November 03, 2004

election blues

I'm sad and heartsick and scared about what this means for the future and for our country. Will the divide become deeper, more profound? How much damage will the Bush administration ultimately do to us and to the world? How can this happen, how can more than fifty percent of my country believe this narrow minded bigot and his flunkies are worth keeping in power? Is it really about the gay marriage ban? Can it be that simple and that unfathomably phobic?

I love this country. I do. When I was sixteen, my boyfriend and I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles up the west coast to Washington State and then across the northern US back home to New York. I remember being given a ride and warmth and stories in Wisconsin, sunrises in Montana, sharing pizza with strangers in a tiny town in North Dakota. I'm sure those people had as many flavors of belief and ideology as any group of random people you could round up. I didn't talk politics with them and it didn't matter. How can I now hate them because of what their beliefs have wrought? How can they hate me? How can they hate my friends enough to tell them they can't marry, shouldn't be allowed to have abortions, don't have a right to a fair wage or overtime hours or even the fundamental right to vote? How can the extremists have made their message so palatable to so many people that it's now taken as, pardon the expression, gospel?

I heard a fragment of discussion on NPR this morning as I drove home from dropping Damian off at school. Someone said what I thought was the most illuminating bit of all the analysis I've heard and read thus far: The people of this country are voting based on values. This is a given, I've seen it discussed many places on this bitter Wednesday. But their values and their concerns aren't necessarily about gay marriage and stem cell research per se. It's really that they abhor the degradation of our cultural values, what we all see every day. More porn, more crassness, more commercialism, less emphasis on ethical judgment in daily life, more selfishness all around. And so some (many?) people's response is to retreat to the shelter of some kind of legislated Puritanism. But it can't be the only solution.

I dont know the answer here, I only know, along with the political bloggers I read, that there has to be one. The Democratic Party has to redefine itself. The center has to hold somehow. This country was meant to be democracy by the people, for the people, of the people. And right now we're not. That has to change. If I was younger or more to the point, if I had more flexibility and less frazzle in my schedule I'd volunteer my time right now. As it is, I'd like to start donating money to the causes I believe in. It's time for change. Morality is not a single sided issue and should never become solely the prerogative of the far right. I don't know how, I certainly don't know how long it'll take, but the pendulum must swing back, at least to the center. At least to sanity. Because I believe that people are fundamentally good-hearted, fundamentally not hateful. It's just a matter of convincing them of that.

Yes, I'm sad and heartsick and worried. I won't pretend Im not. I don't know what lies ahead. I can only hope that good can come from bad. Somehow.

Posted by Tamar at November 3, 2004 04:23 PM

2 things:
It's all about the midterm elections. Remember when Clinton was first elected the dems had control of congress & senate BUT lost it 2 years in. We need to make sure that happens to Bush.
2.In some ways, if Kerry HAD won, this giant mess (war, ballooning deficit etc) would have been laid at his feet like a big fat set up. I am certain he would have been a one-termer (still, better then another term of bush, I know-- but I think we'd have gone back to the GOP)

Posted by: christine at November 4, 2004 08:25 AM