THE DAY-AFTER-ELECTION-DAY BLUES
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- As I write, Sen. John Kerry has just conceded the extremely close presidential election to President George W. . But the damage has been done - with a record turnout, the results mean that half the voters in the United States are fools.
This election shouldn't have turned out this way. I have received painful-to-read emails from Republicans in Texas thanking me for my anti-Bush writing because they are afraid to speak out. In my home town, life-long Republicans have been working for Kerry because "Bush is the worst president in the history of the United States." I've even heard of Evangelical Christians who think President Bush has crossed the line!
Plus there was the Jon Stewart vote. Young people long believed to have brains mashed into a torpor by sex, drugs and dead-end jobbery woke up with a roar this election cycle, thanks to Stewart and his "Daily Show" writers, who showed President Bush lying, sleazing, posing and mealy-mouthing for the cameras every evening. Stewart has just over a million viewers, which is not that many in the real world of network blather, but his shows are often watched by groups - whole gangs, really - of people and his real numbers are much higher.
Then there was the cell phone thing - the polls called only land-line owners - people whose phones are attached to telephone lines. But millions of people, especially younger millions, use cell phones; they were never polled.
When you add these numbers to the regular registered Democrats and Progressives in the country, the election should have been a landslide for Kerry.
Instead, half the country voted for President Bush. Why? Whether or not you believe the "Swift Boat Veterans" or not, at least Kerry had the courage to go into Viet Nam. George Bush avoided the draft by joining the National Guard, then he ducked out of even that easy-going service when a physical might have revealed his drug use.
President Bush came into a stolen office looking for a way to best his father by taking out Saddam Hussein - not the highest of motives. Then he glommed onto the neo-cons and their "incontrovertible" arguments that Saddam would be an easy take, the Iraqis would greet the Americans as liberators - remember those flowers and the dancing in the streets? - and America would bring democracy to the Middle East. The President manufactured evidence to get our country involved in this unnecessary war. Now over 100,000 innocent Iraqis are dead, millions are wounded, the country is in chaos, and the whole world hates us.
President Bush stomped with hobnail boots on the precious separation of church and state that makes this country rich and strong - just try to invent new drugs for serious diseases when you can only use what's written in the Bible to guide you! He stomped on the freedoms give to us by the Constitution. He plans to eliminate whatever vestiges of the New Deal we have left and create an America that more closely resembles a good old-fashioned Latin American dictatorship - say good-bye to a thriving middle class. Only the wealthy get wealthier in President Bush's America; the rest of us can go to hell.
The President did all of this with such vicious lying, character assassination and plain old evil duplicity that the old saw about "voting for a president you'd want to have a beer with" goes down the toilet. Most right-thinking people wouldn't let him in their living rooms if they looked past the easy charm to the arrogance and contempt he has for everything most of us hold dear. Bill Clinton may have enjoyed cheap sex in the Oval Office, but President Bush has no character at all and blood on his hands besides.
Under this President and his colleagues, the world has become a much more dangerous place. Hold the flowers - Iraq is now a recruiting ground for al Queda. We have no real allies left. Half of America hates the other half - forget the President's "I'm a uniter, not a divider" lies.
Sen. Kerry is stiff, certainly. And he might take a while to make an important decision. But President Bush sat in a classroom for seven minutes after the second plane attacked the World Trade Center and had no idea of how to respond. Commander-in-chief, my ass.
But half the people in the United States voted for this man. I can hardly believe that I live in a country filled - OK, half-filled - with people so dumb and easily misled.
Just before I woke up this morning, I had a dream. I was sitting on a beach in Long Island, watching planes take off from JFK. A huge Concorde took off over my head, went roaring straight up into the sky, and came racing back, nose down, to crash into the water. As people on the beach sat stunned, the plane bobbed back to the surface and floated there, intact. We were just starting to ask each other, "Could any of those people inside still be alive?" when I woke up with a start. My unconscious had presented me with the perfect metaphor, if you like your metaphors straight from hell.
America is that plane. We took off like a big, beautiful bird and now we have crashed into the sea. The people inside - all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike - are perfectly intact, as if nothing has happened. But we're all dead in our seat belts now.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.