Well, Bush won another term. I can't say I'm especially dejected, having known all along that my guy wasn't going to win it and that I wouldn't like whoever did. However, among the liberals and Kerry supporters of E2 and elsewhere, I'm picking up a lot of wailing and rending of garments and gnashing of teeth and whatnot - does the electorate even realize the weight of what it's done, the ultimate and irreversible betrayal of all that America stands for, the deliberate plunging of the world into darkness and chaos and nightmare?!

Well, to my liberal friends convinced that this is the end of western civilization, I have this to offer: put yourself in the place of a Republican under FDR's administration.

His feelings are your feelings. His mind is your mind. His opinions are your opinions.

Oooohm.

Oooohm.

Okay, there we go. Now let's glance around and see how things look. Hmm, not too good. The economy's for shit and the president you hate is running a stimulus program that hasn't fixed things and is probably making things worse. He's trying pretty hard to stack the Supreme Court his way to eliminate the last check on the implementation of his unconstitutional policies.

He "suggests" that the country is in a state of crisis equivalent to war, and in order to deal with the situation, it is necessary to cede to him broad, unprecedented discretionary power. You need to trust him to do what is necessary, he says. But like hell you will - as far as you can tell, he's turning the government over to an ideology you find repulsive and fear will undermine the free society you enjoy and completely destroy the nation you love.

He's hell-bent on leading the country into war, against some bad people admittedly, but on the behalf of some pretty unsavory allies, with no direct benefit to the national interest, and no guarantee that things will be any better afterwards.

When the nation suffers a surprise attack, it doesn't blame him for the intelligence failure, but allows him to use the event as a catalyst to send ground troops to fight someone else altogether, a fight he'd clearly been itching to start for a while.

As this war goes on, he acts to prevent the media from publishing photos of casualties for fear that it will undermine support for the war, and meanwhile detains and imprisons scores of US citizens and resident aliens without due process, mostly on the basis of their ethnic background.

Through all this, large swaths of the media are uncritical or even boosterish, and he is reelected by substantial margins, in large part by playing to the fear and the emotions of the uneducated. How can they be so short-sighted? How can they be so gullible? How can they be so stupid?!

Okay, now when I snap my fingers, come back out, okay?

::snap::

Okay, take a minute to get your bearings again, I'll wait.

Now, what have we learned?

It's not the end of the world if the guy you don't like is president, even if you think he's misguided, sneaky, sinister, or just reallllly evil. One of the main strengths of a constitutional republic is that, for all its faults, it's fairly resilient, and in any case, he'll eventually be out of office (you even have the benefit of a guarantee this'll be his last term). If you work on your message and your machine, there's a reasonable chance that some day you'll be the one up there with a significant chunk of the country hating your guts.

It won't be easy - it might take a while, and you might have to make some compromises, and you might have to soldier on as an object of derision and mockery for a while, but if you put in some effort, you can do it. The nation won't wake up one day and repudiate everything your object of spite did. He might even go down in the books as a hero, at least for a while. Who knows? But with pluck and luck, you can win people over and bend the beam of progress back in your favored direction. And, in the meanwhile, life will mostly go on.

The sky isn't falling.

Dear Everythingians;

I want to thank you all for a great couple of years. I’ve learnt and taken a lot from my time here at E2, and I’d like to think that I’ve managed to contribute back at least a few worthwhile nodes that have added to the nodegel in some useful way. I’m looking forward to The New E2, when or if it ever arrives. I think it would be a positive direction for the site and the noding community to take. Originally, I disliked the idea of applying an extra system of hoops to jump through in order to publish, but on reflection it can only serve to improve the quality of work that E2 can produce. And that’s got to be a good thing – right? You guys kick ass.

It’s not easy being surrounded by so many writers and thinkers of such intelligence, creativity and value, but the E2 community has never failed to be supportive and friendly, and you should all be proud of what’s here. Not many other disparate groups – online or off – share the same kinds of bonds and relationships that blossom here. I’m sure you all have your favourite noders, someone you feel has changed the site, the community and perhaps even your life. I do. You – the regular noders and readers of E2 - have been a great community to hover on the periphery of. Thank you.

BuffcorePhil is skipping off into the sunset, though. You can keep my writeups for the good of the database, if you want to keep them. I’ve weeded out most of the rubbish and just left behind what I’m proud of. They may be my words, but they equally belong to you, the community that grew them.

