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On The Election

Despite the scent of trendy cynicism that permeates this blog, I am really an "accentuate the positive" kind of guy. So I spent most of last week trying to write a "look at the bright side!" post regarding the presidential elections. And each time I gave up after 100 words with a hearty "aw, who am I kidding?"

It's not just that Bush was re-elected -- though I look forward to a second term of Dubya as I would of bout of dysentery. No, what really got to me was the realization that I live in a different universe from most of the electorate.

The first salvo in this one-two punch came few days before the election, when I read that three-fourths of all Bush supporters believe that Iraq had WMD or WMD programs before the war. What the point of participatory democracy (thought I), if nearly half of the participants can be so wrong about the most important matter under consideration? It's just all so capricious. Here, five-eights of us are doing our civil duty, learning about the candidates and issues, and then we have this enormous wildcard, a huge chunk of the voting public operating under seemingly arbitrary assumptions. It's like competing against the Boggle-Playing Chicken, picking the winner by randomly pecking at a ballot.

(To be fair: I know that there are lots and lots of thoughtful, intelligent and reasonable Bush supporters out there, who are in full command of the facts and voted for their guy because they honestly believe he is the best man for the job. And, if you're one of them, I'm sorry we couldn't cough up a candidate you felt you could vote for. Flawed though he is, I think Kerry was still one-bajillion times better than Bush on pretty much every issue, but I understand that someone could come to the opposite conclusion. Maybe you're right, that Bush will be the better leader of the two. I hope so, though I doubt it.)

Then the other shoe dropped. After the election, we heard that voters said there top concern was moral values, which, as near as I can tell, is a euphemism for "biblical values." As an agnostic-who-is-for-all-intents-and-purposes-and-atheist, I had something of an epiphany upon hearing this: I don't just live is a different universe from the Iraq-had-WMDs crowd, I live if a different universe from the 61% of Americans who believe the Bible to be literal fact. These people and I don't just have an honest difference in opinion on political matters, we have entirely different ideas about the very nature of reality itself.

Of course, I've always known this dichotomy existed, but, living in this bastion of secular humanism we call Seattle, it's easy to forget. The results of this election, however, really drove the point home. I felt like George Taylor at the end of The Planet of The Apes, when he sees the Statue of Liberty and realizes that his hopes of "returning" to Earth are dashed -- that, in fact, he's been on Earth all along. "This isn't a bad day for America," I said on election night, when CBS showed a map of the nation almost completely colored red. "This is America!"

(A bit melodramatic, I know. But, in my defense, I had been drinking heavily.)

Anyway, I've been mulling things over for a week, and I've decided that, yes, some good may yet come from this election. Admittedly it's less "that cloud has a silver lining" and more "judging from that there cloud, it's gonna piss down rain so hard that we might finally get motivated to fix our leaky roof." But, that said, here are some reasons for optimism:

  • Off With Their Heads!: This should, by all rights, herald the end of Terry McAuliffe's reign at the DNC. I'm not one of those guys who hollers "fire the manager!" after every losing season of my hometown baseball team, but McAuliffe is to Democrats what icebergs are to luxury liners. And Bob Shrum! Enough of the Shrum, people! The man is apparently trying to emulate Bush's career of failing miserably at every undertaking until he somehow lucks into the White House, but maybe (hopefully) after this election no candidate will touch is "people vs. the powerful" class war claptrap with a ten-foot pole.
  • No Scapegoatery: Bush won this election fair and square -- no 537 vote margin in Florida, no Supreme Court coronation. Yes: a convincing Bush win is a good thing! Now democrats can't just point out that their guy got the popular vote and blame their loss on Nader or the judicial branch of government -- now they have to engage in some actual self-reflection.
  • Maybe Voters Will Stop Trying To Game The System: And speaking of self-reflection, perhaps-- and I realize this is probably too much to ask, but a guy can hope -- Democrats will realize that picking a candidate in the primaries based on his supposed "electibility" ain't such a bright idea. I guess the idea was that them warmonging yokels down south would be so enraptured by Kerry's purple hearts that they would march to their polling places in a daze and pull the lever for him zombie-style, but I could have told you back in April that that wasn't gonna pan out. In the future, how about we stop trying to figure out who some chimeric swing voter would like as president and instead concentrate on who we would like as president, eh? And besides, one of the charges often made against Democratic candidates is that they will adopt any position if it's politically expedient; it doesn't help when the whole party is adopting candidates because they are politically expedient.
  • Now Bush Has To Clean Up His Own Mess: Let's face it: a Kerry win would have been a pyrrhic victory at best. With our military stretched so thin, our deficits at an all-time-high, and anti-American sentiment on the rise, Bush has put America so far in the hole that the presidency was something of a poison pill for Kerry. He probably would have spent his entire first (and, more than likely, only) term just putting out Bush fires. And if the US suffered another terrorist attack on Kerry's watch -- even if it was a result of Bush's policies that have made American's less safe -- that might have sounded the death knell for the Democratic party. Now, Bush is going to have to reap what he has sown. (This "bright side" is somewhat diminished by the fact that all Americans have to reap what Bush has sown, to be sure, but still ...)
  • I Will Shut The Hell Up About Politics For A Spell: Possibly the only unalloyed bit of good news to come out of this election is that it has has me so disgruntled about American politics that I plan to rededicate this site to (a) conversations I've heard on the bus, (b) true tales of terrors regarding my infant son's excretory habits, and (c) pictures of my cats. Thank the non-existent Lord for that!
Of course, the most compelling reason for progressives to be optimist is simply this: they have no choice. If progressivism has any defining feature, it's that its proponents have the imagination to envision a better nation and the courage to work towards it. And in this race, rejecting the Republican's campaign of fear and smear and instead rallying behind a guy trying to unseat an incumbent president in the middle of a war was an act of optimism unparalleled in recent political history.

