So Now What?

The lead headline on The New York Times website today: “Bush and Republicans Celebrate Victory; Mandate Is Seen for the Next Four Years.” Read further, and it only gets worse. Todd Purdum’s analysis? “It is impossible to read President Bush’s re-election as anything other than a confirmation that this is a center-right county.” Get me to a vomitorium, pronto!

Like Eric Alterman, I had hopes on Tuesday that most Americans would see things as they are–the mess in Iraq, the sprawling federal deficit, the job losses, the tax breaks for those that need them the least, the degradation of the environment, homeland insecurity, the loss of our civil liberties and perhaps worst of all, the pervasiveness of fear as a tool to manipulate us. But here’s the thing, there is not a mandate–and certainly not a confirmation that America’s a center right country. No way. Don’t believe if for a minute. This election was a 3 point race. A little less than half saw it one way, the other half prevailed. We are a divided nation. So what do the 56 million of us who voted for Kerry do now?

Well, we could leave and head north, south, or somewhere else. (Breaking up is hard to do.) We could refuse to pay our taxes (Tempting, eh?) But somehow I think the answer is more along the lines of what Katrina vanden Heuvel outlined in the Nation. As Tom Paine said, “Time makes more converts than reason.” The Bushies have got another four years to mop up the mess. Mid-term congressional elections are two years away. The effort to get it together for this election was not in vain. We’ve only just begun to fight.

It’s going to be tempting to withdraw, but that’s exactly what the non-reality based folks would have us do. You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you. Take a break, grieve the loss, drink that beer, have that extra scoop of ice-cream, take that long bike ride, then start thinking about what you’re going to do to reclaim this country. It’s up to us.

2 thoughts on “So Now What?

  1. Jason

    re purdum’s comment: “[election is] clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country”… unfortunately, there’s nothing center-right about bush or his agenda. center-right is mccain, rockefeller, pataki, terminator, guiliani republicanism

  2. Nathaniel

    anger battles depression with resignation beckoning my stronger emotions to give it up and just go with the flow.
    i did feel that this was the most important election of my life and while remaining essentially passive i cut a check for kerry and sent some money to moveon. that’s something for me. i believe that one small victory we can take from this campaign is that it energized the progressive community and that groups like moveon will not simply go away. i expect that i will continue to be more political, more likely to give money and time to causes i believe in and to oppose Bush’s misguided policies. regrettably, there will probably be many opportunities for action.
    i’m glad that new york (the once and future prime terror target in the country) thoroughly repudiated the get-tough-on-terror president. so, if i do continue to live in this exasperating country, i’m happy that it will be in the heart of the other america.
    and if things get too bad, there’s always canada.


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