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Friday, November 05, 2004

Thumped? So What?

I did not vote on Tuesday, of course, but my heart was aligned with the Democrats, against George W. Bush and the Republicans. My wife did vote, along with a record number of her fellow americans, but our side was thumped. Massively, unambiguously, convincingly. Thumped.

Sure, it's only three percent - 51 to 48? - but three percent of 130 million is a lot of people. And Thatcher, I seem to recall, laid waste the land for eight-odd years with never more than 47?

No point denying it then, no point whining about electoral colleges or vote rigging or this or that or whatever. We were thumped: now to get over it. True, I have great difficulty placing myself into a mindset that could have voted to re-elect President Bush - much more difficult for me to do this year than four years ago - but that's my problem, maybe yours too if you voted as I would have?

True too, I was feeling quite fearful Wednesday morning, over what this might mean for the coming four years. My half, it seems, are left only with the more esoteric checks and balances to fall back upon; those shenanigans that by their nature always look like the spoiling manouevres of bratty children. How fitting, you might say? But my view of Bush is of a sly and sleekit opportunist, a sneak, happy to use any event to cover his own, selfish advantage. He is a politician, of course, but no statesman. What kind of president must he be that would speak code to his covert "base" in a nationally-televised debate? Who could not bring himself to speak plainly, that we might all have understood what he meant without recourse to Google? The winning kind, it seems. Ah whell.

Still, when all is said and done, I've found myself in this same position many, many times before. In the seven national elections that have passed since I reached working age, my guy has only won once - Tony Blair, back in 1997, and what a wonderful drunken celebratory night that was - yet still I'm here, and prospering, and making my own way without too much hinderance. I expect I'll be able to make the very same claim four years hence... it just doesn't feel like it, right at this moment.

This is not a nation of Nazis, as as Michele rightly pointed-out the other morning. Nor is it entirely composed of religious bigots and bible-boosted hate fiends as many in Britain might have it? There are some though, perhaps even many, but not nearly so many as there are people that combine strong faith with uncomplicated decency. Or who combine little faith or none, with that same uncomplicated decency. Andrew Sullivan knows this too, and will draw comfort from it when the dread smoke from that chill of anti-gay and anti-gay-marriage measures passed across eleven States begins to clear? I don't quite believe in Jesusland either, though it surely exists in some measure and very much believes in itself. What I don't believe is that that is all there is out there, between the coasts, nor that it was they alone who handed Bush his victory? Whatever their contribution, it jumped on the back of 68 million others, and against 68 million more.

Not a nation of Nazis, then, nor even a nation of Falwells. But it surely is a nation of Red versus Blue, and on that score, in particular, I'm with Welch: I plan to spend the next four years as I have the past six, making the absolute most of everything that Blue America has to offer, and pursuing my happiness to the g-ddamned hilt. There is no finer place to be!

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