Oh, and one last thing. A lot of progressives are joking about "moving to Canada" -- myself included . But if you're one of those folks who insists that they are really, really considering it, please: do us all a favor and go. The Republicans will be happy to see you leave, and the rest of us don't really need you hanging around and reinforcing the stereotype that liberals (a) are so unpatriotic that they will ditch their nation in a time of need, and (b) feel entitled to the benefits of a government (like, Canada's) without having to work for it. If you're "totally serious" about moving this time, then pack up and head for the border, compadre. Otherwise, dig in your heels, roll up your sleeves, gird your loins and get ready to fight, like the rest of us intend to do.

Posted on November 08, 2004 to Politics





Comments

Dude, you just completely ruined Planet of the Apes for me - is that really how it ends?

Posted by: Andy Gimblett on November 8, 2004 4:56 PM

Add to this the fact the arctic is melting. I for one am really really depressed. So moving north will only hasten the cataclysmic end… Well in actuality Karl Rowe taking a cabinet post as keeper of Christian values and grand inquisitor will be the ultimate end.

A couple of points to consider:
The Christian right or value voters are less tolerant then blue state philistines’. Therefore expect evangelic police to patrol the county asking us to pray. I will die before I pray to someone else’s god or how someone else defines god for me. Freedom of and from religion is my right and I will die for it.

Us blue state philistines’ must learn how to use a gun. Sorry but we are out gunned literally. Stop worrying about guns.

We have to keep focused and organized and united. We cannot let this wedge divide us even more but use it to unite. They want us to fight among ourselves. It frightens me to read that these value voters truly believe W. is as close to Jesus as any man on earth.

Anyway I am running at the mouth. Thank you for a great bit of writing and thought.

Mark

Posted by: Mark on November 8, 2004 5:01 PM

well said. now, post more pictures of that adorable offspring!

Posted by: heather on November 8, 2004 5:19 PM

As a Canadian, I must agree...stay and fight the next elections or you've already lost everything you believe in...

Posted by: service pack 2 on November 8, 2004 5:26 PM

Um, what you said. Yes, all of it. All I can use coherently to embellish it at the moment, I wrote as a tangent in a comment posted earlier today.

Posted by: ben on November 8, 2004 6:05 PM

You really hit the nail on the head. That's just what I was thinking. We're in this weird, Orwellian, fundamentalist state now.
I don't know if 51% of the US has this twisted model of the world, or if it's just the people that voted, but it really does seem like some kind of bizarro view of the world has taken over.

Posted by: Ted on November 8, 2004 6:12 PM

Mark wrote:
"It frightens me to read that these value voters truly believe W. is as close to Jesus as any man on earth"

Now, that is frightening! Although I don't think it would scare the kids around the campfire.
As one of the so called "Christian Right" I am truly shocked. I thought I was a fun loving, tolerant and peaceful citizen. Boy, is my face red.

Drive by stereotype,

Can I get an amen?

Posted by: studebacherhoch on November 8, 2004 6:39 PM

I completely agree about the picking a candidate we actually like thing. Who likes Kerry? But if the majority of the people can actually vote for Bush, after him being far worse than he seemed to be last election, then I do despair of this country. I want to have my votes for people like Kucinich and Nader actually mean something, to live in a country where such people don't get laughed at for running. Where people aren't so freaking brainwashed that they think guaranteed health care isn't a basic modern human right. That is my dream!!! Ok, I'll shut up now.

Posted by: yensen on November 8, 2004 7:18 PM

Thanks for saying that, especially the "stay and fight" part. That's how I feel and I would never leave this country to let it fall into the complete control of the religious right. That's not what America is about.

(I do, however, reserve the right to run away to be near blue water and palm trees, but that's a whole 'nother story. And I don't intend to burn my passport.)

Oh, and you are *so* right about Bush cleaning up his own mess. There will be a mess for a while, and Kerry had made so many promises, he'd have been CRUCIFIED. I had a right wing nut-job at work who was going to hold my pinko commie ass personally responsible for every campaign promise Kerry broke if he won. Lucky for me, I have now turned the tables.

Posted by: steph on November 8, 2004 7:22 PM

I agree with most of your comments, Mr Baldwin, especially regarding the mess to be cleaned up. It would not surprise me to see a Shiite-controlled government running Iraq soon. They will surely win the elections. The Kurds will surely try to secede. It will be a mess.

I think the one thing that really seperates you from the average voter is that you're thinking about the candidates at all. I think most people just vote for whoever they like the best. And I don't mean "like" in the sense that they thought through any issues, I mean in the sense of "what movie star would you most like to have lunch with?"

I suspect that if Jay Leno ran on a platform of baby-eating, he'd win.

Posted by: james on November 8, 2004 7:27 PM

Well, though not an agnostic-who-is-for-all-intents-and-purposes-and-atheist (Christian, actually) let me share that I too am frightened by President George Bush and those of his supporters who confused him, and his actions, with the divine. The Christianity I know and love spends more time turning the other cheek and leaving judgement up to God, rather than saying that "God approves of this war" and focusing on condemning others.

But agreed with the earlier poster - I'm not sure Christianity, nor born again Christians, deserve drive by sterotyping . . .

Posted by: tim on November 8, 2004 7:31 PM

My parents said we are going to Canada but they say its just to pick up some brownies. And a case of Molsen. To help them get through these next four years. We'll coming right back. No, really!

Posted by: Super Turtle Girl on November 8, 2004 7:42 PM

Please!!! don't shut the hell up. Its progressive thought that created this country and it might be the only thing that saves it.