With love;
- Phil Cooper <sendphilmail@gmail.com>

 

I didn’t want to name names, but I want to heap extra love and thanks onto (in no particular order) Heisenberg, wertperch, yclept, Roninspoon, Aneurin, JohnnyGoodyear, ereneta, Ouroboros, lometa and momomom. You guys were just great.

HELLO WORLD

My election party was not party party fun fun. I had to keep telling Jeff and Brian to turn their frowns upside down. No one wanted to finish their cake because it was too rich and we were too low. The electorial maps were fun for a while, but then got frustrating. At one point, Jeff took sleepy sinus meds so that he would just fall asleep.

By the end of the evening I was exhausted. I slept soundly. And NPR couldn't even tell me who won this morning while gentlely pulling me from sleep.

I am not angry today, though. This could be the beginning of a new life for us all. No longer do we have to believe in America. There is no reason to live here. I have never been a patriot. I don't understand why some people love this country. I hate the pledge to the flag. But now, I have a reason. I can't imagine living in a world where half of my countrymen would vote for Bush.

So, Hello World.

Jeff and I argued in front of his work this morning about which countries are on the table for immigration. He wants Japan off the table. I want Canada off the table. But, really, I want the world on the table. Give me the world. I am not saying this with anger. I am saying this with hope. This election could change the course of my life. It could give me the freedom to consider not living here anymore. Of course, it could take time, years even, to plan to become a citizen of another country, but you know what? Watching these people vote for Bush has made me realize that I don't need America. I don't want to live among the religious right or anyone who thinks that God is more important than themselves. Or anyone who cares more for the unborn than the 5 years olds who need health care.

We talked a lot last night about what the Democrats will have to give up to take the country back. Abortion rights?, gay marriage?, blah blah. But you know what? Who cares. I don't need the Democrats. I don't need America. The world is full of other places where decent people live and take care of one another. The world is full of other places where birds fly and seasons change and people smile and cry and have babies and sing and dance. The world exists for me right now, more real than ever. This is not the rant of a sore loser, because I never cared for John Kerry. This is the rant of someone who is sick of seeing stupid people make terrible decisions based on nothing but fear.

So, hello world. I am happy to meet you.

Silver Lining

I'm still in shock.

I've been under a lot of stress in general, but now the dull fear of a Bush unfettered by re-election concerns is slowly bubbling up. It reminds me of 9/11 when the emotions started deep inside and matured slowly, revealing their pain like a giant pimple that you can feel days before it appears.

Mostly I can't understand how a whole lot of blustery rhetoric won over half the nation. Kerry was watered down, no doubt about it, but the way Bush spouted slogans instead of addressing issues was astonishing.

Look, I understand voting for Bush for any of the following reasons:

  • You're rich as hell.
  • For some reason you think gay people getting married is a major threat to life as we know it.
  • You believe abortion causes much more suffering and evil in the world than all the stuff grown humans do to each other.
  • You can't sleep at night thinking about all the stem cells being used for evil life-saving research instead of being thrown away to die as usually happens when things go wrong with a pregnancy.

At least, I feel any of those reasons put you in the extreme minority that I shouldn't have to worry about. But I suspect a great many people voted for something along the lines of:

Bush has just the kind of unflinching resolve needed to use our military might to squash terrorists and spread democracy.

I'm no conspiracy theorist. I know Bush & co. have their hearts in the right place. I'm even willing to overlook rampant cronyism as merely an ugly coincidence. The real danger is the belief that terrorism can be defeated with military force. See, military force works great against a localized enemy such as a country, or perhaps a bunch of terrorists in some caves, but it doesn't work so well against a movement.

Bush sees the war in very specific terms. There are some bad people called terrorists, whom we simply have to kill. Once they're dead only good people will be left and we can get back to the business of building wealth. Of course this all goes over great with the electorate because we can mix patriotism with rioteous indignation, feed it with an awesomely powerful military machine, and serve up the resulting 'Democracy Spread' safely on television in the comfort of our own homes. There's just one small problem:

Those pesky terrorists keep mixing with the civilian population causing collateral damage. Oops! All Arabs look the same to our smart bombs. Sorry guys, you understand we're just trying to kill the bad guys, right? Cool, now go back to rebuilding your homes while we fix the oil wells. If any insurgents hurt you just round 'em up, we'll be in this walled compound over here.

