Fear and Loathing, Winners and Whiners...
There's plenty of analysis of the election out there, of course, and it basically says that the Kerry campaign failed to connect with heartland America. The US is really two nations, the hip, urban, liberal coasts and the unhip, down to earth, rural(ish) conservative heartland. They are roughly equal in size and basically, they despise each other's beliefs. Liberals in particular love to write off the Deep South as stupid interbred hicks. Well, guess what? Even if that were true they vote, so get over it. Not only did Kerry not win, Bush made significant gains in the popular vote, making races close where they weren't last time around.
The fact that Bush won by 3% of the popular vote is hardly a mandate by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, it's about as good as it ever gets in this two party nation.
So what's my point? Well, the democrats are sitting here stunned and they're all kind of mad. And that whole "we despise those heartland hicks" vibe is throbbing with a million volts of electricity. Apparently when you're all pissed off it's OK to be rude and intolerant of people who disagree with you. It's one of those "I'm tolerant of everyone. Eell, everyone who agrees with me, anyway", kind of deals. Some examples:
People apparently aren't thinking about these issues in anything like a defensible, logical fashion. Oh really?
Never have I felt such anger, bitterness, and loathing not just for Republicans but for half of this country. Nice, there's that "tolerance" I was looking for.
And the condescending "they voted out of fear" excuse:
There there are those Americans voted on other kinds of fears--the ones that we're less likely to admit that we have. Guess what people "fear"?
And the foreign vote:
The people of America have failed us today
This last one prompted a lot of outraged responses, too (many of them Kerry voters).
Yeah, really. Don't any dem voters think that maybe Kerry wasn't exactly the most scintillating of candidates? Better than Michael Dukakis, but then a half dead squid would also have been a vast improvement.
As for the gay marriage measures, maybe this is a wake up call to the gay lobby that calling your opposition "stupid hicks who just don't get it" (I paraphrase) is not a good strategy. The gay marriage wave this year obviously fueled a heavy backlash (even in Oregon, for crying out loud), and was another serious misstep.
As an example of missing the point, the Episcopal Church gay organization Integrity had the following to say:
Integrity is deeply concerned that voters in 11 states last Tuesday passed constitutional amendments limiting the definition of marriage to between a man and a woman. (A half dozen other states already have such language in their constitutions.) Instead of protecting the American family, such amendments legally discriminate against loving, committed same-sex couples-many of whom are members of Episcopal congregations.
Integrity challenges the national, diocesan, and congregational levels of the Episcopal Church to redouble their efforts to protect the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens.
Rough translation: "The floggings will continue until morale improves". Heads up Integrity: You win this kind of battle by making friends and influencing people, not by pandering to your own choir.
One last reaction calls for a response. I work a lot with youth. I help run a youth group, I do Junior Achievement in a local high school teaching economics. Basically, I see a lot of teenagers, and nobody appreciates their potential more than I do. And then you get a pathetic effort like this. Man, what a bunch of dweebs.