Posted by: visualage on November 8, 2004 8:05 PM

I agree with just about everything you said although, surprisingly to me, I am a little more optimistic than you. I really think the Republicans are going to take it to far to the right and alienate loads and loads of people and they will suffer a backlash like never before. Plus I think there are some great Democrats that hopefully will run in 2008. They've got to be better than our normal lackluster group we've been putting out there.

The most discouraging thing to me this election was that my liberal haven of Washington State went so much more conservative than expected.

Posted by: Brandon on November 8, 2004 8:05 PM

In my opinion, the biggest problem with the "moral values" preference of voters is the way in which is it being twisted to offer this equation: morality=conservative politics. Bullshit, I say! The political right does not own morality--that rhetoric is more dangerous than Bible-thumping. To imply that a democratic stance is immoral is a crime. I can be moral--heck, I can be a CHRISTIAN--and still vote for Kerry. I cannot stand the implication that this is impossible. Bush is not synonymous with morality.

Posted by: Niamh on November 8, 2004 8:11 PM

thanks. i needed to read that. i feel I am in need of a 48%-ers support group or something.
and thanks for the link to The Sad American's letter. that was eye-opening.

Posted by: narineh on November 8, 2004 11:29 PM

Mark wrote:
"It frightens me to read that these value voters truly believe W. is as close to Jesus as any man on earth"

I can already see the bumber stickers: "Jesus never did cocaine!"

Posted by: Jonas Rabbe on November 9, 2004 4:40 AM

Matt, that is almost exactly how i feel. I come from the great BLUE state of new york, and its exactly right. Realizeing that we are the minority was a big culture shock.

It's called Cognitive Dissonance.

Main Entry: cognitive dissonance
Function: noun
: psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous beliefs and attitudes

I beleive the phrase specifically refers to the UNCONFORTABLILITY of realizing your world is not what you thaught.

but basically ya, thats why you get all the threats to move to canada, and guys shooting themselves at the former WTC site.

Posted by: Wedge on November 9, 2004 6:18 AM

//Disclaimer//
Your link went to a registration required site, so I didn't *read* the article on how people thought Iraq had WOMD before the war
//End Discliamer//

So I don't know how that question was worded, but if you walked up to me and said, "Did Iraq have WOMD before the recent Iraq War?" I would say, completely confident and sure of my answer, "Yes."

Because they did. Definitely lots of nasty chemical weapons, that they used in an act of genocide that ranks up there with Serbia and the Sudan, possibly some biological weapons, and an attempt at a nuclear program.

These weapons were accounted for prior to the War. They were known to exist and were found after the war started. No *new* weapons were found, and the nuclear program appears to have been at least temporarily dismantled.

But if you ask the wrong question, you're not likely to get the answer you're looking for. They did have WOMD (chemical) *prior* to the war. You would be wrong to suggest they didn't. They had stockpiles of old chemical stores that were found. We already knew about them, but that doesn't make them not exist.

If the question was, "Were they in possession of serviceable WOMD at the start of hostilities in 2003?" then I'd have to do a lot of research to figure that out.

What they didn't have was an active WOMD creation program. So if the question was, "Was Iraq capable of producing more stockpiles of serviceable WOMD at the start of hostilities in 2003?" then I'd say "No."

The way it was phrased in your post, I'd say, "Yes."

And I'd have voted for Kerry if I wasn't British. So I'm not partisan. I just like to be accurate on the facts.

Posted by: Andrew on November 9, 2004 7:03 AM

1. Anything that comes out a few days before the election is calculated to affect the election. And this thing had zero credibility as a poll. Any social scientist can design a poll to get questionable results for either side. Please ignore.

2. Given the number of things the exit pollees had to choose from, the notion that maybe J. Kerry was a "flip flopper" could have come under the heading "moral values". This was part of the dumb as rocks exit polls and has nothing to do with people's pre-election calculus.

The truth is that the elction result story turned into some sort of weird referendum on values the day AFTER the election, and both sides felt it was a good narrative so they ran with it. It wasn't actually a part of the election at all, but both sides simply love to wallow in the notions involved. All of a sudden the Swift Boat guys are irrelevant and Kerry's lame, confusing political approach to Iraq has less to do with the election than butt sex.

PLEASE MAKE THE STUPID PARTISAN HACK ANALYSIS STOP. IT IS HURTING AMERICA.

Good luck making it back to reality and BTW I was a Kerry voter

Posted by: Undertoad on November 9, 2004 7:36 AM

Yes, more pictures of the kid and the cats. And funny stories about the people you see on the way to work.

Also, hey, Christian guys who don't want to be stereotyped, I have this discussion with Christian friends all the time. I was raised in the hell on earth that is a Christian fundamentalist community, and there is no ugly Christian stereotype that I haven't seen in action, so it's really hard for me to imagine Christians who aren't vicious. Yes, they are very good to certain people, but the parroted slogan of 'hate the sin, love the sinner' tends to translate into 'we love you as long as you do everything exactly as we tell you to do, if you don't, then there is no punishment that is severe enough.'

But they are the majority, that was no surprise to me, and if/when they really get the United States to work as they would like, I personally will suffer as much as they can manage, in whatever ways the society will allow. I have been assured of this since I was a child, even before I openly spoke of my heretical thoughts. And no, I'm not gay; I don't party, I'm pretty boring; I just don't like a pastor that I don't respect dictating every move I make and a church judging everything that I (and anyone else, including each other) does.

There is no mercy from Christianity (individual Christians, perhaps, the religion itself, or the god that created it, no).

Sorry to be gloomy, more stories about cats and babies, please!

Posted by: shmrri on November 9, 2004 7:51 AM

Amen, brother.

