in his blog that all the whining and vitriol the liberals are throwing out are because we Americans just don't know how good we have it. Rather than respond in his comments section, which may not give me enough room, I'd prefer to respond here.

I beg to differ. I would venture to guess that much of the vitriol is simply frustration and anger and disappointment at the outcome geysering out upon the keyboards. We've all said unfortunate things in anger. Sometimes we mean it, sometimes we don't. And since this has been one of the most intense campaigns in recent memory - certainly as far back as I can remember - all of the emotions came to a head and naturally spewed forth. Whether for ill or good, those words are now captured in the public arena. They make me sad. But I can understand. And I do.

As for the charge that we just don't know how good we have it: again, I disagree. I think it's precisely because we know how good we have it that we're angry and nervous and scared. Since we've seen how badly Bush and Co. have treated this country that we love in a mere four years, we fear for the future of our country. With the executive and legislative branches of the federal government currently being held by the Republican Party - and the judicial branch sure to follow conservative lines with the likely appointment of three or four judges by Bush - it is likely that an even larger portion of American citizens will be marginalized by the administration. Will it get as bad as the examples cited by Chris? Probably not. But we've seen how Bush and Pals have torn at our beloved nation over the last few years. Imagine what they could achieve in the next four. This frightens us.

The question is: Now what?

Well, we don't suck it up and move on. We don't indulge in denial. We don't go about our lives as if to say, "Oh well, nothing to be done now, tra la la." Because there is much to do.

We start by looking at organizations such as MoveOn.org and True Majority and volunteer our time and money. We check out our local Democratic or Green Party offices and see what we can do to help. We help these organizations to serve as watchdogs for the upcoming administation. And we stand up for our rights and the rights of others.

I've been too passive in the past. I can't afford to be passive anymore. None of us can. Those of you who have been actively working to make this country a better place, I applaud and commend you. Those of us who have voted but done little else, let's change that. Now. Today. We can't wait until the next election starts to gear up. Too much can happen between now and then.

As Sars said, "This is not over."

Not by a long shot.

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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