Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Something in me died last night.

A sense of hope. A trust in the relative intelligence of the electorate. The feeling that good, old-fashioned common sense always wins over religious extremism; transparent political cronyism; and a curiously proud legacy of policies that have undermined our economy, our environment, our social fabric and the respect we command in the world.

Something else died as well. Something even more important to me: A lifetime of unblinking patriotism.

Today I feel sucker-punched. Betrayed. Terrified.

By religious extremists who manufacture a threat to marriage where none exists and use it to inflame the passions of weak-minded voters and hijack an election.

By citizens who vote against their own economic self-interest to elect a man brazenly beholden to the wealthy few over the non-wealthy majority.

By a president who describes himself as a “uniter” but who presided over one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.

By a man who wouldn’t go to war with his contemporaries but who doesn’t hesitate to play war when he grows up to be president.

By a future securely in the hands irrational, venomous social conservatives and a horizon filled with Supreme Court turnover and long-overdue human-rights legislation.

I hung an American flag in my window the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was a big flag, almost six feet tall. It filled the entire window. And since I live on the 24th floor, you could see my flag from almost anywhere in the neighborhood. I looked up at it every time I walked home from the grocery store or stood on the train platform four blocks away. I pointed it out to friends and family members. I was a proud American, and a hopeful believer in the inherent goodness of our country and the people who ran it.

I took my flag down this morning. And, as I write this, it lies in an unpatriotic, potentially unconstitutional crumple on my floor.

Right now I want to burn it.


portuguesa nova said...

Take mine too.

Ryan "Cookie"Hale said...

I'm a big political/government nut. I love elections and the whole process of them. But something is wrong. America is becoming... the opposite of what we should stand for: freedom, progress, acceptance.

This just isn't right. Kerry did the right thing, conceding when he knew it wasn't 100% feasible. I think we would be more divided if this became another 2000. We're divided enough as it is.

And I've done the same with my flag.

Will said...

Or . . . you could put the flag back up--hung upside down. That's the international distress signal. Right now, distress just about covers it.

Peter said...

I was never a follower of politics. I started becoming involved when Bush started spewing his rhetoric soon after 9/11. Remember all the talk about "evildoers" and the "axis of evil". What I heard then worried me, and the more I've seen since, the more worried I've become. The people of country have been very much angered by what happened on that day, and the current administration has used that anger to manipulate them, to get them to back legislation that is increasingly eroding everyone's rights. They play upon their fears of another terrorist attack, upon their fear of the "gay agenda", and upon their sudden realization that the rest of the world actually exists, and that America is part of it and not some god-blessed island all unto itself.
The political climate is ready for a fascist movement to take hold. Already, we are seeing a great deal of flag-wrapped ideologies, and words like "treason" and "un-american" are bandied about with great abandon. I've seen the current administration try to marginalize its political opponents ("if you're not with us, you're against us" - remember that?), and every time someone criticizes any of their policies, they are accused of "denigrating such-and-such's service" and "showing a lack of respect". I fear that things will become more serious, that we're going to see the administration urge the masses to silence all dissenters, that we're going to see the Patriot Act used to imprison critics of the current administration, and that we will in general we'll see all the rights we take for granted disappear one by one. I hope I'm wrong. And I hope the administration turns around and adopts a more conciliatory policy toward its critics and detractors, as the president has promised upon being re-elected. But given this administration's past performance, I don't think we can expect things to get better. I think we can expect them to get worse.

Homer said...

I'm pretty pessimistic too. What amazes me is how these "moral" people can vote for liars and killers because they are so "honest." I guess i just don't get it, whatever the fuck it is.

R said...

Yeah, something in me died too. After a bottle of Smirnoff watermelon vodka, juice, and more vodka passed back and forth between a 19 year old feminist and I, it was my liver.

Derek said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Derek said...

I'm surprised that Kerry didn't take it to be honest. With how much media coverage has been made to say that Bush is incompetent, the war is pointless, his policies for the country aren't good etc etc etc. But then with all that being said I can't say I heard a whole lot about what Kerry would do for the country if he was elected in comparison. Maybe that was the big problem. I also gotta say, most people that I knew that were voting for Kerry weren't voting for him because they liked him and thought he'd do well for the country, they were voting for him because they were wanting to oust Bush. *shrugs* I'm far from being an expert on these things so I could be way off base.

I really hope that having Bush in office for another term doesn't end up causing another attack on American soil because we're still meddling more than we probably should in foreign affairs . . .

Oh well. At least he won fair and square unlike last time . . .

Then again, I just got this tidbit of information before I was about to hit "Publish Your Comment"

Oh sidenote. A friend of mine just heard that voters in the 18-30 age group (MY age group) had a mere 17% turnout. This age group was supposed to be the age group that would turn the election around wasn't it? I have no problems with people voting whatever way they wanna vote but at least vote!

Next time someone my age complains about the government the first thing out of my mouth is gonna be "did you vote?" I can't believe that anyone would want to live in a country and not take advantage of their say in how it's run.

I should add that I didn't verify that the 17% is true I only heard that second hand. If it is true though then it's a sad sad thing.

Hugo said...

I think it may be time to spearhead a seccessionist movement here in the Blue Northeast. Perhaps we can become Canada's 14th province?