Bummer

I took the morning off yesterday – my second day at my new job – to drive to Denver to vote. It was another hour in line, this time in an elementary school. Kids went by in lines, some whispering ‘Kerry Kerry Kerry’ quietly as they went by. I had to cast a provisional ballot, but I hoped that my persistence would prove symbolic of many others like me. I’ve never voted for the winning presidential candidate, because I’ve always insisted that voting against your own values just to support a more popular candidate is perverse and wrong. This year, however, I changed my tune. George Dubya Bush has offended me and the things I value enough that I determined it was more important to vote against him than to vote in favor of the candidate who best represents my values.

Alas, this morning Dubya is claiming victory. I believe his campaign strategy was based largely on repetition of hypocritical and misleading statements. It’s a powerful technique, especially with a mass media that takes one repetition and multiplies it endlessly. Of course it’s only one facet of an ugly and nauseating campaign, but the one that sticks with me, especially when I remember some of Bush’s contrary repetitions from the last election (remember the attacks on nation building? the promises to shun arrogance in foreign policy?). So we have proof that appealing to ignorance, credulity, and fear is a winning tactic in our current atmosphere. As our prize, we get to find out where four more years of deficit spending and holy war will take us.

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12 thoughts on “Bummer

  1. Hi Dylan&Ann,
    Back in Silver City just in time to cast my vote. Agree wholeheartedly with you re’ our current admin. The bile continues to rise. Congratulations on new position. Down the road.

  2. I’ve always been glad to be an American, especially having grown up in Zaire. Today, I’m ashamed and sad for the first time.

  3. Amen, Amen, Amen! I can’t believe how over half of this country has allowed itself to be dupped. America has gone insane. I felt like Ann. Wished I was in Australia or New Zealand. As I’ve said many times, “This ain’t my daddy’s Republican Party”. -wdr

  4. Hey Dylan and Ann,

    A lot of Americans are dumbed down, but not as many as this
    election makes it look like. For Julie and I, there has
    only been one issue for the last three years — the
    electronic voting machines, paid for by the
    Republican-written “Help America
    Vote Act” big rush to the e-vote, which makes the
    old election tricks to change the vote (throw the boxes in
    the river) look cute compared to its possibilities. We
    fought this in CA and partly won when our secretary of
    state insisted on paper trails.

    They are all (all four major e-vote machine companies) made by extreme right-wing theocratic “Christians” who are now only
    one election (2006) and five votes in the senate from turning
    this country into some sort of religio-corporate fascism. If
    they
    had done it all this election, it would have been too obvious,
    but there hasn’t been an honest election in this country for
    eight yrs — maybe there never has been — but this time the
    thieves are primarily and clearly on one side. Do your web
    research, it is all over the blogs — even a CNN poll showed
    that 13% believe this election was as stolen as the last one.

    Right now I am looking at http://bushout.blogspot.com/ and http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1106-30.htm, but I have
    looked at many sites last few days. Of course blackboxvoting.org
    and Bev Harris was the one that first truly alerted us to
    the genuine danger.

    So screw all the bullshit about how this happend and that
    happened, and let us all focus on ONE THING NOW — GETTING
    these zealots who are upset that AIDS really didn’t
    wipe out every gay soul and THEIR COMPANIES OUT OF THE VOTING BUSINESS. Absolutely nothing else we do will
    matter at all until this is handled. And it is going to
    be hard to handle, even with a lot of hard facts, because the
    courts — well, you know … folks we are in big trouble
    but this is the one and only place to start and I really do
    not want to hear about anything else until these companies
    are OUT and our democracy is no longer in the hands of fanatics
    who CONTROL THE VOTE.

    This is not bombast or rant, it is how it is, and you will
    know it once you study it, but do not study for too long, we
    need to act. If we do not get these companies out, the only
    other thing left is going to be out-hacking them, that is not
    an election, it is a war, but maybe not so destructive as the
    last civil war.

    Politics really does give me a headache, but here we are
    and it is real, and little as I am
    interested in political activity at all, we gotta get on it.
    At least the goal is very simple straightforward obvious.
    (If you want the real story on the Bush family, check out
    whiterosesociety.org.) It is truly time to WAKE UP — it may
    already be too late, but it would be best way to live,
    methinks, not to assume that and do nothing.

    Agree with your Mom, OF COURSE on the new job, and it
    really does sound right. Happy for both of you!

    Peace, Love, and Liberty,

    julie and michael
    ps — please note added email address; still using
    jbmblove@yahoo.com mostly. Both checked regularly. Gmail
    is easier for an ongoing conversation, it files you mail
    in conversation threads.

  5. Hi Kids,
    Glad to see you all getting along.

    Instead of blaming the Republicans and the press or the “dumbing down” or whatever, use the left side a little and wonder why the DNC can’t get their act together enough to field a candidate good enough to beat an incumbent that virtully gave away the presidency.

    I went through the heartland for three weeks in Oct visiting relatives. Spoke to a lot of folks, I’d say about 50/50 Democrates and Republicans. These are all older thoughtful types, I thought most could articulate their reasons for either choice. They certainly were not “dumb”.

