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Marc Mason is a freelance writer based in Tempe, AZ.

Friday, November 05, 2004  
As what I would consider a moderate, centrist Democrat, I walk away from the 2004 election with no sense of surprise, a ton of outrage, and a marked sadness about what exactly the events of November 2nd mean.

I’m not surprised Bush won, no matter what the late polls said heading into Tuesday. If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that the Republican party is the better of the two in energizing its voters and getting them to the polls, particularly the older and more conservative members. If the Democrats could ever solve this problem with the younger, more liberal voters, they’d be golden. Pardon me while I don’t hold my breath. It isn’t like they’d have a platform to draw them in with anyway.

My disgust with my party might actually outweigh my disgust with the 59 million people who actually cast a ballot for George W. Bush. Putting their faith in a good man with an unfortunate lack of charisma might have been acceptable in some election years. But not in a year like this one, when the polarization of America was on its way to being fully complete. The double talk and the slipshod nature of what the campaign had to say basically boiled down to “John Kerry Is Not George W. Bush. You Hate Bush? Vote For Kerry.” Now, for someone like me, that’s plenty reason enough to vote Kerry, let alone my party affiliation. I think Bush and his cronies are about the most evil sons of bitches to roll down the pike since Woodrow Wilson was in office, and that’s no small feat. But for that voter who is somewhere on the fence, you have to give them a better reason to choose your candidate than “I Ain’t Him” and the Democrats never did a credible job of doing so.

They never even put up a fight, really. No matter how many opportunities Bush’s blatant stupidity and Cheney’s arrogance offered during the debates, neither Kerry nor Edwards ever dropped the veneer of staying “on message” and went for the throat. It was awful. Chance after chance went by. Four years removed from the Democrats’ finest leader of the past forty years, they ignored everything that Bill Clinton taught them about standing their ground, digging into the trenches, picking the fight, and still coming out of it looking like a good guy. It was a telling fact that James Carville wasn’t running this campaign; no one else has the stones to go toe-to-toe with Karl Rove.

I am still pretty pissed, though. Even through all the stupid mishandling of the campaign, I still had hope that people would be smart enough to figure out just how they’d been had by the Bushies. I guess that makes me even dumber than I believe them to be. I read one account of an African-American male who called into a radio show and spoke out about why he voted for Bush on a moral basis, that he liked his anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances. Now, I can almost take this at face value on the abortion thing. But the gay marriage thing?

It wasn’t too long ago that miscegenation laws were still on the books in this country. For those who don’t know what that means, it means that it was an offense punishable by imprisonment for blacks and whites to marry or have sex. Those laws weren’t put on the books or enforced by nice moderate and liberal folks. They were enforced by people of pasty skin who believed that African-Americans were less than human, the types of folks who burned crosses on lawns. It was liberal activists, and quite frankly, no shortage of gays and lesbians, who provided strong emotional and public support for their repeal. Scant years later, the Bushies have managed to help folks forget, and it saddens me immensely. On the bright side, I am close to three couples of mixed race, and they all voted Kerry. I guess maybe it’s a question of being in direct benefit that helps you remember.

On the flip side, there’s the area I grew up in, central Indiana, where open racism helped Bush. I finished with it a long time ago, escaping before the hatred and deep religious conservatism could corrupt my life any further. This is an area of the country where there is a barely subtle undercurrent of feeling that it doesn’t matter where we’re fighting a war or why, all that matters is that non-white people are being killed, and that’s okay, because they aren’t really people anyway. It’s sickening. Ironically, it’s the younger generation of the poor there who are most likely to wind up in the armed forces, whether by choice or eventual draft, and they’ll be the first to wind up in pieces on the front lines. Vote or Die, indeed.

And now, we are left with the arrogance. Bush and Chaney are claiming a “mandate” has been given for their agenda. What a load of crap. If 49% of the electorate has rejected your agenda, you don’t have a mandate. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to believe that all 59 million who cast a ballot for the Bush ticket actually believes in their agenda. There are plenty of people who weren’t comfortable changing presidents in the middle of an armed conflict. Many folks just weren’t convinced that Kerry was right for the job. I even know of one person who just hated Teresa Heinz Kerry and refused to vote for John out of spite. Instead, I have to figure that Bush might have drawn 50% of support at best. The question is: what does that really mean?

I think it means that Osama Bin Laden has already won, and he’s probably gloating like a bastard right now. Thirty-five years ago, a fracture developed in this country over the war in Vietnam, and it has never really healed. There have been periods where the sutures held up well enough, but right now, they’re torn out and blood is leaking at a pretty decent clip. Half the country is interested in creating a more faith-based nation and repudiating laws that offer equal opportunities for everyone, no matter who they love, or how. The other half is a disorganized wreck, made up of so many subcultures that it cannot field a unified voice. And that leaves America as a tinderbox, dangerously close to igniting in an inferno of pain and desperation. Things haven’t been this close to the edge since 1861… and 1776 before that. More people than ever are even giving up, as websites and embassies for other nations are seeing record inquiries from Americans considering getting out while the getting is good. I’m not sure I can blame them. Watching as this happens, the enemy can only be rubbing his hands with glee as America is destroyed from within.

I’ve always been an idealist when it comes to this nation. I was raised with a strong sense of fair play, and the belief that equality was for everybody. I believed in a nation that was strong enough to accept all ideas, all peoples. But now, that is a dream deferred, a dream dead at the bottom of a shallow grave in the desert. If November 2nd showed us anything, it’s that no matter how many times we try to resuscitate it, that America is beyond our grasp now. What remains is to see what comes next. The revolution started November 3rd.

5:30 PM

Isn't it ironic that the late Strom Thurmond fought against the Civil Rights Act, railed against miscegenation, yet had a secret biracial daughter?

To him, it's do as I say not as I do!! Hypocritical Republicans!!!
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