My sorrow and sense of failure is for all the people not in the United States for whom we’ve been a beacon of democracy and the hope for something better. We’ve failed them.
Here’s where I’m angry enough to spit at the Naderites, and anyone else who practiced ineffectual politics on the bone-stupid grounds that ‘things have to get worse before they can get better’: Did it ever once cross your minds that the things that get worse include the lives of people around the globe? We were a constant referendum on and demonstration of the idea that liberty, equality, and government by the consent of the governed are not only possible, but work better than elitist kleptocracies.
Those weren’t just empty words. America really was a beacon of hope, and a constant encouragement to good guys everywhere.
If you were one of those Naderites who were out yapping about how they wanted to “vote as though it made a difference,” congratulations: You made a difference. I hope you feel all warm and fuzzy and self-actualized now, because in the reality-based world you’ve done grievous harm to the helpless, the oppressed, and every ideal you profess to stand for.
Don’t tell me I can’t blame you, because I can, and I do.
It’s not just you, either. I’m entirely out of patience with Americans whose whimpering plaint is that we Democrats brought this on ourselves because it hurt their feelings when we acted like we think they’re stupid.
To this I say: Oh, malarkey.
First response: Grow up. If they’re that big on self-esteem issues, let them go volunteer as helpers at their local elementary school, where it’ll do some good. It’s faintly nauseating to hear so many supposed adults whine.
Second: Bullshit. For the last ten or fifteen years, I’ve listened as Democrats, liberals, the French, and other groups have been treated to sneers, calumny, loutish bullying, and unashamed lies by the right. It’s been a terrible burden to the spirit, and has brought public discourse in America to hitherto unheard-of lows of infamy. Where was all this sensitivity, when that was going on? If they could bear years and years of hearing that thrown at others, with never a protest or reproof at its callous ugliness, they can surely bear up under a breath of implication that they’ve made a singularly disastrous decision.
Third, I say bullshit and malarkey again. They weren’t upset about the Democrats acting like we thought they were stupid before the election took place. It wasn’t an issue back then.
You know what’s really happening? They’re seeing our reactions, and they’re scared. It’s like that moment where someone tells you what they’ve done, and it’s disastrously wrong, a complete catastrophe; only they haven’t understood that until now, when they see you stagger and turn pale at the news. And as you’re standing there steadying yourself, feeling your heart pounding and a terrible weight descending on your shoulders … you realize that the other person is preemptively yelling at you. They still don’t quite know what’s happened, but they can tell they’ve screwed up big time, so they’re screaming that they certainly hope you aren’t going to pretend that this could somehow have been their fault, because …
They can tell we’re not just acting like we’ve lost an election. They know that politically, they haven’t been acting like responsible grownups. So now, their reaction is to raise and sharpen their voices, and say they certainly hope we aren’t going to pretend that this could somehow have been their fault …
Well, yes. It is. They’ve been stupid and self-indulgent and irresponsible. Not having to pay attention to what’s happening around you is the most expensive luxury there is; and they just went to the ballot box and wrote a blank check to cover it.
Now Bush has announced that he plans to privatize Social Security. They ought to be out standing in the middle of the street, screaming at the top of their lungs, because if that goes through a lot of them are suddenly going to be looking forward to an impoverished old age.
Beyond that, if Bush puts through more tax cuts and commits to more indiscriminate spending, the deficit’s going to go so high that it’ll break the bond market. Do they know what that’ll mean? Bonds help pay for their schools and streets, their water and power and sewage systems. An awful lot of them have bonds as a major component of their retirement savings. We’re looking at the possibility of truly ugly hard times.
But are they out in the street screaming? They are not. They’re hunkered down, nervously hoping that the destroying angel has passed them by, and this will be as bad as it gets. They won’t have to do anything. They won’t have to think about scary stuff. They can go back to dollhouse politics where you pretend that cloning, flag burning, and evolution are serious issues.
It can get much, much worse. It may well get so much worse that words like “inconvenient” will be retired in favor of words like “tragic” and “life-threatening.” Wake up now. Act now.
And for those of you who feel horribly let down by us: We’re sorry. Some of us know it and others don’t know it yet, but we messed up big time, and we’re terribly, terribly sorry.
Don’t stop believing in the ideals. Nothing about them made this outcome inevitable. They’re as good now as they ever were. When you have freedom, you have the freedom to screw up. It didn’t have to happen, but it did anyway. This is just a country. Freedom, democracy, equality under the law, and respect for the common man will go on, whether we go with them or not.