Wednesday, 3 November 2004
|1733 - They don't understand me...|
...and I don't understand them.
I've spent the day reading LJ comments from lots of folks I know and like and respect, full of what appears to me to be serious overreaction. They speak of literally shaking with terror, or sobbing helplessly, or simply being fatalistically depressed.
I don't get it.
They wonder aloud how anyone could possibly support that guy in the White House after all he's done and knowing what he plans to do.
They don't get me.
At this point, I'm not going to attempt to explain my side of the equation. Many folks have tried, only to be blown off by the other side (no, I'm not saying any of the folks in my friends list have done so; I speak in general terms). If you want to understand why I voted for President Bush, along with a majority of my fellow voting Americans, there are words aplenty to explain it.
I can understand bronxelf_ag001's concern over the prospect of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I can understand jmthane's nervousness about the dim prospects of a reasonable definition of marriage (mine matches hers, FWIW). I can understand yakko's disappointment.
I can't understand the level of emotion that goes with it. I don't know if I ever will. I do know that we must understand each other if we have any hope of overcoming the deep division we face now. I also know that electing Kerry would have done nothing to heal that division. It would have merely had the other side complaining and feeling badly treated. The problem goes much deeper than that.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to truly understand the problem. Some of it, I'm sure I won't, not a viscerally. I do, however, think we've got to try, and I will if those opposing Bush will. Fair enough?
current mood: puzzled
I understand a lot more of it than I wish to, but it doesn't make me feel any less depressed. I'm worried about how much harm will be done to various civil rights issues by the time Bush leaves office. All because people feel safer with him? I don't. I absolutely do not feel safer with Bush staying in the White House. I fear his handlers' agenda and I fear his incompetence, almost as much as I fear his fanatical disregard for people who are not his personal 'base.'
I can also understand a lot of the reasons other people voted for him, I just don't agree with thier priorities on a lot of issues. I don't hold it against them, I just can't agree with them. That doesn't mean to say that I don't see eye-to-eye. I do. I wish more people did, but then again, the world is not our Utopia to create, or conquer into submission, as the case may be.
I understand the origins of the frenzy. Some of it come from the naturally heated talk that comes from philosophy but I believe more came from how this horribly negative campaign was run.
Florida was a battle ground state so we were DROWNING in advertising all of it negative.
The TV in the closing days seem like it had schizophrenia: Kerry is a bloody mouth wolf who will eat your babies and Bush is dancing on the graves of the soliders killed in his pet war.
Now that the event has ended, it seems natural for the emotions to remain.
Then help me understand Jay. I'll listen. I may not agree but I will listen. You have an excellent chance to explain to me why Bush is a better choice, and why our fears and *overreactions* are unwarranted.
I'll lay my side on the table. You're party is quite frankly out to get me and all of my friends. You specifically may not feel the way they do about abortion or civil rights but *they* as a group do and are actively seeking to keep women child bound and the GLBT community from leading their lives as they see fit. They have been successful in 11 states, including my own, in banning unions between individuals of the same sex. You know if I weren't one of the B's married off to a straight I would be petrified at this turn of events. I would feel as though I had been personally attacked.
In Wisconsin a woman was unable to fill her birth control prescription because your party has been succesfull in some areas of disrupting the dispension of oral contraceptives. I can no longer bear children but the Elf can and she doesn't want any. Tell me her options? Condoms? The right and the Catholic Church have already declared war on them too. First comes abstinence, then comes marriage, then comes multiple babies in baby carriages.
At which point are we over reacting as the attack on certain rights has already scored damage points and the fight for equal rights has been set back ten years?
I want to understand you. You seem like a nice person, but you seem like a lot of other people who have an ideal of issue but do not have to live that issue themselves.
Much like those who are content with a war they are not fighting.
Sticks her hand out to the middle, meet me here, bring me reasons to not live in fear of my own life.
I can't understand the level of emotion that goes with it. I don't know if I ever will.
I find that difficult to believe, given that you seemed to eminate the same emotions regarding when Clinton was elected, and he didn't even do that much (good or bad) in his eight years... in fact, the very mention of the name even now tends to evoke what seems like an emotional response from you. So I really find it hard to believe you can't understand how people on the other side of the fence could be so emotional towards Bush's re-election.
I think I can understand part of it. The extreme right thought Clinton was evil incarnate; the literature and videos that pushed that notion, though, were on the fringe. The notion that GWB and the Republican party are evil incarnate is far closer to the mainstream today.
Then there's that business about Bush telling a succession of transparent lies to start a badly mishandled war against a country that didn't attack us, in which thousands of people on both sides have died.
Oh yes, and there's Bush and his cronies and supporters calling us "traitors" and "America-haters" for pointing out the above.