(by "Amen", of course, I mean "I wholeheartedly agree in a most secular fashion")

(by "brother", of course, I mean "fellow coastal-state residing brethren (Go Blue States!))

Mike

Posted by: Mike on November 9, 2004 8:02 AM

The media is trumpeting the fact that "moral values" was the most frequently chosen reason when voters explained how they voted -- even though only 1 in 5 voters picked it. And of course, "moral values" doesn't mean a darn thing. I wouldn't get too worked up about it.

If Kerry had won, the media would claim it was a national rejection of the Iraq war. But now that Bush has won, they will never say it was a national endorsement of the Iraq war -- surely, it MUST be something else. Like, say, Jesus.

And by the way, I seriously doubt all those Kurds gassed themselves in Iraq. It's very obvious Saddam had WMD. Where they are now is the relevant question, not whether they existed.

Anyway, I really hope the Dems get their act together. Quickly.

Posted by: The Man From Lemonville on November 9, 2004 8:03 AM

Shmrri wrote:
"There is no ugly Christian stereotype that I haven't seen in action, so it's really hard for me to imagine Christians who aren't vicious"

Add to that, ugly:
Black stereotypes...
Jew stereotypes...
Liberal stereotypes...
Conservative stereotypes...
Gay stereotypes...
Caucasian stereotypes...
Pagan stereotypes...
Female stereotypes...
Male stereotypes...

The list goes on and on and on and on.
Most people have seen most of these stereotypes in action.

To then form opinions and treat others based on that is an easy way out, a true no-brainer. To treat people for who they are takes a willingness to listen to their side, stand in their shoes and get to know them, to treat them with respect. That is difficult, I realize, but that is exactly what is required of you (society) if we are to live in peace. You have to allow your beliefs to be questioned, and that takes thinking and certain humbleness.

Jesus made friends and hung out with the destitute, hookers, thieves, alcoholics, gluttons as well as people looked down upon because of their race -the "inferior". These are the people He decided to make His companions. He was bad mouthed because of it.

On the other hand, the people He continually criticized were the religious elite. So, in a way, your thoughts line up with Jesus’.

But let me clarify this one thing.
We (Born Again Christians) are no better than anyone else. I am no better than a Pagan, a Homosexual, a Drunk or any other person that the stereotypical Christian supposedly looks down upon. Take me for what I am, not for what religion you think I believe in.
I've met a lot of Christians, some bad, some good. Just like the rest of the human race. Sadly, I must say that a lot of Christians really do piss me off. I do not, however, stereotype them as vicious Christians. They are, plain and simple, ugly people.
No matter what color, race or religion you are, ugly is ugly.


If, because of observations of ugly stereotypes in action, you can't imagine anything but the stereotype, then you have a sorry excuse for an imagination.

Posted by: studebacherhoch on November 9, 2004 8:45 AM

Standing ovation.

Damn, this is the greatest summation of last week's events I have read yet. I wish I had said it. I'm going to post a link to this. Everyone should read it.

Funny stuff, too!

Posted by: Jim on November 9, 2004 8:49 AM

When I was a kid, my mom threatened to move us to Canada when Nixon got elected. She opted instead for the suburbs. Go figure. I think I might move to Brooklyn. Anyway, I appreciate your entry and contrasted it with Michael Moore's reasons not to commit suicide in my post today. That's not a lie but it is just a teaser to get you to visit my blog. I am not nearly as insightful as you, other than being bright enough to read your blog from time to time. (I tried to trackback to you but you must not have that feature turned on.)

Posted by: Sue on November 9, 2004 8:50 AM

I am a born again Christian who got myself into trouble at church on Sunday as we were talking about debt and my minister brought up the deficit. There was a screaming match!

Is there a Christian Left that I can be a part of?? I honestly believe that Jesus would not be for a party that lies, prefers war over peace, is intolerant of other people and only wants to help the rich and not the poor.

Posted by: michelle on November 9, 2004 8:54 AM

When I was a kid, my mom threatened to move us to Canada when Nixon got elected. She opted instead for the suburbs. Go figure. I think I might move to Brooklyn. Anyway, I appreciate your entry and contrasted it with Michael Moore's reasons not to commit suicide in my post today. That's not a lie but it is just a teaser to get you to visit my blog. I am not nearly as insightful as you, other than being bright enough to read your blog from time to time. (I tried to trackback to you but you must not have that feature turned on.)

Posted by: Sue on November 9, 2004 8:55 AM

Michelle,

http://www.christiansforkerry.org/

Posted by: studebacherhoch on November 9, 2004 9:02 AM

This election has put me in mind of the best description I've ever heard of Democracy, which came from a role-playing game called Dark Consipiracy, written by (I believe, I may be wrong) a guy named Lester Smith. There's a quote in the book from a fictional character that goes something like this:

“Saying that Democracy is the best form of government is nearly as great an understatement as saying that the Pacific Ocean holds more water than any tin cup you’ve ever seen. The issues are so clear, the truth so solidly anchored that I have no patience with people who think that there’s even anything to argue about.
Someone once said to me, ‘Sometimes the people are lazy and stupid, and make poor decisions. It sometimes takes a strong leader to protect them and choose the right course.’
So a nation of stupid and lazy people, because of a strong, intelligent leader is saved from its own sloth and folly? Where is the justice in that?
Democracy isn’t just the best form of government; it’s the only one even remotely worth a damn. Only Democracy guarantees that people get what they deserve.”

The majority of the country voted for President Bush so we're apparently getting what we deserve.

Posted by: Sam on November 9, 2004 9:08 AM

The one link with the woman who couldn't vote for Kerry for various reasons struck me as very truthful and moving. This is exactly the kind of voter that Kerry should have been able to win, if he was going to have any shot at this election.

