Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Political: My Wilderness Years

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Thomas Jefferson


I can barely write today for the jabbing pain that is afflicting my kidneys, and the dull ache in the pit of my stomach. As I attempted to wrap my mind around a George Bush victory, all I felt was a sense of impending doom, and a feeling of being somehow apart from America. I struggle to feel like this nation represents anything I hold dear. How can 51% of Americans truly think that this man is the best choice to lead us? And, furthermore, how can I possibly have anything in common with them? What could possibly connect me to them?

I am reminded of Winston Churchill's description of his life from 1929 when he lost his cabinet position through 1939, when he became Great Britain's prime minister - a period he described as the most difficult in his life: 2004-2008: These are my wilderness years.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, this is not "my America". I am disgusted with those 51% of "Americans" and am in the angry stage of grief. But most importantly to me is in 2000 17% of 18-29 yr olds voted; in 2004, again, 17% of 18-29 yr olds voted. Screw them. Bring back the draft. If you are too lazy to remove the bong from your mouth and leave the dorm to vote against an administration that doesn't think twice about sentencing you to death for no good reason, then screw you. You deserve to die. So my liberal ass is going to be out there advocating for the return of the draft with no deferments -- I guess I'll join the bandwagon and do my small part to run this great country into the ground.

Raine said...

The terror and ill feelings of this election do not just taint the public of the USA. To put a global perspective on it, 51% of the American population has just doomed the rest of the world to trickle-down theory, unilateral action, and strongarming tactics.

I've been reading this blog (and many others like it) for quite some time now, and I take a limited comfort that at least there are a population of people south of the boarder who have awakened to the reality the world is in right now.

As a Canadian, it's really not my place to dictate to people in the US, however; I have a feeling that over the next four years, I will be dictated to from across that border, and as such, US politics, and US foreign policy are of the utmost importance to me.

Keep blogging. You might not know it, but blogs are one of the newest media shields to keep tabs on the world's rulers. If you see something you think is wrong, blog it. Someone like me will read it, and the news will spread.

Miko said...

OK gang. Not too much weeping and gnashing of teeth now. At least not in public. We need to think of ourselves as something akin to the Freedom Riders or the early suffragists. We just have yet to make our tipping point.

I've been mulling this over. and though in no way am I a Pollyanna, there are some things we can be very encouraged about. Chief among them is that, despite this loss, I think there might be many MORE avowed liberals now than ever before in my lifetime. When Clinton won, he appealed to both the party base AND the center, and that's how he was able to get broad-based support (besides bein' so damn sexy, that is). Kerry's support, in contrast, drew on a very strong and active constituency, loudly opposed to the incumbent, and made up of largely of people who were probably far more moderate before the election of 2000, 9/11, Iraq, and all the other fallout. These former moderates have undergone a great change in the last four years.

The Great 49% -- (can we call ourselves the Forty-Niners?) -- are highly politicized now. I'll be an example: I;ve always followed politics and voted, but I know a thousand times more now about the workings of government, nuances of the issues, and campaign methodology than I did in 2000. I read news more rabidly: I've learned to visually identify many senators, reps, and cabinet members and describe their positions; I dash off e-mails to my representatives every so often; gave money and learned from ACT, MoveON, the DNC and its offshoots, and the campaigns; and I helped get my friend elected First Selectman (the first DEm in 24 years to win that town). And thought I've been active, I'm by no means exceptional. We're all much more politically literate and much smarter than we were four years ago. And Kerry pulled together the 49% without really trying to coopt the center, directed a very critical focus on the administration, and coalesced just about half of us around the traditional Democratic values that underlie every significant social and cultural advancement of the last 50 years.

So in a very general and oversimplified way, what if we say that in the past, the national picture might have shown 25% party-hewing, committed Dems and 25% party-hewing committed Repubs in most elections, fighting over the remaining 50% the less informed and/or more centrist voters. If my hunch about that is anywhere close to true, then it bodes well for 2006 and beyond that in 2004, we actually have maybe 40, 45% of strongly committed voters who have come out courageously Democratic ideals despite Republican villainization. Think about the vast numbers of people who did more than vote; who were individually mobilized to donate, phone call, do 'vis', canvass, drive, raise money, start web sites, and just stop being ashamed to say they're lib'ral. Thanks to Dean, to the previous four sad years, and ironically the Administration themselves, I think we can take heart in knowing that there are more of us committed, hardworking 'lib'rals' than ever before.

And now, we have some solid experience; we're mad; and we're ready to define the agenda for the future. No more weeping! Start researching Congressional races in 2006 -- find some people to support -- and send them some bucks and write some letters. This is where we start to build a new new deal.

Pep talk over. Go get 'em!

Miko said...

Just to add to that -- Michael Moore came away with the same impression, it seems. Viz:

"Over 55 million Americans voted for the candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore. Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for a trend it should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the first time since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has always been filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS news is that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact, that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about November 2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of surprise in 2008."

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify a statistic used in an earlier comment--the numbers I've seen that young adult voters made up 17% of the total number of voters, not that 17% of these people (us, right?) voted. Still could have done better...