Bush didn't tell a lie. He acted based on the best information he had available. When he told the world Saddam had WMD, that was what everyone - including John Kerry and Bill and Hillary Clinton - believed. It was only after we went in there and saw for ourselves that we discovered that the real issue was that Saddam's people were lying to everyone, including Saddam, about their real capabilities.
The rhetoric from those opposing the war was just as virulent. "Traitor" is no worse (and no better) than "liar who should be impeached".
From my (left) side of the fence
Thank you for not gloating, I really appreciate it. The gloating I've seen just doesn't do anything to help create an open dialogue. I have no interest in discussing this with anyone who gloats.
It is difficult for me to not take this personally for several reasons:
1. Abortion is a deeply personal issue for me as a woman of childbearing age. Because I have listend to and can understand both sides of the argument (yes, I really can), I would rather this not be part of public policy. I would rather this be between the individual and her God/belief system/moral code. I don't want a partriarchal government telling me that they know what is best for me (or anyone else) in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. Seeing that issue trotted out for Republicans to rally voters to elect Bush just offended me to the core.
2. I think that many people who voted against Bush believe that he lied to us. If someone lies to me, I take that very personally as it is a betrayal of my trust. I was very supportive of Clinton until he lied to all of us about his affair. His lies offended me far more than his abhorrent behavior. Yes, I imagine that Kerry has lied as well (unfortunately, many politicians have) and that's wrong, too... but then there's the matter of all the fallout in money and lives lost in the war on Iraq.
3. Another very personal issue is the right to marry the partner of my choice, and that's another issue that many Republicans rallied around. Again, I don't want the government to tell me or my friends that we can't marry the partners that we choose.
4. I think that many people who voted against Bush are afraid that other individual rights as U.S. citizens are at risk. Obviously, we take our rights as citizens very personally.
5. One thing that occured to me after I voted was that I despise it when people do something wrong (whether intentionally or not), then refuse to admit that they did anything wrong or that they need to correct anything. I have had to give up one longtime friendship after I reached out and admitted that I was wrong, and then the other person didn't do the same in kind. To the best of my knowledge, the Bush Administration refuses to admit that there is anything wrong with its policies, the war on Iraq, and the federal deficit. And now they have a majority of votes in this election to back this up.
6. Some people believe that they have lost their jobs as a direct result of the current administration policies. I've noticed that especially in my town (D.C.) one's job and career are taken rather personally.
7. I think that many people feel betrayed by the current administration, and now they feel doubly betrayed by their fellow Americans who voted to keep that administration in power.
I'll admit that a lot of the bad feelings were probably generated by spin on the part of the Democrats as well as the Republicans. This election stirred the pot quite a bit. The Republican Right -- whose members don't represent all Republicans, but like guests on the Jerry Springer Show get more airtime for being extremists -- have projected a terrible image; strident, self-righteous, condescending, closed-minded and intolerant. Perhaps they need to work on their spin too, but why should they? It got their CiC into office for a second term.
Re: From my (left) side of the fence
1) I've addressed that one in another posting (which your comment inspired).
2) Fundamentally, I disagree that Bush lied. He acted on the best information he (and everyone else, including his predecessors) had available. That that information turned out to be incorrect was not his fault, nor does it mean that he lied.
3) This is an issue where I disagree with the Republican Party. However, the Democrats' support for this right is lukewarm at best - in no case did they come out in active support of it.
4) I'm nervous about the erosion of civil liberties, as well. I'm frankly pissed off that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments have been effectively repealed the moment you walk up to an airport checkpoint. Again, however, I don't see that the two parties are different. Remember, the PATRIOT Act passed with essentially unanimous support.
5) The Bush Administration does not believe there is anything wrong with its actions. I have to say they have a convincing argument: as you note, they convinced a majority of those who cared enough to go vote, which is the basis for decision making in our system of government.
6) My job went bye-bye not because of Bush's policies, but rather the severe economic downturn caused by 9/11. I doubt the Democrats could have done any better, and the proposals raised by Kerry (what there were of them) gave me no confidence that they would do better in the future.
7) This one I can only understand by comparing it to my feelings in 1996, after Clinton - who betrayed me very specifically in the 1994 Crime Act that banned guns because they look ugly - was reelected. Even so, it didn't reach the level it has in this election's aftermath.
I'll be honest, I don't get it either.
I voted for Bush because he's the one that stands for the issues I stand for. Kerry doesn't. To me, that's basically it.
To me, either way, life goes on, besides the fact that it's just wasted energy to get so worked up over something that's over.
Crying? Sobbing? Throwing up? Ranting about the regression of society? Please...
See my post farther below.
And while I'll agree that sobbing is undignified... it's not wasted energy if the energy is spent properly.