So that being said, the whole bit about how Air America and Michael Moore are bashing people into the ground to vote for Kerry is kind of a sham.

That station is to Kerry what Rush Limbaugh is to Bush. It's more about entertainment and slugging below the belt than anything else. I can't really understand why she expected the left to just rise above this mud-slinging. After all, aren't liberals supposed to be afraid of a fight? And wouldn't NOT fighting just reaffirm this image? That's a total no-win situation.

I appreciate that you have let us know it's OK to laugh again. And besides, it's only two years until you can start in with the lame duck-themed posts! Oh, happy days!

Posted by: Shawn on November 9, 2004 9:13 AM

>Is there a Christian Left that I can be a part of??

Try the Evangelical Environmental Network, found at www.whatwouldjesusdrive.org.

(I got the bumper sticker.)

Posted by: Carny Asada on November 9, 2004 9:22 AM

Carny Asada:

A comment on www.whatwouldjesusdrive.org


Jesus was a carpenter and traveled with 12 buddys almost all the time.

Definitely a SUV or a large dually-crew cab pick up truck.

Posted by: studebacherhoch on November 9, 2004 9:32 AM

What Would Jesus Drive? A 15-passenger van . . . powered by bio-diesel!

I'm lightly religious (meaning I believe in the message, but have some REAL problems with the messengers . . .don't get me started), and I have real trouble believing that any truly religious person, any true believers in the message of love, would vote a pro-war, anti-human rights ticket strikes me as plain wrong.

We are taught that God loves all people, whether they love him or not. In light of that I can understand not liking abortion. I don't understand outlawing it in cases of rape, incest or major medical problems. The God I know wouldn't condemn the folks that had to have an abortion under those circumstances. Rather he would weep for their pain and try to offer solace.

End of the day, these issues have no business deciding who runs our country. Our Constitution guarantees religious freedom. One religion taking over and outlawing others, or passing laws contrary to those other religions' morals is contrary to the spirit of our country. Gah.

The Federal government needs to get out of the business of ruling the people. It's not their job. The feds only exist to regulate between States and to treat with foreign powers.

The States and all their citizens must stand up and take the power back from the Federal Government. This should be the primary issue in the next election, but will it be? Probably not.

Want smaller government? Give power back to the States. This was once a Republican issue. The Democrats should take it up.

The Democrats should look to see what other core issues the Republicans have abandoned to pander to the far religious right. Many of them are good and deserve to be fought for. Democrats have already taken fiscal responsibility from the Republicans.

This, of course, will move the DNC further into the middle. But with the GOP swinging so far Right, I see little choice. And it leaves the door open for the Greens or the Libertarians to become the new far left party. Send them the nut balls that embarass the Dems. This will also give them a larger pool of candidates to draw from who are articulate and vocal.

Posted by: Cedric_the_Black on November 9, 2004 10:33 AM

There's more to the "Moral Values" poll choice than opposition to gay marriage and abortion. It's a catch all category that includes things like "honesty".

The problem with that "poll finding" is that all of the other items were split out, War in Iraq, War on Terrorism, Social Security, Jobs, Taxes, etc. If you combined those the way they combined "moral values", Moral Values would've come in dead last.

I understand that it makes Libs feel better to think that they were defeated by a vast, idiotic group of bible thumpers, but it's a little more complex than that.

Posted by: BillB on November 9, 2004 11:17 AM

You know, not all of us who voted for W are Bible-thumpers. Many of us would have been happy to vote for an alternative, viable candidate. But the Democratic party is the captive of an oddball assortment of neo-fringe groups, each with its own narrow agenda, to the point that Kerry couldn't say anything without pissing off some other group on the opposite side of an issue, yet still IN THE SAME PARTY!

It would have been real easy to vote for Joe Lieberman, but he is too moderate for most Democrats. Could have voted for Sam Nunn or Zell Miller, too. I saw Erskine Bowles speak here in North Carolina and could have voted for him for the Senate. His speech was clear and reasonable and I couldn't get out of my mind that as former chief of staff for Clinton, he would be tugged in all directions by the various Democratic constituencies to the point that what he did in office would bear no resemblance to the reasonable man I had just heard speak.

Posted by: Davey on November 9, 2004 11:17 AM

If you're looking for a sense of optimism there has been some brewing here:

http://www.techmocracy.net

Posted by: MikeH on November 9, 2004 12:28 PM

All I know is "Vote or Die" poster child Paris Hilton did neither. What this country needs is stronger enforcement of voter registration slogans.

Posted by: John from Reno on November 9, 2004 1:09 PM

>Is there a Christian Left that I can be a part of??

http://www.sojo.net/

Officially, they're not the Left, but they take Matthew 5 pretty seriously and tend to rebut the Right.

Posted by: Wynne on November 9, 2004 2:33 PM

I live in Seattle too and the day after the election when I was going to work all I could feel was shock that the rest of the country saw EVERYTHING in a completely different way.

You are preaching to the choir, baby, thanks for putting it exactly how I would have as well.

Posted by: kerewin on November 9, 2004 3:14 PM

The "most electable candidate" commments were something I've thought ever since the primaries, but have seen hardly anyone express. When the likes of Dean fell behind, and the analysts were crediting the voting-for-the-one-most-likely-to-win philosophy, my first thought was, "Way to doom yourselves, guys."

But if this election has done anything, it's made the Democratic party lean and hungry. After sinking their own hopes with wooden, booksmart, passionless lumps of uncertainty two elections in a row, they will make different choices come 2008. As with any change, it could be for the better or for the worse. But there's always hope.

