Today, I eat my metaphorical shorts. My sister direly predicted a Bush win. But I held on to my optimism and my belief that given enough time and information, Americans could see past their parochial nationalism, and vote the guy eating paste out of office. I was wrong.
While Bush was busy eating paste, his lieutenants were campaigning at the grass levels.
They were in churches and synagogues, reaching out to rural/suburban evangelical America --who apparently number more than the city-bred liberals I feel a spiritual kinship with-- raising the specters that haunt them close to home. Manifestations of Liberal Evil such as Gay Rights and the erosion of "Moral Values"; the displacement of the American Jesus(1) from His temporal American throne. They were also online, blogging and webcasting, raising the other specters that haunt white America: tighter gun regulation; the prospect of another unforseen attack by Islamic militants; the neutering of American military and economic superiority in the world stage.
Having lost the presidency and both majorities in congress and the senate, Democrats must deal with certain hard facts even as they lick their collective wounds.
1. A large portion of America is in love with "God." In this age where Creationism and rabid Christian fundamentalism can find more than a foothold in the rock face of American society, Democrats must learn to talk more about God-- however they perceive Him. That, in my book, is the only way they will reach some understanding with the segments of America who think of Democrats as amoral and godless purveyors of The Satanic Agenda.
2. A large portion of America is still parochial. It's too easy to parse the world into Us vs. Them or Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism. It takes a mind that is open and privy to events happening in the world-at-large to even begin to grasp the increasing complexity of that same world: one that consists of interdependent nations. This handicap, plus George's unwavering categorical pronouncements (and George Dubya's likeability-- because the bastard is likeable) may have kept Americans from appreciating the more nuanced Democrat stand vis-a-vis Iraq, or the "War on Terror."(3)
The damage has been done: Bush and Cheney have another four years to screw over the rest of the world. Or maybe not. If some analysts are to be believed, a second Bush administration may be (gasp!) more centrist.
The strutting, belligerent teenager (George Dubya) has already beaten his father by being given an uncontested second term. He has nothing else to prove now, so his military adventurism may be curbed. Too, his last misadventure in Vietraq is bound to siphon away US funds, so another unilateral invasion against a perceived "evil state" may be too costly.(4) Citing the same costliness, the United States will be forced into a mode more open to negotiations-- they will still have to depend on states like China when dealing with problem states like North Korea.
Interesting. Let's see what the next four years wll have in store. I'm praying Bush stops eating paste and starts wising up before he nukes the world.
(1) They forget that Jesus was not American. Judaism and Christianity were born in the East. He has been continually used as a rallying symbol by the people who have appropriated Him to justify their agendas-- note the Crusades.
(2) Too, Ralph Nader may have taken away the votes that could have gone to Kerry. I guess I may have to eat my own arguments against voting on the basis of "winnability." But then with an election as important as this one, with an opponent as monolithic as the Bush Campaign Engine, perhaps my original "vote for who you want" argument need not apply...
(3) Notice too, how easy it is to light a fire under the average American-- simply wave the flag.
(4) Apparently governments don't look at cost in terms of human lives ruined and lost, but they will heed cost warning signs in terms of money. How nice.