Americans who are dissatisfied with the results of the election should consider moving. Use the energy generated by your anger to research other countries, so that you may flee your dying nation and find a better home. An exodus of American citizens to other countries will serve as a warning to the Republicans - something along the lines of "Keep it up... we're leaving and taking our money with us."
Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, and several other nations are all accepting new immigrants. Canada in particular offers a good alternative to living in the United Staes... in addition to socialized medicare, Canada also has laws supporting same-gender marriages, public toplessness, and is considering a bill to legalize marijuana. Best of all, no Republicans.
However, be warned... Christians may find Canada offensive, because it supports the principle of separation of religion and government; and Canadian beer is rather strong by American standards.
Are you planning on moving?
You know... this was my first vote...
I have never voted before.
What inspired me to go out and cast my irrelevant vote (I live in Kansas, if you don't vote for Rep, you trash your vote. If you doubt me, they "called" Kansas for Bush with 1% of the votes tallied) was because of the policies that get slid in whenever the House, Senate AND Presidency are all one party. Perhaps this has happened before... I am sure it has... but *this* time, two supreme court justices are going to be replaced by the President. Supposing he does what everyone expects him to do, which is to put in justices that follow along with his personal beliefs, we will have, in effect, 4 years with no checks or balances. FOUR. Maybe more.
THAT is wrong. That is not the way our country was designed to work. And even if you say that the 1/8 of the country that voted Republican this time actually represents the majority of the country.... the rest of us are chopped liver? Nice. *sigh*(1/8, right? I mean, only 1/2 the country is registered, only half the registered voters voted, only half of them went for Bush... ah heck. Let's be generous and say 3/16 *grin*)
So - that's why I went out and voted Nader. Because that was the ONLY vote, other than one for Bush, that would actually get counted. Not that it mattered either, because he didn't get enough votes to get Govt. money for next time and perhaps help things with a third party option.
So - there you are. It's not JUST that I don't agree with his policies (I don't... then again, I don't agree with ANYONE's policies that ran), It's not just that I think he's more likely to take policies radically to his side than Kerry would have to his side (which I do believe), It's not even that I think he couldn't speak his way out of a room (I don't), It's that it's UNAMERICAN to have all three branches of government working together for beliefs that can/will/have alienate a huge portion of our population.
Re: You know... this was my first vote...
Yes, both houses of Congress and the White House have all been in the control of one party before, the most recent from 1992-1994. The first two years of the Clinton Administration were as disastrous for those of us who believe in freedom as those who object to the current result believe the next four years will be. Personally, I viewed the 2000 election as the first opportunity to reverse the harm inflicted on the country in 1992.
Even with my distaste for the PATRIOT Act and other infringements on civil rights, though, I don't see that it's that terrifying. If it was going to be as bad as the loudest complainers from the Left are claiming the next four years will be, why hasn't it happened already?
We discussed this privately. I just want to remind you to read that book. Even if you find it silly. Read it, as much as you can, with *my* eyes and tell me you're not horrified, and can't understand my reaction.
(for those scratching their heads in the viewing audience, the book was, of course, The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood.)
Dystopias are a stable of SF. In the 60s, they tended to be Brave New World with a veneer of hippiedom. The question is, do they reflect any real threat? Do you seriously think that the Republican party has something like The Handmaid's Tale as their goal?
Oh... You don't understand?
Allow me to clarify this for you.
It's fear. Plain, simple, fear.
Fear for the lives of the American citizens serving as sniper fodder in a desert thousands of miles from home.
Fear of the possibility that the situation in Iraq, and the resulting anger at the U.S.'s foreign policy, will make it easier for Islamic extremists to recruit new suicide attackers.
Fear that staying the course will mean more of the same - more unprovoked invasions, more dead soldiers, and more worldwide anger directed at the United States.
Fear of the dangerous precedent that George W. Bush's reelection sets.
George W. Bush's administration...
- ignored intelligence reports of an impending threat of terrorist attack. Speculation persists that Cheney's people intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur. The attacks justified the Republicans' 2000 election platform and (after a lot of spin-doctoring) gave Cheney's people the excuse they needed to invade Iraq.
- has repeatedly lied to Americans. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nor were any Islamic terrorists ever based in Iraq. In fact, Hussein himself was fighting a battle against Islamic geurillas for most of his time in power; Ba'athism was modeled after Stalinism, and borrowed many key elements from Stalin's dictatorship... including the precept that organized religion be outlawed. It was only after the First Gulf War that he embraced Islam, and not for the sake of saving his soul... ... More Here...
- has engaged the United States in an unneccessary war, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.
