So, I know this is what you have been all waiting for: my personal take on the election. Like most of the people on this site, I was disheartened at the news. Indeed, the sense of angst and powerlessness I feel about George W. Bush's re-election is on par, as far as I am able to discern, with how I felt after the terrorist attacks on our nation three short years ago. Nevertheless, as the dust settles around us and things return to normal, or rather orient themselves towards the new, conservative state that will in time be referred to as "normal," life will go on from day to day mostly just as it tends to do, punctuated by the occasional national policy-based outrage that will cause we lefties to shake our heads, just as it tends to.

My silver linings:

Sean "Puffy" Colmes must now kill a majority of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24

This will no-doubt result in the most awesome reality show of all time. Like a cross between Battle Royale and TRL.

Hopefully we can finally stop whining about the stolen election

Despite everything, I am glad that we can finally go back to having a properly elected POTUS. At last, I can disagree with the issues and not have the easy fall back argument of the president's questionable legitimacy. In any case, the Bush administration won't take responsibility for its mistakes. Would we have been as harsh and demanding on a more progressive administration? Perhaps we should be, or rather, perhaps we should make it a point to be buck-stoppers instead of buck-passers.

We can forget about Ralph Nader

No more buck-passing. We lost on our own terms this time.

Awesome Music

For whatever reason, periods of economic strife and political unrest breed totally awesome music. After two terms of Ronald Reagan, and one of George H. W. Bush, we were given Nirvana. Two terms of Bill Clinton and we were all listening to Spice Girls and The Backstreet Boys. Indeed, if unemployment trends don't reverse themselves, we may suddenly have a larger percentage of the population with the free time for artistic expression (or criminal enterprise, but this is supposed to be a silver lining, so forget I said that).

A re-evaluated democratic party

After the election, when people started snapping on John Kerry, the American left immediately allowed itself to remember something that most of us were politely forgetting: most of us only went with Kerry because he was "electable," which translates as "not the one I wanted." Indeed, if I was going to pick a cake at a bakery, I would not want to go with the one best described as "edible." The core of the democratic party should be messages that make for electable politicians (as those are the only kind of politicians that are any good, really). In the future, we should go with candidates who are "incredible," or "brilliant," or even just "charismatic," because they will be innately electable by their agreement with democratic platforms.

Nationally, the democrats have little more than the ability to filibuster. They have no choice but to rise from their ashes. Hopefully with some degree of majesty. They have approximately 1 year to do this before mid-term elections.

We liberals have 4 years in which we have been cast as the conscience of a nation

This is perhaps just another way of saying that we are now the annoying voice that you ignore before doing that thing you wanted to do. Indeed, conservatives have now been given the role of America's visionaries. Nevertheless, we do have a role, and there are indeed quite a good number of us. By the same token, conservatives no longer have us to kick around any more on the national stage, and quite frankly, they are not starting from the best place. The spoils of victory (and let me be honest, I hope they work miracles, because America needs some miracles right now) are theirs, but their losses are theirs too.

Barack Obama

I almost didn't include Senator-elect Obama because I know that, really, he's just a guy. An amazing, charismatic guy by all reports, but goodness, I'm not sure I can stand to blow him to heroic proportions and not have him truly become Jack the Giant Killer. Keep hope alive, Mr. Obama, and we'll try to send you some new friends as soon as we can.

A Bush victory is proof of a "reality-based" world

If we learned anything from these election results in 2004 it's that even when the most basic rules of storytelling say that the embattled underdog will rise up and topple the evil overlord, the "reality-based community" pays no heed to your dramatic sense. If we can learn that lesson now, and really take it to heart, that puts us one-up on Bush, who may be forced to learn it the hard way in the Middle East.

The next four years will go faster, I promise

One thing I've noticed: seems like every year goes by a little faster than the last one, for good or ill.

And that's what I've got.

There's a node on this site. I can't remember where exactly, but the punchline is this: the zen master says, "If you don't like the way the nation is going, raise your children well." Our short term strategy didn't work out so well this time. As long as we're being forced to think in the long term, let's make the most of it.

Oh, and while running off to another country makes for a lovely image, in the name of all that is good, keep that dream firmly in the house of Morpheus. If you left, we'd have to find a replacement. Even if you kept your citizenship and voted absentee, who would volunteer? Who would attend marches? Who would do all the political things that need doing the other 364 days out of the year? We already feel like our country has abandoned us. Don't you abandon us, too.

Keep hope alive.

Lennon says Ok, ok...I'm sure you're about as happy as I was when Clinton was re-elected...but is this really on par with how you felt after Sept 11? Wow. I mean honestly, thousands of people dieing vs so idiot politician winning an election. Is that an accurate comparison?

Let me be clear: I'm not comparing the two events in and of themselves. I'm speaking honestly about my emotional reactions to them. I didn't lose anybody on 9/11, and I was living in Chicago at the time. I'm not using hyperbole here: the angst, the helplessness, the "What now?" that I feel, it's right up there with what I felt back then. That's emotion for you, I guess, illogical. If that makes me a lesser person, I guess I'll have to redeem myself later. As Halspal says Abraham Lincoln once said, "Every day, I must die, or be better."