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Sunday, November 07, 2004


Since people keep chastizing me for my Bush voting tendencies (two people I've never talked to before have apparently stopped talking to me over it), and my last post about it was truncated due to having to leave quickly, I decided I'd post my explanation from an e-mail which is maybe better articulated:

There are some short term benefits - for example, Bush alianating the
neocons by joining hands and doing a maypole with the religious
crazies will just make the Republicans more divided, it might act as a
wakeup call to the Democratic party that this time, when they
restructure, maybe a backbone would be appropriate. Watching the
debate where both candidates made a rush for the middle in fear of
startling people was sort of annoying. But that's just fluff.

My reasoning is actually pretty simple. I think he's going to continue
his previous policies, only now with a new fervor since he doesn't
have to worry about the accountability or checks provided by running a
reelection campaign. If he was willing to say with a straight face
that a medicare bill which hands billions to the pharmacutical
industry with little other effect is a quality piece of law, or if he
was willing to invade a country which hadn't really done anything at
the cost of hundreds of billions (which maybe could have been brought
down if we, you know, did bidding on reconstruction contracts) then I
have no doubt that when faced with less accountability, and a
solidified mandate to action, he would really open the floodgates.

His major domestic policies were a laughably stupid tax cut and a de
facto repeal of the Clean Air Act. His international policy took the
US off the moral highground to which we'd spent an agonizing century
climbing. But all I heard in the months leading up to the election was
how Kerry may or may not have earned a medal in Vietnam, and how Bush
may or may not have served his national guard duty. There was some
policy discussion, especially among more intellectual groups, but the
main reason people voted for one candidate or the other was that there
was some emotive, visceral issue they felt superceded the aggregate
harm the president had done to the economy, to the separation of
powers, or to the bill of rights. Sure, certain provisions of the
Patriot act, literally read, say that the government can seize the
property of a person who works for a company who unknowingly gave
money to Greenpeace. But heaven forbid Vermont lets two men share a
health insurance plan.

I'll grant that my knowledge of the dynamics of politics and power is
pretty limited, but it seems like every major advance we as a country
have taken, be it for human rights or democracy, has been reactionary.
Even the small things - like Amber alerts and shark safety - have come
only when people are forced, absolutely forced, to pay attention to
issues. And during this election, people weren't. John Kerry really
did run on the "I'm not Bush" platform, and I don't feel like electing
him addresses the underlying problem that people are too ignorant or
lazy or uninformed to notice that schools are failing, kids are being
born in heavily polluted areas with infant mortality or deformation
rates commensurate with the third world, and the administration's
response is to cut funding or to cut mercury standards in drinking

The voter turnout this year was at its highest since, I think I heard
them report, 1968. Pew had a poll which said that 84% of people think
that the election is "very important", which is nearly twenty percent
higher than 2000, and twenty-five percent higher than 1996. The
country is incredibly polarized, but there's been more discourse
surrounding this election than any of the past. It just hasn't been
about anything which matters, and I'd rather have a president with
whom I fervently disagree on... well... everything if the effect is
that for the years to follow, we have a generation of people who
understand the implications of electing an uneducated hick. Electing
Kerry might fix a lot of the things in the short term, but the long
term complacency would still be there. The reaction is proportional to
the size of the harm, and I think Bush will happily act as the type of
catalyst Nixon was.

cranked out at 6:45 PM | |

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