Plus, for what it's worth, Bush's legacy won't be getting a direct continuation. "President Cheney" is an idea too scary even for most conservatives. Now, it's certainly possible - no, probable - that the final Republican candidate will be a hand-picked toer of the Bush line. But if Bush's second term plays out as disastrously as many liberals believe it will, and he continues alienating as many conservatives as it's said he has, we may see strong opposition arise from within the Republican ranks. Many people say that they'd vote Democrat if there was just a candidate worth voting for... but what about the Republicans? Could a moderate conservative take the '08 primaries, then woo enough liberals to provide a victory that finally satisfies a broad chunk of both sides?

Probably not. But possibly? Who knows...?

Posted by: Yet another goddamn Matt on November 9, 2004 3:21 PM

Right on, but isn't the religious right just a bit too easy of a scapegoat. I live in one of the red states and I voted for Kerry. I'm glad he didn't win. Not only is W's mess too big, but there's no way big government is ever going to let the people have control again (see 2000 and 2004 elections).

See, when you have a Democrat as President and a Congress that has a Republican majority only the laws that are truly beneficial to the people get passed (because if they aren't we bitch and moan collectively). Some people say that when this anomaly occurs it puts a strangle-hold on government and nothing gets done. And I ask, is this a bad thing?

You have to admit, the GOP executed the old "Divide and Conquer" perfectly.

Posted by: Jim on November 9, 2004 3:46 PM

Unless I'm reading it wrong, that WMD article actually said that less than half of the Bush supporters believed Saddam still had WMD. The 3/4ths figure was the number of supporters who thought Saddam was in cahoots with al Qaeda and had something to do with 9/11. Yes, apparently the Bush supporters believe things their administration has denied ever having said. Of course, you want to talk about flip-flopping -- Cheney said Saddam was involved with al Qaeda, and that he wasn't, all in the same debate!

Posted by: Meg on November 9, 2004 4:22 PM

Dear Yeti,

A friend turned me on to your blog and I am hooked.

But hey, now. What's wrong with moving to Canada? "Stay and fight" what, exactly? I voted absentee from Canada; I'm still a U.S. citizen and feel it is my duty to do what I can for the country of my birth, but I can't save it from itself, and why should I suffer anymore? I'm happier here in B.C., and I would venture that a lot of like-minded people back in the States would be happier here, too.

Like you, I tire of hearing the worn-out idle-threat cry of, "That's it! I'm moving to Canada!" But I also tire of hearing that I am somehow responsible for changing the course of things in America because I made the enormously personal decision to change my scenery and live in a country where things I "fought" passionately for in the U.S. are already in place.

Moving to Canada was the best thing I ever did for myself and my family. We love it here, and finally, after a lifetime of being more than slightly uncomfortable with the extremes of U.S. culture, I feel at home. When people ask me why I did it, I say "Climate. Social climate (simple pleasures holding more sway than status and stuff), meteorological climate (Minnesota is far more extreme than the Pacific Northwest), and political climate ("Liberal" is not an epithet here)."

There's a lot more at stake for most folks than simply who is in office. That's how it was for me. The Pledge of Allegiance always made my skin crawl. I've known since I was five years old that something just didn't feel right, and that contrary to what I'd been told over and over again, the U.S. doesn't have a corner on the happiness and freedom market. There are other countries. I live in one, and I like it. So there.

Posted by: Mollie on November 9, 2004 4:34 PM

My wife is Canadian, and our twins have joint citizenship, and of course we wonder about moving--thinking we may have to prepare for the day when we need to shelter them from the draft, etc.
But we won't go unless we have to. We live in NYC, and have lived enough other places to know there is simply nothing like it, anywhere. (NY voted overwhelmingly, of course, against Bush. I don't say for Kerry--New Yorkers generally saw his shortcomings--but we voted AGAINST the right wing jihad.)

One consideration I'd like to add in this attempt to understand the "two Americas" queasiness that many of us felt after watching the flood of red on the post-election maps, is in this map: http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/prog10/maps/ It matches, as you see, the election results to a frightening degree. I am not being at all facetious in this, having lived in the South, and having family in the southwest (Arizona, and Texas of all places). I believe the legacy articulated in that map is operative today in very great degree.
We have a long way to go as a society, to overcome ignorance, and to mature out of the regretable and somehow very persistent aspects of our past. I have faith--a century ago women couldn't vote, a half century ago millions of blacks could not, and so on--we do make progress, but only with struggle, hard work, sacrifice. So, I am optimistic, but only because I believe there are many willing to do this work.
Sure hope so, anyway. Otherwise, it's off to Nova Scotia, which has the best lox, anyway.

Posted by: brendan on November 9, 2004 6:52 PM

One other web site that is making me feel better about the whole thing: It's a gallery of photos sent by Americans apologizing for the election results.

www.sorryeverybody.com

(I like "My apologies, world! 49 percent voted for a senator, 51 percent for the cute monkey that does tricks. Damn you, monkey! Damn you!")

Posted by: Carny Asada on November 9, 2004 8:10 PM

Yeah, I like the sorry-everybody site.

They didn't run my submission though:

http://squidly.com/images/politics/iamsorry.jpg

Posted by: BillB on November 10, 2004 5:43 AM

Please, please, please, please, please don't associate the moralism of Bush supporters with Christians who have their heads screwed on straight (please). The right's moralism is not biblically based, because if it really was, there would be laws against adultery, drunkeness, fornication, lying, etc, etc, etc. A lot of those "minor" sins come in handy when you run a billion dollar corporation. I understand that the U.S. isn't really built on Christian values, and I understand that we can't legislate faith.

I don't want to see laws banning gay marriage. I want to see the government protect the environment (from my perspective, it is God's creation, right?), take care of its citizens, and not fight pre-emptive wars.

