The American voter wasn't so inherently stupid and/or passive, so deluded and/or misled.
The implication of all this blame is always, "it shouldn't have
been this way."
I'm thinking, maybe this is the way most American voters want
things right now. You can argue that since voter turnout was exceptionally
low, this Congressional sweep is not a mandate. But every adult learns that
by not making a decision, they are making a decision. The people who cared
So maybe - just maybe - instead of being stupid or misguided or
misled, voters voted with their hearts. What does that mean?
Maybe most Americans really want this kind of a government.
Maybe they are really scared, now that they have been attacked, now
that they know how many people hate them.
Maybe they want to strike back at someone, anyone, anywhere, to
reassert their feelings of power and importance in the world, to hurt
someone because they have been so hurt. Saddam Hussein is such an evil man
that it isn't hard to get the blood stirred up against him.
Maybe they are afraid of change right now. Maybe they think they
should stick with the devil they know, rather than the devil they don't.
Maybe they indiscriminately hate Arabs. Maybe they still blame them
for the humiliation of the Iranian hostage situation, and have harbored a
grudge ever since. Maybe it's easier to hate them even more after Sept. 11.
Maybe they are really racist at heart. After all, this is a country
with a history of capitalizing on prejudice and exclusion: damn Yankees; no
Irish need apply; no Jews allowed in this club; no colored people can use
this fountain; gay people are an abomination. Hating Arabs Indiscriminately
isn't such a stretch.
Maybe they think they have a God-given right - a manifest destiny,
so to speak - to attack and annex the resources of any country they choose.
Maybe they feel that since this country needs oil, and Iraq has oil, they
have the right to go out and grab it.
Maybe they will also support the reported next move - a strike
against Iran, or maybe Syria, or maybe both.
Maybe they believe America has the right to build an American
empire, or at least an American protectorate, starting in the Arab world.
Maybe they don't really care about protecting the environment.
After all, they buy SUVs by the thousands; domestic manufacturers have
stopped making small, fuel-efficient cars because so few people buy them.
They like to drive their snowmobiles into pristine places. They like to
build their homes on shaky promontories and over fault lines if the view is
good. They don't care that "in addition to the 816 known species that have
been lost in the last 500 years, there are 11,046 species currently
threatened with extinction." (The Boston Globe).
Maybe they like the convenience of sprawl, the huge supermarkets
selling chemically treated food, the big box stores, and the Wal-Marts
selling cheap clothing that falls apart within months.
Maybe what some people denigrate as "ticky-tacky" or "McMansions,"
others call "home sweet home."
Maybe they feel that abortion is really murder, and that women
should stay home, defer to their husbands and raise the kids. Maybe they
really believe that men should rule the world.
If it is true that a majority of people in America feel this way,
then the country is going to hell in a handbasket, and the election wasn't
the "fault" of the press, the Democrats, violence on television or the fact
that most Americans never leave America, and so they have no idea that real
people - people just like themselves - live in other countries, too.
"America is not a happy place," Will Hutton wrote in the London
Observer last week. "A generation of increasingly conservative policies has
shrunk the American middle and induced not just fantastic inequality but a
sharp decline in social mobility and opportunity. The U.S.'s social contract,
never more than minimalist, is now threadbare. Consumer confidence is low;
job insecurity high."
Hutton went on the say that the vast majority of Americans are not
social conservatives or closet racists who want "the clock put back over
women's rights, the environment and race."
Maybe he's wrong. What do we do then?
My love for America is passionate. I would probably die fighting
for the values of democracy, freedom, justice for all and equality of
opportunity. I grew up on those values. I love my home, my community, my
friends and my work. I love my life.
But if this is what Americans really want, this crazy, doomed march
to empire, to war, to destruction abroad and poverty and devastation at
home, then count me out.
I love America too much to leave it, but I'm afraid it's leaving
me. And that leaves me in despair.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture,
politics, economics and travel.
Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.