Agh! Now the terrorists are telling all kinds of lies about America to boost recruitment. Have they no shame? We were only trying to help the people, everything we do is for their own good! We can't be bad because America is founded on principles of goodness. Sorry bad things happened to you before, but we had nothing to do with it, badness is un-American!

Of course the real solution to terrorism would be to remove the rampant poverty and horrible conditions that give rise to it. But if we even suggested 50 years of mismanaged Middle-East policy might have something to do with why people there hate us then we'd just be pandering to terrorists. And we can never give in, so we have to use our overwhelming military force to crush them into compliance, just like Israel did to Palestine. You remember how great that worked out.

No, Americans have neither the interest nor the attention span to hear the real solution. It's not easy either. You're dealing with corrupt governments who have no particular interest in raising the people out of poverty. They are our proxys for getting the oil. They get to blame America for the people's woes, and we get a cut of the profits without having to risk our asses over there. Honestly there is not much we can do in the short term to remedy the situation, though we could begin by not starting ill-advised wars, getting thousands of civilians killed, and fueling the terrorist propaganda machine against America. We could begin by admitting past mistakes and starting to give Arabs the respect that all human beings deserve.

So, as guilty as I feel about my tax dollars going to invading Iraq, there is a silver lining. At least Bush will be held responsible for whatever happens next. Iraq is a quagmire, mostly due to a misguided belief that democracy springs forth from the barrel of a gun (so long as it's American). Now we are facing the prospect of doing all the hard work that should have been started on day one: training Iraqi security forces. If Kerry was in office he'd face a lot of criticism if things didn't improve fast, and that would likely lead to even greater right-wing fanaticism come 2008. For now I'm content for Bush to take the heat.

< _ >

It's raining outside, and it has been for a while. The asphalt is shining white.

Sometimes, like now, I leave Pat Metheny spinning and wonder why it feels so lonely to converse in English. This country so isolated within itself, only seeing itself, crying within itself. All day you hear people say 'hi how are you good thank you', and it's been eight years and I still haven't gotten over that. Still haven't gotten over the 'not my problem' syndrome. The 'go fix it yourself' ideals.

Surfing Korean blogs I can find people who live in the US, creating islands, talking, living, listening to good music and talking about soul and rhythm and choreography and art. Art. Expression. Something different, more full, more within.

In literature you always hear people talk about the inherent emptiness of the self. The unbearable lightness of being. Inevitable isolation. I wonder if this is strikingly Western, in the US and Europe and such; there are things in the East that are like that, but it's as if we have something that still fills us up. Don't leave your fingernails anywhere becuase foxes will eat them and turn into an impersonation of you. Get up in the subway for an elder. Don't kneel and bow two times because it symbolizes disrespect. Hold the soju glass with your right hand and drink swerving your body to the left.

Respect is one of those words that are so exotic from the western point of view, like Samurai or Ninja or Elders or Legend, translated into language are perfectly normal. Steak is one of those words that is so western from the eastern point of view, like bread or hip-hop or gang shootings or casual sex.

I don't know. What are you doing, how everyone likes to stay in isolated islands, briefly touching each other at short quiet tangents before launching again into personal voids? Why, can I ask, does the western world attribute the meaninglessness of human existence to the entire spread of humanity, regardless of whether or not it's true? What ego, I think.

You guys know, those among you who say 'country' and think 'the world'.

I've spent the past hour or so deliberating on whether or not I should respond to mat catastrophe. Everything is not a BBS, and frankly I feel like I'm being goaded; but daylogs tend to fall into a special category anyhow, and I might as well get some things off my chest. Again.

First of all, Mat, I realize you're talking about a variety of people, both here and elsewhere, so the parts that don't seem to apply to me at all I'll ignore. I don't especially blame the Democratic Party - which I'm not a member of - and I don't blame John Kerry, though I think that both he and the party could have done a better job selling his image to the voting public. My comment about secession was really more offhand than anything else. (I know it would never come to pass, and it's not really a solution anyway; furthermore, it would serve to make many people in those states feel as de facto disenfranchised as I do). As for immigrating, I've been thinking about that since long before this election, and not for purely political reasons (though those factor in). That said...

You seem to have two points: One is that it's somehow wrong to question the reasons that people voted for George W. Bush. The second is that voting is not enough.

