November 10, 2004

Why W?

The 2004 election was a bonanza for the neo-conservative agenda. Last week, 51 percent of American voters gave George W. Bush his first-ever mandate and Republicans galore won other races. The message resounded across the country: Americans are united in promoting the most divisive issues of our time.

How did this happen? The Democrats ran a fantastic campaign. The convention rocked, the candidates were rhetorically strong, past mistakes were avoided and people of all stripes liked John Kerry. Ralph Nader voters this year presumably all pulled up in the same Volkswagen Beetle, so spoiler candidates weren’t a problem. The escalating failures all over the world didn’t help either. People everywhere were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. But then this. So, Bush voters, my question to you is, “Why W?”

Was it peer pressure? If you’re getting your information from 1) your parents, 2) your preacher or 3) Fox News, then you really need to question that. How many times do I need to hear that Bush “has the terrorists on the run” because of his “courage of conviction?” On the whole, very few Bush supporters give off the impression that they form their opinion from anything beyond GOP talking points.

Is it because you believe in staying the course? Unswerving resolve is not a virtue when careening toward a tree at 90 m.p.h. Not that Bush hasn't changed his mind many, many times anyway. Witness the ever-changing motives for the Iraq War, the conflicting messages Bush and Dick Cheney gave during the campaign and Bush's ever-changing shift on politics when personal interests are involved. But Kerry, now there was a flip-flopper!

The president is a man of prayer, you say. Why is Bush given a free pass just because he claims to be a man of faith, especially when his rabid support for war and the death penalty proves otherwise? How can anyone see Bush be a Christian man of peace instead of what he really is, a televangelist? Don’t forget that, in their 1980s heyday, televangelists were self-righteous people who got busted for being incredibly pompous hypocrites. But now they’re running the place! Eighties retro, while great for music and movies, has been disastrous for politics.

Eleven states held ballots on gay marriage—the same provision that has already been declared unconstitutional in Louisiana. Nothing’s better for bringing out the religious-right voters than a ballot that plays on their fears and prejudices. If your vote is based on abstract moral issues instead of the war, the economy, education and taxes, then your priorities are skewed. Is it safe to assume that you will have no problem with four more years of increased war, a possible draft, more PATRIOT-Act-style oppression, economic disaster, stratospheric gas prices and deaths galore, just as long as gays stay unmarried?

Americans are simply too self-centered. We turn a blind eye to pain, suffering and injustice as long as things are going just fine for ourselves. But even if we’re doing terribly, our leaders convince us that everything’s just dandy. Why else would small business owners, working folks and religious people vote Republican? People will do anything to convince themselves that they are fine, and admitting problems takes that security away from them. This is keeping us from actually solving our problems.

Until that half of America comes to its senses, we will work harder than ever to keep our leaders’ feet to the fire. Nothing will get past us. We will give credit where it’s due, and blame where it belongs. We will not let the far right destroy this country.

I’m Ian McGibboney and I approved this message.

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