Posted by: brian on November 10, 2004 6:07 AM

Hey, studebacherhoch, poor Mr. Yeti's comments is no place to have a debate about attitudes toward Christianity, so I'll try not to blather too long. Feel free to contact me via my email, I've had this debate with plenty of Christians.

As I said, individual Christians may have mercy and tolerance, but the religion itself does not.

And I've heard variations of 'Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven' all my life. I am a preacher's daughter, and the rest of my family remains firmly committed to fundamentalist Christianity. But many people, including, I'm very sad to say, some of my own family members, at least in the church community I grew up in, act as if that gives them carte blanche to behave badly towards others and ask forgiveness later. Heh, Pharisees are alive and well in the modern world.

I guess I should mention that my thoughts have very little to do with the past election, I've had this opinion since I was in 8th grade, probably before, and while I'm actually now a little more willing to concede that Christianity offers comfort for some, I have not wavered in my opinion that it is a religion of hate, even as individuals in that religion believe in love.

Sorry, Mr. Yeti, I will shut up now and not post on this topic in your comments any more.

Posted by: shmrri on November 10, 2004 8:21 AM

Can I just say? This whole "Moving to Canada" shit is driving me crazy. As are those same three e-mails being forwarded all over the place.
I would like to point out that, yes, I AM moving to Canada, but it's a decision that my Canadian husband and I made a couple years ago. Well actually, in 1994, but we had some stuff to take care of first.
I don't like that the ultimate statement the Wednesday after the elections was "I'm moving to Canada" as if you can just hop in your gas-guzzling car and go. It's at least four months of work and $500-$1000 before you can even mail in your application. With the $1575 fee. We had to sell a car to do this.
Canada is NOT har-har. It's not a free ride. They may be more relaxed, liberal, and have a better sense of humor, but it's not like they love all Americans and want them all smoking their pot.
To the people who really are moving to Canada because of politics - it'll be at least two years between now and the time you're up there (at least legally) and in that time you could have moved to Ohio or Florida much more easily, and REALLY created change.
/rant

Posted by: dayment on November 10, 2004 10:11 AM

C'mon shmrri, your original post was your justification for stereotyping Christians.

It's pretty simple, treating a person differently because of there religion is wrong.

Unless, of course they're Muslim.
-Just kidding.

You even said, "individual Christians may have mercy and tolerance, but the religion itself does not." If you believe this then how is stereotyping us okay or excusable?
I'm an individual Christian who deserves to be seen by my own actions, not the actions of those who abuse the faith.

It's too bad you've been mistreated, many have, including myself. I still think it's not an excuse. We have to rise above all this BS and see people for who they are.

Alot of people have the idea that you should never talk about religion and politics. Here we are talking about BOTH at the same time and "Poor Mr Yeti" started it.
I can't possibly believe that Matt is surprised that these debates /conversations are going on here.

But, you're right, enough is enough. Back to cats and squirrelies and such.

PS Stereotyping generally does work when it comes to how you should view Philadelphia Eagles fans. So classify away.

Posted by: studebacherhoch on November 10, 2004 11:27 AM

Hey, you nutty folks who only watch Fox and think that Iraq had WMD's. Read the Daulfer (sp?) report. Oh, and the Kurds were the victims of a chemical weapons attack from Saddam. 15 years ago.

Guess it just takes us a while to get *really* mad about it.

Posted by: Liz on November 10, 2004 3:55 PM

Ok, first I'm going to admit that I read half the comments then skipped down to make my own, so whatever friendly debates and/or raging thermonuclear wars are currently going on right now, I'm not tuned in, so this comment has nothing to do with those. ;)

That said, allow me to step up on my soapbox and get a few things off my chest. I am a Christian, I believe Jesus died for my sins and since I accepted his love, I'm saved for eternity. However, that's where my resemblance to Christian Fundamentals ends. I think voting for a candidate based on "moral issues" is showing just how ignorant Americans are as voters! Please tell me, how does being a good Christian qualify someone as fit for the presidency of the greatest country on Earth? How does being a good Christian make someone capable of handling all the foreign politics and economic issues inherent in the office of the presidency? If being a good Christian was the single most important characteristic in a president, then by all rights I, a 23-year-old teacher with no experience in politics, who can't even balance a checkbook, am perfectly qualified to be the next President of the United States. Or even better, let's get the Pope! Who better to be the good Christian president we need than the Pope! I'm sure he won't mind leaving the Vatican for a few years, right? People, faith is not a characteristic to judge a presidential candidate on! (And yes, I realize this may be preaching to the choir on this site...ha ha, little pun...) The fact that over half of Americans don't seem to realize this distinction reinforces the rest of the world's view that we are ignorant, spoiled, closed-minded fat cats that take their political system for granted. Everybody always says to "get out and vote" during an election year, but I'm with Andy Roony, and I say DON'T get out and vote unless you have seriously researched who you are voting for and really understand our political system. It's the ignorant buffoons that ruin the elections. You know who I mean, the ones that vote for whichever candidate speaks the best or has the most presence or yes, even which candidate better fits their ideal of a "good Christian." Personally, I think we should all have to take a political aptitude test before we are allowed to register to vote, so that people who know and understand the political system are allowed to cast an informed vote, and keep the idiots away from the polls.

Thus endeth the rant.

Posted by: Erin on November 10, 2004 4:24 PM

HEY MATT PLEASE READ THIS COMMENT!

By now you should know not to take anything the media quotes, especially anything involving numbers, as being even remotely close to reality.

To wit:

1) A visual analysis of the voting data from someonewho actually understands statistics and interpreting data:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/

2) While 59 million people voted for Bush, NEARLY as many voted for Kerry in the larger picture. To say you are out of touch with the electorate as a whole is simply not true in the face of such data.

