On September 11, 2001
, I was shocked. I was afraid of what I didn't know, and unsure about what the future would bring.
On November 3, 2004, I am simply scared, scared of what is obviously coming... a new revolution in my country.
The Republican Party now controls everything. The White House, all the executive agencies, the Congress, and a (slim) majority of the Supreme Court. Within four years, their mandate can only grow broader. William Rehnquist will be gone; his successor will be chosen by George W. Bush and confirmed by a very Republican Senate. The Democrats' leaders have all lost credence; the opposition is ragtag. Barack Obama is a tiny success, but he carries a huge burden on his shoulders, the burden of bringing the party through the next four years and coming out alive.
We know what conservative Republicans believe. They believe in low taxes and minimal government services. They believe in a huge military deployed across the globe, a thousand points of light tied to the fingers of an unstoppable superpower. They believe in purifying America from atheism, homosexuality, abortion, and other affronts to the God of the Old Testament. They believe in redistributing income from the poor to the defense contractors.
Sadly, most Republicans don't believe in all these things. They vote for the party and they get the whole package. They might want better education and cheaper health care, but they don't vote for it because they're afraid of weakening the country, or offending God, or paying higher taxes. So they end up with a Republican nation, and all the baggage it brings.
No country is perfect. But consider this: America has never been so solidly Republican in the last eighty years. Eighty years ago, Plessy v. Ferguson was still law, minimum wages and securities regulation were rare, and social security was unthinkable. Eighty years ago, the rich grew richer while the country grew closer to economic ruin.
Now, the clock is turned back. Law and economics will intermingle. Americans will keep living in fear of today and tomorrow and the day after. The fear of change, of death, of destitution, will keep them under the Republican umbrella until somebody leads them out. Who's it going to be? Will it be Obama? John Edwards? Hillary Clinton? Howard Dean? Or will it be someone we don't know yet?
We have reason to be afraid of what is certainly coming: the Republican Revolution of prophecy. And we also have reason to be afraid of what is unforeseeable: how long the revolution will last, and how complete it will be by the time it is thwarted. That's why my fear of 11/3 is deeper, stronger, and darker than my fear of 9/11.