I know there are plenty of intelligent conservatives out there. I may not agree with them, and I may not even like them, but it would be both foolhardy and insulting for me to pretend they don't exist. Believe me when I say that I wish I could believe that the majority of people who voted for Bush did so because after careful consideration of all the evidence, they concluded that he was the "best man for the job" and/or the candidate whose values were most aligned with their own. But that simply is not borne out by the facts.

Have a gander at PIPA's October 21st Report on the viewpoints of Bush and Kerry supporters. The numbers are appalling. 57% of Bush supporters believe that the Duelfer report concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. 56% believe the 9/11 Commission Report concluded that Saddam Hussein had close ties to al-Qaeda. 26% believe the majority of the world supports the war in Iraq, 42% believe it is evenly divided. 57% believe that the majority of the world wanted Bush to win the election. (To be fair, substantial minorities of Kerry supporters apparently believe a lot of these things as well, proving ignorance is indeed bipartisan; however, the numbers are significantly lower than for Bush supporters.)

What I find most astonishing is the beliefs Bush supporters seem to have about their own candidate's views. 69% of Bush supporters believe he supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. 51% believe he supports the Kyoto Protocols. 72% believe he supports the treaty banning landmines. 53% believe he is in favor of the International Criminal Court. And a whopping 74% believe he favors including environmental and labor standards in our trade agreements. (This all led one political cartoonist recently to suggest other reasons people may be voting for Bush - for instance, the fact that he invented pasteurization and is the lead singer of Jimmy Eat World.)

Now, maybe those statistics are wrong. Maybe they're biased. Maybe half of the supposed "Bush supporters" were really members of a vast left-wing conspiracy intended to make conservatives look foolish. I don't know. What I do know is that they seem to agree with experiences that I and many other people I've talked to have had. And that frightens me in ways you cannot imagine. Given those statistics, what would you conclude about a large percentage of the people who just re-elected the guy?

Now then, as for the contention that voting, by itself, is not a sufficient act. You may be right. But what would you have people do? Protest? I think I can count the number of protests that have achieved anything on a single hand's fingers. There's Gandhi, the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, apartheid... and that's about it. And in each case, changes occurred not because they had changed anybody's mind, but because those in power realized that there was enough public sentiment in favor of the protesters' cause to give them serious trouble. The vast majority of protests do not have enough. Volunteering? Well, maybe. But again, I don't see that changing many minds; and regardless, what about those of us who, frankly, aren't really represented?

I am not a Republican or a Democrat. Only 32% of Americans - regardless of their official party affiliation - profess a strong preference for either party. (You'll have to take that on faith for now - I don't have the source handy at the moment.) What are the rest of us to do?

The most I can say about the Democratic Party is that, between it and the Republicans, I find it less objectionable. There are people in it that I genuinely agree with on a lot of issues, but they are in the minority. Suppose I support gay marriage. What party represents me? If you say the Republicans, then you are probably one of the people PIPA polled. If you say the Democrats, then you're not entirely wrong, but you're not right either - at best, the Democratic Party supports civil unions, and I believe that support is shaky at best. How about a less controversial topic: What party do I pick if I want a truly free market? (I don't, but bear with me here.) Both parties endorse the subsidizing of various industries, tariffs on various products, and so on. One might promote lower taxes than the other, or decrease regulation, but its views are still not anywhere close to mine. I could pick the Libertarian Party, I suppose, but given the structure of our electoral system they have a snowball's chance in hell of winning anything.

In almost any other democratic nation in the world, I could find a political party that (regardless of my opinions) would (while certainly not matching my views perfectly)come close enough that I didn't feel like I was being ignored - and more to the point, one that would have a legitimate chance at obtaining at least some power. (Canada, incidentally, is not one of these.)

But I'm straying from my point, which is that for many people, there really isn't much we can do other than vote that will have even the tiniest impact on political matters. Maybe I'm just being cynical, I don't know. But if I'm right, why should I stay where I'm not wanted? Where my opinion doesn't matter? Because that's how I feel about my metro area, my state, and increasingly, my country.

An Outsiders view

Well the American Electorate has spoken, and sometimes you just got to speak on these things. I'm scared and I'm angry, in fact I'm pretty furious with the American Electorate and I admit I will find it hard to forgive them. You hear the same speech every day over here:

"The American Presidential election is too important to leave up to the Americans"

And we hear it over and over again because its true. When the Americans have a multi-lateralist in charge then its fine, we can work with them and accept that at the table they always get dealt a few extra cards, its an accident of history and everyone's got to work with it. But when America has a unilateralist then it becomes insane, because America can act like it has a veto on all world political decisions, and under Bush it has exercised that again and again. I kind of imagine they treat the UN and NATO like Congress. I'm sure New York must feel the same as Washington to Bushy-boy; Whole world wants a criminal court? Veto. Whole world wants an environmental treaty? Veto. Whole world wants a consensus before you act on Iraq? Tough shit world, we're the executive branch.

