Five characters (and their guests) in search of something.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Just lost this post, but am going to try to rewrite it from short-term memory.

I think this must be how those out of the country during Sept 11 must have felt. A sense of great pain from family and friends, but very little to do about it. And to think that George Bush is claiming that this narrow victory is a mandate, only a bit more substantial than the one he was handed by the Supreme Count in 2001, is nearly more than I can stomach. Not much different I suppose than claiming that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein because Bush had secret proof of weapons of mass destruction aimed at Israel or USA or wherever.

I feel quite far from the country that would vote for George Bush this year. That sea of red states squashed my hopes that the US would wake up to the transparent agenda of Bush and his compatriots. The Conservative Republicans have done an amazing job of solidifying their base by creating a foundation based upon moral values that camouflages their true agenda from the voters. Looking at Bush's statement regarding the Republicans' plan for this term, I was dumbstruck to realize that this was the first statement I had heard regarding such a plan--and I imagined that this was true for most of the people who had voted for him this past Tuesday as well. The Conservative machine has successfully covered its agenda with a nerve gas-perfume of morality that is very difficult to fight through for the people of the US.

Unfortunately I feel even further from the Democratic Party. This is a party that has completely lost its usefullness and should be remade. This election for me was about the lesser of two evils. Was it more evil to have Bush in office or was it more evil to allow the bankrupt Democratic party to continue its ruse. It is the null party. The only reason that John Kerry rec'd votes was that he represented NOT-Bush. There was nothing within the man that made me think he would stand up any straighter than Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton won the 1996 election I remember walking down the middle of the streets with people thrilled to be rid of the Conservative yolk that Reagan and Bush Pere represented. By the time the second election came around, I felt that liberal values had been left on the doorstep while Clinton and the Democratic party courted the conservative vote in the kitchen.

My strongest feeling today is for the left. I believe that many of the traditional values of the left in the US are actually closer to core US values than those being broadcast by the conservative machinery. I really do. How about the country's feeling for its Declaration of Independence? How about the revolutionary flag that won't die "Don't Tread on Me". How about routing for the underdog? How about the selfless giving of hundreds of thousands of veterans in WWII? Remember the crying Indian public service announcement in the 1970s? That was an environmental statement that worked.

It is as simple as this. The left must build bridges to the American people and must stop mumbling to themselves. was a self-selected group that emailed each other and raised money for each other--but did the commercials that its members paid for reach out to the voting public or only to the pre-converted? I have seen protests of Bush's war in Iraq, but how are we marketing this to the people? The left needs to get smart and to get smart quickly about how it markets itself and its ideas to the rest of the country. Right now, this is not "our" country. Liberal is a four letter word, or at least a four letter code word. Look at the third debate. Bush's retorts went something like this: "Liberal." "Liberal from Massachusetts like Ted Kennedy." "Liberal." Etc. It's too easy for Conservatives if mere mention of the word "liberal" is enough to condemn it.

There are not enough liberals in the country to do a damn thing by themselves alone. The election told us this. The country must identify itself with traditionally liberal values, values that the country indeed carries, before any liberal party or agenda will succeed at the national level. At the same time it needs to deconstruct and deflate the political value of the Conservative mantras of "Pro-life", "God told me to", and "patriotism". This election tells us that the public does not care what lies behind the morality, they respond to the moral statements.

First things first. What services, what programs, what rights are we going to have to protect first? At the same time we need to start identifying ways not to redefine the public, but to have the public redefine themselves.


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