- is rife with Christian fundamentalism and civil rights abuses. At this time, the American economy is in tatters, the population of the United States is divided, and the poorest of American citizens are dying from lack of access to basic health care. The most important things to accomplish, in George W. Bush's humble opinion, are the banning of same-sex marriage, a crusade against abortion, and the criminalization of stem-cell research. The civil rights issues aside, stem-cell research may hold the key to defeating cancer - but is unpopular with the Christian fundies who routinely vote Republican. And so it is banned.
- is supported by the least-educated Americans. Most of the Republicans' support base still mistakenly believe that Saddam Hussein was directly behind the September 11th terrorist attack. And then there is this.
- has left the American government deep in debt by overspending, ordering an invasion he couldn't afford, and cutting taxes for the richest Americans.
- has allowed his friends in the oil industry to personally proift from the U.S. invasion of Iraq. American soldiers are risking thier lives not in the defence of a nation, but for the benefit of the American oil sector.
- is led by a man who is apparently unable to admit when he is wrong.
... and yet he was reelected. He managed to convince about 51% of Americans to vote for his party.
What does this say about the state of democracy in the United States?
Kerry's supporters fear for the future of thier country.
And you're puzzled as to why there is so much outcry over the fact that he won?
This reminds me of what happened when Clinton was caught with his pants down. The difference is that when Clinton's habit of using the Oval Office as a cheap motel room became headline news, the Republicans were the ones freaking out. And the Democrats were the ones Wondering... "What's the big deal?"
The reason for this, as far as I can tell, is that sex is more offensive to the Republicans' right-wing Christian support base than the unnecessary loss of human life is.
The reason for the difference between the reaction to Clinton's perjury and the war in Iraq is simple: Clinton lied, deliberately and under oath. Bush did not. If I did what Clinton did, I'd have landed in prison. All Bush is guilty of is believing the best intelligence everyone had - just as Bill Clinton and John Kerry did.
IF the war was over oil, we wouldn't be paying $2 a gallon for gasoline.
Bush cut taxes for everyone, not just the richest. The richest got the largest tax cuts because they pay the most taxes. Why is this concept so hard to understand? Perhaps it's because "soak the rich" is so thoroughly ingrained in the consciousness of the Left that it's taken for granted, without any sort of critical examination.
Bush's support is not only among the least educated. Further, saying that it is implies, not so subtly, that those who vote for him are stupid - hardly a way to dial down the rhetoric. The simple truth is that ideas are not responsible for those who support them. They stand or fall on their own merits. Besides, even the least educated, under our system have just as much say in the government as you (presumably, more educated than they) do.
Even after the 1996 election, when I feared for the future of my country, I didn't scream as loudly as some of Kerry's supporters are screaming now. Neither did anyone else. We didn't see people advocating a mass exodus.
YOu should read THIS ARTICLE
. It'll give you a clearer picture on why people believe Bush was in the wrong, and why so many people in the rest of the world were unconvinced that Iraq was necessary.
Gen. Anthony Zinni, Commander in chief of the United States Central Command, 1997-2000:
"The first phase of the war in Iraq, the conventional phase, the major combat phase, was brilliantly done. Tommy Franks' approach to methodically move up and attack quickly probably saved a great humanitarian disaster. But the military was unprepared for the aftermath. Rumsfeld and others thought we would be greeted with roses and flowers.
When I was commander of CENTCOM, we had a plan for an invasion of Iraq, and it had specific numbers in it. We wanted to go in there with 350,000 to 380,000 troops. You didn't need that many people to defeat the Republican Guard, but you needed them for the aftermath. We knew that we would find ourselves in a situation where we had completely uprooted an authoritarian government and would need to freeze the situation: retain control, retain order, provide security, seal the borders to keep terrorists from coming in.
When I left in 2000, General Franks took over. Franks was my ground-component commander, so he was well aware of the plan. He had participated in it; those were the numbers he wanted. So what happened between him and Rumsfeld and why those numbers got altered, I don't know, because when we went in we used only 140,000 troops, even though General Eric Shinseki, the army commander, asked for the original number.
Did we have to do this? I saw the intelligence right up to the day of the war, and I did not see any imminent threat there. If anything, Saddam was coming apart. The sanctions were working. The containment was working. He had a hollow military, as we saw. If he had weapons of mass destruction, it was leftover stuff -- artillery shells and rocket rounds. He didn't have the delivery systems. We controlled the skies and seaports. We bombed him at will. All of this happened under U.N. authority. I mean, we had him by the throat."
I'm going to assume that you weren't laughing at the guy's committing suicide.
As for the Canadian immigration page: I looked at it myself, just to see what kind of snobbery they'd engage in in letting people into the country. That's how I found out they weren't interested in me. I'm sure a good chunk of the visitors were similar to me. As they say in the article, the real test will be how many folks actually go through with applying.