And at the same time America honestly seems to have fallen behind the rest of the planet. The death penalty is vanishing from huge swathes of the world. Turkey: you want into the EU? You know what you have to do... Russia: yes we're turning back to authoritarianism, but state sponsored killing? And I see a government that has run its campaign on an almost exclusively nationalist ticket. And that scares me more than anything else, because I thought we learnt our lesson about nationalism as a driving force in politics in 1939.

So while I stand here and list my heros, where America is massively over-represented (Richard P. Feynman, Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemingway) I am trying really hard to console myself to the fact that the country that has been the worlds creative powerhouse since the end of The Great War has become an international despot throwing a spanner into every attempt to make sense of the worlds problems. And the real problem now is that that the people have spoken, they have given a mandate to this activity. And when the people give a mandate to nationalism I feel no recourse but hate. I hate the people of Texas, I hate the people of The South. I hate anyone who voted for nationalism and fear.

And this election drives home how screwed up the constitution is. The constitution and the electoral college forces two party politics upon the people, and because two party politics always ends up being about tax this means they end up with a party of the left and a party of the right. How in this world, where liberalism used to mean the writings of John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith can the word "Liberal" come to mean "left" the way it has in America? The Democrats are dead in the water when all the divisions of the left have to pretend they are one party (Left Liberals, Left Statist, Social Democrats, Socialists, Organised Labour, Communists, Left Libertarians, Environmentalists) because they aren't. But the right can always unite around the flag and low taxation, whoever they are. The constitution is the country, and America as a country is sick. The only cure is a loss of power...

So I say this with a heavy heart: I hope the economy goes down the toilet. I hope domestic strife rips the country apart, basically I am praying that America as a country dies..

I realise this rant won't earn me any friends, but I am scared for the world, it feels like 1934 to me but there are no Allies to stand up to the fascists.

To the people of the North-east and West Coast: I love you guys, fight the power!

Please America, give me a reason to respect you again! FIGHT THE POWER!

During the run-up to this election, UK media showed us many clips and soundbites of people emphatically committed to voting against Bush (though not so much for Kerry): angry Floridians eager to avenge their disenfranchisement, Miami first time voters determined to end the trade embargo on Cuba, anti-war left-wingers from San Francisco and New York, and many more. The one thread that ran through the characterisitcs of all these disparate pepole - other than the obvious, their electoral choice - was that many of them belonged to what can be described as a minority. Cultural, ethnic, religious or racial, the minority groups were taken for granted by UK media to be anti-Bush.

Now I am of course prepared to accept the fact that this is simply wrong, and that there are many AM's, Catholics and young urbanites who endorsed Bush in this election. Based ont he exit poles, however, this seems to be unlikely, which leads me to a conclusion that is only surprising in that, being so obvious, it had neve occured to me before.

The US is simply not the homogenous melting pot that it likes to think of itself as being. Yes, there are many different kinds of people in the US, of different backgrounds, religions and colours, but they are, in the fundamentally factual as well as the political sense, minorities. White, Anglo-Saxon (and probably Germanic, in the Mid-West), Protestant Americans are the majority, and what they want is a WASP President. This is what they've just been given.

Now, I happen to strongly disagree with them on the merits of this president, and I think they've just done their country and the world a huge disservice. But one really cannot blame an electorate for choosing a candidate who represents them, now can one? Not just their views or their interests, but them. This is the majority getting what the majority wants, and arrogant posturing about the stupidity of the American public is really not a very good reflection on the democratic credentials of my fellow European observers. We just have to admit to ourselves that America is a country with a very different ethnic and ideological demographic than what we have been used to think - that the invisible masses of the Midwest, those that do not feature in Hollywood films and cop shows, are massive indeed.

The question now remains how do we here in the rest of the so-called Free World prevent our immediate futures being influenced or even dictated by George W. Bush - because we bloody well did not vote for him!

I hear the cries of America.

