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.



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?


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.