    I’ve noticed this tendency of the far left to call their political opposites “dumb”. There’s plenty of analysis pieces by left wing commentators saying this in as many ways as they can think up. This is surely a sign the Left has lost the debate. And it’s incredibly ego-centric. I think some folks realize THEY THEMSELVES are hopeless and plan to move to Canada. The others are beating a dead donkey. Walt said it’s not his father’s Republican party anymore, well it’s not his father’s Democratic party either! Of course Walt wants to move somewhere else, but he won’t.

    So maybe after wallowing in denial for a while you all might get your act together and see what are the new little features of the D party that have made it apparently the longterm minority party.

    Love,
    Randy
    (tested and certified (HA HA) middle of the road, on the fence, looking right, left, but not up and down)

  6. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to weigh in more on this topic – I’ve been quite busy.

    I agree with Randy that throwing insults back and forth gets us nowhere, and that trying to understand people’s perspectives is a better strategy. That said, I feel like I’m a long way from understanding many Bush supporters. As just one example, the Newsweek poll in which 44% of people stated that they believe Saddam Hussein was DIRECTLY involved in planning the 9/11 attacks stunned me, when Bush’s own commission concluded otherwise. I wouldn’t call those 44% dumb, but maybe misinformed? I think that fact that Bush almost always mentions 9/11 when justifying the war in Iraq has a lot to do with those results.

    I’m only too aware that many of my beloved family and friends are Bush supporters, as are many of the people who have shown me great kindness in my travels. I won’t insult them wholesale, but I sometimes despair in trying to understand them.

  7. Dylan, I think you got the wrong Randy. Randy my brother wouldn’t refer to Walt, he doesn’t know Walt….I think we’re hearing from Randy from Ridgecrest here…

  8. Hey Dylan, Comment #6 was from me! Sorry about that, I didn’t think there would be a mix up – I hope you are still kind to my opinons :^) I wished the best of luck to the other Randy.

    I think fixating on particular anomallies, like that particular question in that particular Newsweek poll isn’t that helpful – look at the goofy stuff the left thowes out all the time. You are being selectively critical. I think if you take an average Democrate (voted against Bush) and an average Republican (voted for Bush) you’ll come up with about the same amount of bias, ignorance, informance, etc. Of course, the details won’t be the same, and I think that’s what throws you and a lot of other imformed better than the average but still biased people off. You might try being scientific about it to isolated your bias – but hey, I don’t know about you but I’d rather have some fun.

    I don’t claim to be all that well informed, but I am well informed enough to know that the propagation of news, polls, statistics always, always has a slant. And it’s almost always to the left. It’s really institutional. Studies conducted by left leaning academics conclude even Fox and Drudge are left of center, because of the overwhelming left bias of the news sources. I don’t think it is any secert that the MSM tried really hard to get Bush out. I think this media bias creates an objectivity problem for left leaning people

    I tend to vote Republican. Mostly because they have been the minority party for so long. I want things balanced, I don’t think it’s good to swing too far either way. I might have voted against Bush but I just couldn’t vote for Kerry, or for that matter the Democratic party being the way they are now. I think the Democratic party has grave political problems, and they’ve put off solving them too long already.

  9. Ah! Ok, that comment is a little less surprising coming from that Randy, but my response is the same! My apologies for the mixup.

    I agree, there is rampant ignorance in both parties. The party with the most effective mass-manipulation techniques seems to win, and the Republicans seem to be hitting some effective ones. I would like to see the Libertarian party do better, but they have no good mass-manipulation tools going for them.

    Anyway, you and Michael both hit on the real question – is it worth making our lives intolerable with this muck when we could be having fun? Only if there is some effective action to take. I’m not at all interested in debating bias unless it’s affecting something I’m going to do. Things have swung far enough away from my comfort zone to do something, but I don’t know what yet.

  10. Indeed! From my viewpoint this angst is a lot like what conservative Republicans expressed with the reelection of Clinton. It’s whinning, but in the end life goes on.

    I don’t really think its a matter of “mass manipulation”, it’s a more fundamental issue – there existed a lot of people who think and see things differently than you do that got out and voted. It’s not one issue that did it, it’s a fabric of issues. The evolution (progressification?) of the Democratic Party is the cause of their own downfall because it has activated many conservative people. You don’t have to like it, but for practical reasons, you have to recognize it.

    I think it’s a little pathetic, this desire to talk about running away, because one election didn’t go to Kerry. I think if someone wants to leave the U.S., for whatever reason, they should just go. Why talk about it like it’s some big deal THEY are leaving. Who cares? Politics isn’t pretty, and maybe some of the things the Democratic Party has to do will be seen by some as going backwards, but out of office is out of power.

  11. I can’t agree that mass-manipulation doesn’t play a big role in these campaigns. Call mass-appeal if you want, but it’s built in to democracy. Campaign consultants know that you don’t appeal to masses by presenting a logical approach to a “fabric of issues.” It’s much more effective to degrade your opponent (without regard to facts), make yourself appear strong and your opponent weak, appeal to fear, appeal to intolerance, and try to get people to relate to you as a father figure. Both parties tried to do all these things, but Bush did it better. I think if a candidate can do these things, their stances on the issues and the integrity of their claims don’t really matter.

    Anyway, I’m not talking about leaving, but I’d like to look for alternatives to the ‘grin and bear it’ approach to being a minority.

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