The bitter sarcastic smiles of candidates remind me that sarcasm originally meant 'to rip flesh'. The harsh and harmful tooth-and-claw rhetoric and neo-machoistic posturing have cut America deeply, and the partisan hatred they have both sprung from and birthed bleeds in my soul and causes me to ache, when I can feel the pain beneath the waves of apathetic numbness, what America is, deep down, beneath all the spin and the bullshit.

I am a Quaker, a member of a proud religious society whose central doctrines of equality helped form the American Dream, a church that was there in the beginning, trying to broker a peaceful existence with the native inhabitants of this continent, and a church that has never stopped fighting for the freedom of each and every person in this country. I am also from Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence itself was signed, a city slowly dying from the poisons that slide through America's blood. I am descended from both Republicans and Democrats in my heritage. I am descended from farmers and teachers, factory workers, homemakers and businessmen, and I am more proud that words can say to be able to count them all among my forebears. Almost everything I am I can count as coming from my American heritage. I love that dream, but, in the immortal words of a non-American, I am not the only one.

Every American knows what it is to love America, that fiery mix of emotions that comes only out of the most passionate relationships. Every American also knows that buried deep in the heart of that love is the single word Freedom. America was founded by those men and women who left their homes because they wanted something that they couldn't find where they lived, and their dream called out to the world, still pulling the best, the brightest, and, most importantly, the most independent people of the world to its shores to this day. We all understand that America weeps when her people are not free, and that she does not long tolerate the oppression of her people, especially from within.

How is it then, when we all feel the same love, that we are so divided against each other? Are we jealous lovers who seek to take all of America's gift of freedom for ourselves, or have we just begun to forget our lover's face after too many hours at the office, too much time away from the marriage to the land that was consummated for most of us at birth. Yes, I think we have begun to forget her whom we should never forget, and now, just now her cries are becoming loud enough to remind us that we have left her all alone in agony.

It is not enough to say you love America; the word love becomes diluted when it is not tied to action. We must take time to remember our lover, to look upon her face and remember what it was about her smile that caught our hearts the very first time. We must remember how to practice freedom.

Freedom is at its root the capacity to do, moreover to be, anything. A freedom that is built upon restriction is a lie and cannot stand against itself. Nevertheless left to our own devices, we who are free will use our freedom to restrict the freedom of others. We may be imperfect in this regard, but our country does not have to bear the brunt of it. Legislation through restriction has lead us to the place we are now: alone, angry, and unsure exactly why except that someone else must be at fault for our condition. Legislation through freedom however, the principle upon which our country was built, ensures that when an individual acts to preserve the freedom of another, he acts to preserve the freedom of himself.

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal," does not mean that all people are created with the same socioeconomic background, creed, color, gender, or sexual orientation. It does not mean that all people will receive the same lucky breaks in life, nor does it mean even that all people will choose to follow the path of true freedom. What it means is that every person is endowed with the right to life, and the right to freedom. What it means is that every person you have walked past today, this week, for the whole of your life, is as much of a person as you are, has as much of a story as you do, and is as free to her thoughts, opinions, and actions as you are.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties used to be defined in terms of political beliefs instead of moral ones. Maybe there was a time in between now and then, when a person joined a political party because they identified with whatever beliefs that party upheld. If there was, it was before my lifetime. The Democrats of my generation are only Democrats because they know for certain that they don't agree with the morals espoused by members the Republican party. Likewise, the Republicans are mostly so because they are genuinely afraid of the damage they could do to this country.

It is time to start defining ourselves in terms of what we believe instead of what we do not. Defining yourself in terms of what you are not only fosters hatred, and hatred is the true enemy of freedom. It is time to think and think hard about who you are and what you believe, and to believe it without paying attention to who might not believe the same as you. The true birthright of America is this very freedom and we are squandering it by paying so much attention to everyone else. We all have common ground. We can find it if we start figuring out just what ground we stand on before we start marking borders.

Yesterday was a SuperBad Day. In many ways.


Bad Things

Apart from re-electing the most divisive, incompetent, lying, dangerous administration since Ming the Merciless took over Mongo, 11 states voted for marriage to be strictly defined as being between a man and a woman - in other words, most definitely not between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Banning gay marriage was vital to "protect the sanctity of marriage", apparently. Presumably voting will soon take place to ban divorce, frivolous 24-hour celebrity marriages, and Las Vegas. That such a vote even took place staggers me. That it passed just makes me even more depressed. A gay couple expressing their love for each other does not harm your marriage in any way, unless one of them is your former spouse, lured away by the evil gay's sneaky homo-charms.

