WARNING: Long entry. Get comfortable.
As has any good liberal, I’ve been doing a hefty load of soul-searching in the past few days. It’s a tremendous loss one feels when one looks up and realizes that not only did the wrong guy win, but more than half the electorate helped him do so. It’s a hell of a ride: You go from hating the candidate to hating the people who voted for him, then back to hating the candidate, then to heavy drinking, then to a near-complete loss of faith in your fellow North Americans (Canada excluded), then back to heavy drinking, and finally to unconsciousness, where you’re plagued by dreams of Ashcroft in a toga, giving the thumbs down to the gladiator who’s about to impale you and your secular humanist friends on a barbed trident.
It was particularly bad here in Oklahoma, where the state went red (as it predictably will), but opted against conservative Democrat Brad Carson (who’d likely run as a Republican in most other states) and chose instead Tom Coburn, sterilizer of the poor and proponent of murdering his fellow doctors who perform abortions. The guy is beyond conservative, and probably beyond fascist in some cases; Coburn is, to put it as delicately as possible, just fucking crazy.
In short, our elected representatives nationwide are going from bad to worse, despite the fact that it sure seemed like every single person and his or her dog tried their goddamndest to prevent it. It wasn’t for lack of viable or electable candidates; say what you will about Kerry seeming aloof or mechanical, but I defy you to do some research into his past (yes, his Vietnam record) and not feel something like a surge of pride.
Here’s a point that’s getting coverage lately, but that seems pivotal to this election’s disastrous outcome: Because so many states got “We Hate Fags” amendments on their ballots, evangelicals turned out in droves to prove how much they hated fags*. While they’re at the polls, why not vote for the incurious warmongering lying coward who loves Jesus too? ‘Cause, y’know, he loves Jesus.
The evangelicals (a reported 4 million of them) are in large part to blame for this, never mind the fact that Bush will get plenty more of God’s children killed and maimed over the next four years. Also at fault are the people dimwitted and uncritical enough to buy Bush’s attacks on Kerry and their assertions that Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11 (last I heard, roughly 60 percent of Americans still believed this bullshit).
But blame in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one fills up faster, you might rightly say. What the hell are we supposed to do for the next four years?
Though the first thing that comes to mind is the futility of it, the fact is that reasonable people in this country have to dust themselves off and keep fighting, keep doing what they were doing before Tuesday’s fucking fiasco. (After taking a long vacation, I might add; there’s immense therapeutic value in turning off the news and drinking, reading, and watching VH1 Classic for about a week. Ask Greg.)
There’s a congressional election coming up in two years; this is a potential bright spot. Tom DeLay is, many think, on his way out: Plagued by the possibility of criminal charges for his blatantly illegal redistricting campaign activities, he won re-election this year by the narrowest of margins. When DeLay is either defeated or (let’s hope) incarcerated, the GOP House majority loses the guy who almost singlehandedly created the culture of intimidation and recrimination that keeps many House Republicans marching in lockstep, and often voting against their better instincts. (Read “The Hammer” by Lou DuBose and Jan Reid for more on DeLay’s generalized crackheaditude.)
Also, consider this, and let’s be frank here for a moment: Despite how much we may or may not believe in John Kerry, it’s highly doubtful he or anyone we’d have elected could clean up Bush’s horrifying mess in Iraq in the space of one term. (As a friend of mine put it, everything that happens in Iraq would’ve been Kerry’s fault by December.) Moreover, it’s a safe bet BushCo will make things significantly worse, even if they do manage to set up a puppet democracy as promised. In short, Bush now gets to wallow in the disaster he’s created for another four years, during which time, one might argue, the voting public may well get a better idea of the magnitude of the cataclysm that is Iraq. (Yes, I realize who we’re dealing with when we refer to the public. Lay off, I’m being relentlessly optimistic.)
A key part of said disaster is its cost, and if you think we’re in debt now, wait through another four years of this war and see how far in the hole we are then. A wise man I know recently theorized that the Republican party may tear itself apart over the next four years, as the rift between idiot neocons and true fiscal conservatives will only deepen as this administration’s reckless unfunded spending continues. This is certainly not impossible, and if the idea of a revolt among congressional fiscal conservatives in both houses seems outlandish to you, I’d suggest you’re not thinking hard enough. The best lousy scenario I can think of is that we end up with a centrist Republican candidate in 2008 (Senator McCain, you out there?).
It all might seem overly optimistic and naive. But what choice do we have? No one who truly believes in liberal values can honestly throw up their hands at this point ? believing in a fair, decent, non-theocratic nation isn’t possible for quitters. Honestly, I have no idea how long it will take for the nation’s morons to realize things aren’t going well under Bush and his ilk. But even 54 million jackasses can’t ignore what’s obvious forever.
* ? Quite a bit, it seems.