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.