Republicans increased their numbers in the US Senate, including such cuddly old fuddy duddies as Tom Coburn, who believes that abortion doctors should be executed (pro-life, eh?), and Jim DeMint, who believes that single pregnant women and homosexuals are not fit to be schoolteachers (but apparently bigoted, narrow-minded idiots are perfectly fit to be senators).

Bush now has another four years to mangle the constitution, give more tax cuts and war tenders to his rich friends, and start more wars that the US can neither afford nor get out of cleanly. To all those offering historical comparisons, and so on - puhlease... Bush is not FDR. Saddam is not Hitler. FDR didn't support Hitler, help him get started off, and sell him weapons and gas chambers to kill Jews with. FDR didn't start off with a huge budget surplus, and turn it into a massive deficit - he inherited a terrible economy, and turned it around, doing a lot of good work. FDR believed in peace, in working with the world to eliminate poverty and war - Bush believes that would be giving into terrorists. Nobody blamed FDR for Pearl Harbor, because he didn't spend 3 years using it in speeches and campaign adverts as proof that he was keeping the country safe. Bush and company completely ignored quite specific warnings about 9/11. FDR didn't attack someone else altogether for no reason, those countries were working together in the war, and were quite clear about it. And the Japanese internment was as wrong then as Guantanamo Bay is now. The differences between World War 2 and the Iraq war are so staggeringly huge, I'm insulted that you would even try to justify it that way. "Ooh, this situation sounds a bit like that other one, if you phrase it properly - therefore it is exactly the same." Sure it is.

Kerry conceded, despite promising that every single vote would be counted. I realise it was highly probably that he would have lost Ohio anyway. But I wanted all the votes counted. He promised they would all be counted. After Florida in 2000, we all expected all the votes to be counted. You let them pressure you into conceding. Shame on you.

There was only a 10% turnout of 18-24 year olds eligible to vote. Fair enough, I guess the election doesn't affect you either way, right? Right. Have fun in Iraq, kids. Watch out for those 380 tons of explosives that were stolen thanks to the administration's lack of foresight. By the way, good job on spinning that one - first they weren't there, then they were, then the Russians took them, then Saddam hid them, then they were never there, then they were but we took them, now they're saying that the place was overrun with looters. Another week, and nobody will remember the story at all.

I gave up on politics yesterday. After everything that's happened - all the lies and corruption that have been exposed, after two wars, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the torture (or abuse), ignoring all the warning signs of 9/11, the stonewalling of the 9/11 commission, the god-complex, the surplus that became the largest annual deficit in US history, the millions of jobs lost, the Patriot Act, the WMD lies, the over 1000 troops killed and the cut in pay for veterans and active troops, the 10-15,000 Iraqi casualties, the "bring it on", the laws amending the constitution, even after looking and acting like a shaved monkey in the debates compared to Kerry - Bush still got the majority vote. Barring voting-machine fraud on a massive scale, of course, which I'm not ruling out, but something tells me that no, lots of people didn't care about any of that unpleasant stuff, they just went and voted for the man who would protect the sanctity of their marriage from the evil gays, or genuinely believed he would keep them safe from terrorists, or believed he was the stronger leader. I'm amazed that anyone would want him staggering through the Oval Office, representing their country, I really am. So I've had enough. I want nothing more to do with political protests or activism. There's clearly no point. The bad guys win, the innocent keep getting killed, and nobody gives a damn about the ordinary people of the world. You want Bush in charge? Fine. Happy birthday. I'd say "on your heads be it", but most of you didn't even vote for him, and anyway, it'll be on all of our heads, really. So, to those of you who voted for Bush - thanks. Thanks a lot.

Come to think of it, I've lost any enthusiasm for voting, too. Here in the UK, it's Labour or nothing. The Tories are the same as Labour, only more incompetent. The Liberal Democrats will never, ever get in. Neither will anyone else. Labour seems to be a carbon copy of the Tories. I find myself in arguments with strong right wingers here, who are defending Blair and his policies. That's all wrong. I'm supposed to be defending the looney left and their unrealistic naive promises, you're supposed to be justifying the evil right and their warmongering, privatising, bloated agendas. It's all gone horribly, horribly wrong.


