by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
November 4, 2004
WE TRIED. WE FAILED. WE MUST TRY ONCE AGAIN.
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- It's now official. We are no longer a reality-based country.
A majority of Americans voters apparently want decades of perpetual global war. They want to see their sons and daughters sacrificed on the altar of the neo-conservative dream of an American empire in the Middle East. They want more giveaways to corporations and tax cuts for the rich.
They want to see Social Security privatized and see their retirement funds gambled away in the stock market. They want our air and water polluted and our natural resources plundered. They want to see more Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and a federal judiciary that will likely turn the legal clock back to the Gilded Age.
In short, a majority of American voters must really want their nation to be a corrupt one-party theocracy run by a president who thinks he's on a mission from God has total disdain for democracy, the rule of law and truth itself.
I found it hard to believe this could really happen again.
But it did.
A majority of Americans voted to affirm a policy of lies and deception. Truth and logic didn't matter. Common sense didn't matter. A majority of Americans wanted to believe that President George W. Bush will keep us safe and prosperous, despite abundant evidence to the contrary.
So now what?
Fingerpointing and blame aren't effective strategies, although it does feel good to engage in it for a little while. It's easy to say that the majority of Americans are clueless morons and voted to have someone like them to be their president. It's equally easy to say that the Democratic Party needs to pull its head out of its collective butt and get rid of the blockheads who have run the party into the ground.
However, the primal screaming has to stop sometime and the hard work of building an effective opposition must begin to stop the worst planks of the Republican Party platform from becoming reality.
It's telling that the real energy in the Democratic Party didn't come from the party, but from groups like MoveOn and the rest of the independent left-of-center organizations that popped up in the last couple of years. They raised the money and mobilized support in the vacuum left by a party that has become as beholden to the big money as the GOP.
I still believe the biggest mistake the Democrats made was not having the courage to launch an antiwar campaign. Howard Dean energized liberals by having the guts to take on President Bush and his illegal, immoral war in Iraq when everyone else was cowering. His organization provided a new model for the Democrats to follow, but the party leadership decided they could do better with Sen. John Kerry - someone who voted for the war and never gave a fully convincing reason to liberals as to why we should for vote him other than that he wasn't President Bush.
They can't blame Ralph Nader this time. In the end, the Democrats paid dearly for destroying Dean and ignoring his supporters.
I've written this many times over the past few years, but it needs to be said over and over again. The Democrats need to offer a clear and principled alternative to conservatism. They need to shift the political discussion away from God, gays and guns and toward health care, education, the environment and an economy that benefits all people and not just the rich.
I still believe in the old-time Democratic religion as articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that the Democrats "must be a party of liberal thought, of planned action, of enlightened international outlook, and of the greatest good to the greatest number of our citizens."
But once again, the chickens voted for Colonel Sanders.
At the end of last year, in the midst of the most polarized political climate since the Civil War, I wrote that "in a time when it seems as if all the worst instincts of humanity are triumphant, hope is a radical ideal. We have to believe that our nation and the world can become a better place. We have no choice but to embrace the hope that tomorrow will be better than today."
I may be in despair right now and want to hop in my car and drive to Montreal, but I know that really isn't an option. We knew that when Nov. 3 came around, hard work was waiting for us. Now, the job is going to be even harder. The prospect of four more years of President Bush is horrifying, but we can't give in now.
I'm ready to fight to take back my country. Are you?
Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 20 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.