I never much liked John Kerry. He was not a very likable candidate and he let George Bush dictate the terms of the campaign. I've never invested as much hope in someone I didn't like as I did in John Kerry. He failed me, he failed us, he failed everyone. He was up against a tremendous machine of disinformation lies and fear, and ultimately he was unable to overcome it. I don't know if there's any shame in that, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to figure that out.
As for how we should react to the election, that's also up in the air. For one thing I think that we should all be suspecting fraud at this point. The exit polls showed that Kerry had the election well in hand and would be able to get a full night's sleep before starting the long hard slog of fixing America. The final vote count shows that this is not the case, that evil and religion (can you have one without the other?) triumphed over good and free thought. Now the triumph is real as long as the results stand up, but we don't know whether or not the votes that were counted truly reflect the ones that were cast. The lack of paper receipts robs us of that 'privilage' (I would say right, but that's just me, I also think that people should have the right to borrow whatever books they want from the library without the FBI being called. Once again, it's apparently just me.) I always thought that the vile zealots at Diebold would steal the election if the returns were close enough to be within the polling margin of error.
It's possible they didn't have to. Exit polling is an inexact art and they've been wrong by this much before. We must suspect, though. We must suspect because it appears we will never know.
What other reactions are appropriate? Fear, anger, resentment, frustration. Those are all good places to start. Hope is a possibility too. iconoclast suspects that this Bush win will ultimately destroy the Republican party, since not even brilliant campaigning will be able to cover up the stench of failure that will descend on this country over the next four years. Perhaps it's true. I don't think so. I think that the vitriol of commercialism and flashy advertisements and the death of reason and respect for the intellect has lead us down a dark and winding road into a bleak black valley from which our return will be a monumental undertaking.
Undertake it we must though. Those of us who live in the birthplaces of Democracy, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, still remember what it is to live in a free society. So do those who live on the final frontiers of the American continent, in California and Oregon. It is the center that has not held. It has fallen victim to fanaticism and stupidity. There are those on livejournal who seek to fight irrational faith with irrational faith. They say that we should rely on magic or trust that sodomizing Arab men with chemical lights is part of God's plan. I think that's absolutely the wrong tactic. We must instead do battle with reason and evidence. We have to do a better job of appealing to people's reason. John Kerry did not fail merely because most of America is made up of idiots. He ran a bad campaign. A terrible campaign. When time comes to nominate our next candidate we CAN NOT let a John Kerry speak for us.
We must also turn to those we know who failed this election, either by not showing up at the polls or by and convince them not to fail us again. Not to fail themselves and the world.
Remember we have another shot in TWO years, not four, to take back the congress. The Republicans did it in '94 with their contract on America, hiring hitmen against freedom, and we could do it in '06. With a Democratic congress the bleeding could be staunched.
I don't know what the appropriate reaction is at the moment, I really don't, but depression and resignation aren't real options. I spent my night feeling sorry for myself alone in bed, now morning has broken and I'm ready to reach for a sword. No, better yet, something mightier. A pen. I'm ready to rethink, strategize, make bolder efforts, and no matter what keep talking. Keep exercising every freedom you have until they rip it from your cold dead hands. We can't run away from this conflict. It isn't possible. This is America, still the mightiest nation on earth. As it trembles and sways under the hands of the malignant many its shudderings will be felt throughout the globe. There's nowhere to run so we must stay and fight.
We are still American citizens, and we still have the rights of such. Our votes have failed us, the enemy was too many and would not be turned aside. The fanatics swarmed the walls of the keep and are in the process of ripping it asunder. We still have our voices though, our voices and our words. The appropriate reaction? To be energized. As young men didn't we all dream of one day being heroes? Of facing impossible odds against an implacable enemy and emerging victorious, its heads lashed to our shining shields? Now is our chance. The hawks would have us believe that the opportunity to fight evil lies overseas against a faceless nameless enemy. I say they lie. The opportunity to fight evil lies at our feet right now, in this country. We know its name and its faces well. They are emblazoned in our minds eyes and on our television screens. We must not let them have the last word.
What is the right reaction to what has happened? We placed our faith in fellow man and with his faith he failed us. Now I say to arms. To the battlements of democracy, and not with the weapons of the second amendment, but with those of the first. Let your screams be even louder in the face of your defeat. Let your words carry more weight and pile them high with the wisdom our foolish foes do not possess. Start preparing for the next battle, and the one after that. The world hangs in the balance. When the Nazis took Germany the German people let it happen. Many were unhappy but they were afraid to fight the rolling clouds of darkness. Let us not succumb to fear. America's best days ARE ahead of us, to quote a fellow fallen soldier, and it is in us that they must be entrusted.
Take time to reflect, if you must, and think on what has transpired. Take time to mourn and be afraid. Beat not your swords into plowshares though, do not go gentle into this foul night, do not let the will of the majority tell you what is right or what America should or can be. Eleven score and eight years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now this great nation needs us and our words if it is to persevere and become the thing that it has always wanted to be but not yet ever achieved. The land of the free and the home of the brave.
We must be the brave and we must make this OUR home. Defeated? How can we be defeated when we have not yet begun to fight?