Good Things

The stem cell initiative passed in California - $3 billion of funding for something that could help cure diseases. A very, very Good Thing.

There was a massive voter turnout. Still way below what it should be, but it was higher than it's been since 1968. It didn't go the way I wanted, but at least a hell of a lot more people came out to vote.

The turnout was still lower than it should be - reports say turnout was 70-80%. If it was 75%, then effectively, only 37.5% of all registered voters voted for Bush. Taking into account the number of people who are of voting age but did not register, the figure drops even lower. Same goes for Kerry, of course, but Bush cannot in any way claim to have won in a landslide. Bush got 59,108,395 votes (as of Wednesday 3rd 2004). Yes, it was more than any president in history - but Kerry got 55,554,114 votes, which is also more votes than any president in history. Just think about that. John Kerry got more votes than any president in history. It doesn't feel like such a loss that way.

At least it's over. And the catbox, hopefully, will have a lot less election talk. I'm sorry if I contribute to more of it, but hey, some of you can't help making fools of yourselves, and sometimes I just have to jump in (and will probably continue to do so). But for now, you can go back to the boobies/monkey chat, or simply talk incessantly about yourself if that's your particular thing.

Bush and company will now have to clean up their own mess. Whatever happens in the next four years, they can't blame it on Clinton anymore, whether it's the war or the economy or whatever. And they will most definitely have to clean it up. Even they can't leave Iraq in ruins for another four years, and surely our soldiers will be coming home sometime before then. Also, it would be quite nice if Bin Laden - the guy responsible for 9/11, let's not forget, and not Saddam Hussein - was captured and tried in public. Although Bush said he doesn't really care about him anymore, so that may not happen. And let's not forget all the unpleasant, unpopular stuff that's been pushed back or won't be ready until after the election, which will all start coming out in the wash - a CIA report on 9/11 that apparently names names, which was written in June but suppressed; the Valerie Plame investigation; the Abu Ghraib court martials; more tax cuts for the rich; the no-bid contracts for Halliburton and their ilk; possibly a draft - it's all starting to unravel. And I will greatly enjoy watching their faces as they try to lie their way out of all of this. Because a day will come when they just can't wriggle their way out of it, it'll all get too big to plausibly deny. And on that day, we'll be coming for them, with handcuffs and eviction notices.

And last, but by no means least, Barack Obama became a senator. If I have any hope left for American politics, it lies in the heart of this man.

I had a lot of little ideas for a daylog, but couldn't decide on one, so I'll do them all. Cheers.

  • It's weird watching somebody get fired. Yesterday one of my coworkers, we'll call him Jim, called in sick. And he really was sick. Later my boss was at Jim's computer, having a mild, non-heated argument with my other coworker about a new person he'd hired. I was only half-paying attention, as I was quite busy at the time. All of a sudden my boss is bringing up his IM client, which Jim stupidly had set to login on start-up, and starts reading his IMs -- aloud!. Bossman starts talking about reformatting his machine, changing passwords, then it hits me: Jim's getting shit-canned! And it had been planned for quite some time. Usually I can see the writing on the walls, at it were, but this one blind sighted me. And it was worse for Jim, obviously. The boss broke it to him not-so-gently on his cell phone later that day. Hearing him make that call was painful. I can imagine how much more painful it was for Jim. And Jim's a good guy and I liked working with him. I had no idea that he wasn't good enough for my boss.
  • Ah, the sun's out! Sunlight! I haven't seen it since before Halloween! It's been rainy and dreary here for quite some time. Don't you just love that feeling of being bathed in sunlight after a significant period of time without it?
  • Here's a scary thought it appears that nobody else has considered but me: if America is still pretty much embroiled in Iraq in four years, or (sheesh) the invasion of yet another country in the War on Terror, what if Bush, who has a Republican-controlled Senate and House, decides "To hell with it, I'm gonna run again! Yeehaw!"?? He's proposed an ammendment to the Constitution before. What if he tries to pass one that allows him to run another term? He seems to think he can do whatever the hell he wants as it is. And if he's only got one more term anyway, what does he have to lose by trying? What if he succeeds? He's just crazy enough to try it, and on Tuesday Americans proved that a good lot of us are crazy enough to vote for him again.

I think I'll just leave you to chew on that one for a while.


Thanks to BrooksMarlin for pointing out that a two thirds majority is needed in Congress to get an ammendment passed. So, it's highly unlikely, but still possible.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.