3) The whole exit poll "People voted on moral values" sound bite is the result of patently bad ad-hoc data analysis. Thank goodness for NPR, they set the record straight. Look at the numbers here about "Most Important Issue" in the exit polls: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html

Then consider this: it was only 22% of the voters who said "Moral Values" was the most important issue for them. And look at the options they had to choose from. The only option that is very general is “Moral Values” – the others are much more specific. Users had to pick ONE most important issue. If you add up the users who picked “Iraq” and “Terrorism” (call it “Foreign affairs”), you get 34%. Add up “Taxes”, “Education”, “Economy/Jobs”, and “Health Care” (call it “Domestic issues”) and you get 37%. Those numbers seem much more reasonable to use as a comparison – and both beat “Moral values” when you look at it that way.

Posted by: Courtney on November 10, 2004 5:50 PM

I for one think america is a sinking ship as it is. Economically, technolgicaly, and of course socialy. The fact is america is still a very racist, ignorant, backwards country. Even in the "blue states" bush still got about a high 40%'of the vote. Where in the read states bush got 60% and above. People in city are so different than people who live in the country, espcially the south that a man like bush can easily get elected. the sad thing is i think if you did some researc,you would find a person who voted for bush, is much more likely to be racist or at least predjuice, less educated, less respectful to women, less likely to have traveled out side the U.S. let alone there own state, and more likely to be close minded in general. So canada, personally i love new york, it really is a differnt world, but people out in bumb-funk alabama get to decide who is president and therefore how much of a risk i am at living in new york city. The terrorists end up atacking the wrong people. and its just not fair. so in 4 years, ill see where the USA stands, and what the direction for the future is. that is of course unless they try to draft me, then i'll be in canada alot sooner.

Posted by: shane on November 10, 2004 5:51 PM

Not being aerican I dont feel I can say too much, but think about it. The est part about Dubya having anoter term is hat the forefather of your nation had the amazing insight to not allow him to have more than 2 terms :)

Posted by: Rebecca on November 11, 2004 3:04 PM

It would be kind of nice to have some people coming FROM AMerica, rather than the usual flood of talent and people going from Canada to the US. I read once that there are so many Canadians in Los Angeles that its the 3rd largest Canadian city! I guess that living in a smaller country Im used to people giving up on their country for the sake of a dollar...why not the other way around? Ive never understood leaving a perfectly good country just because it takes more work to make the life you want in the place that raised you. The NE part of the US seems to have more in common with Canada than with the more southern "red" states...so at least they'll blend in ok.

Posted by: Dave on November 14, 2004 8:30 AM

I agree, America is just an awful place to be. I can't imagine why people from Canada and everywhere else on the planet want to come here. Don't they know what a terrible place America is? For sure, Canada is better. So is Russia and France and Mexico and pretty much every other country on the planet. Why, I bet even Chechnya is better than any place in the entire United States! Y'all better leave now before all those other places fill up with Americans who know how awful it is here.

I think I'll stay here with all those "furriners".

Posted by: Davey on November 15, 2004 7:11 PM

I agree, America is just an awful place to be. I can't imagine why people from Canada and everywhere else on the planet want to come here. Don't they know what a terrible place America is? For sure, Canada is better. So is Russia and France and Mexico and pretty much every other country on the planet. Why, I bet even Chechnya is better than any place in the entire United States! Y'all better leave now before all those other places fill up with Americans who know how awful it is here.

I think I'll stay here with all those "furriners".

Posted by: Davey on November 15, 2004 7:11 PM

Hey Matt! Now I know why sometimes you see double postings like I just did. Something funky is going on with your comment-posting thingy. You tell it to post, but it hiccups or something and you're right back at the comment-posting thingy which, of course, you tell it to post again and voila! A second posting. Was that a technical enough explanation for you?

Posted by: Davey on November 15, 2004 7:15 PM

A few comments:
1) I love how libs assume that all conservative voters are uneducated hillbillies. Rest assured my friends these people don't even know it is election day.
2) I love how liberals put forth the notion that other countries are more enlightened than our poor voters. Just look at Germany. They are so enlightened they are electing neo-nazis to run their country.
3)I love how liberals classify conservatives as religious fanatics. Keep assuming everyone that voted conservative is simply motivated by religion and in the next election the libs will ignore the south and lose again.
4) If you do move to Canada please make sure you don't cross back over the border becuase the wait for your medical procedure is several months.

Posted by: ed on November 18, 2004 12:00 PM

A lot of progressives are joking about "moving to Canada" -- myself included. But if you're one of those folks who insists that they are really, really considering it, please: do us all a favor and go.

I don't mean to be hostile, but why don't you progressives who are only 'joking' about this try shutting the hell up?

You're doing more to reinforce these stereotypes you're complaining about-- you provide a caricature of liberals who are not only willing to whine about giving up on their country, but are also too feckless to follow through on leaving.

Don't go slamming those of us who are voting with our feet. How can that be unpatriotic when it's how this nation began?

Posted by: Anonymous on November 26, 2004 11:36 PM

Man fuck you with that "unpatriotic" bullshit. Maybe it doesn't rouse me because I'm not rabble. I have wanted to move to Canada for a while and now I realize once I do I'm going to be forced to take shit from Conservatives AND liberals because I relocated my place of residence.

Any of you self-righteous jackasses ever heard of dual citizenship?

You did know that my checks are allowed to cross the border and that my phone service will allow me to contact the US?

Besides between the MSM and the blogs this is approximately the 75th time I've seen that tired exhortation. I can still participate in our political system even if I am opting to live somewhere sane while I do it.

Eat me.

Posted by: Goat Boy on November 27, 2004 7:12 AM