|Wednesday, November 3, 2004
10:02 - Combine emotions in large bowl; mix thoroughly
Well, that's it then: it's all over. Everything we've all been working toward for the past three years or so, regardless of which side of the aisle we supported: it's finally done. This is the finish line. Of course it's another starting line too, but not after a breather.
I'm both encouraged and disappointed by the results. Disappointed because 51-48% really is nobody's idea of a "landslide", and because it still means half of America disagrees pretty strongly with the other half. But then again, historically speaking, a margin of 3% is nothing to sneeze at, as strange as that sounds. I really should be very reassured by the fact that the popular vote is so firmly in Bush's favor, especially since it so neatly defuses not just any complaints of "selected not elected!" for this year, but renders the ones from 2000 just so much hot air. Anyone who believes Bush never should have won in 2000 now has to swallow the idea that he won over a bunch of Americans who hadn't voted for him back then, and convinced them to do so now.
It's still no "mandate", though. This is no consensus.
True, we've never had consensus; we've always been a country at our own throat, a house divided against itself to one degree or another, my earlier agonizing notwithstanding. We've always had division like this to deal with, and the Founding Fathers themselves had their own solutions to it—namely the Electoral College, among other things. I mean, say you're a blue-state voter. What sort of thought process leads you to be able to look at a map like this and contend that it represents a victory?
But that's how the electoral system works. It restores the balance in a country divided between rural and urban areas, cosmopolitan port cities and agrarian farm communities. If all we had to go on was the popular vote, all those red states would vanish into the noise, and we wouldn't have even the psychological sense that geographically, a big majority of the country still thinks far differently than the city-dwellers on the coasts do.
I admit I don't fully understand all the implications of the electoral system. But I do know that it's there for a reason, and it's there to address certain issues that are as relevant today as they were in 1789. Those guys were smart—far smarter than me. I'll defer to their insight.
And I would almost have been just as pleased with Bush winning the popular vote handily, but losing the electoral—because then we'd have the satisfaction of seeing people try to justify their earlier statements that the electoral college was outmoded and needed to be abolished because it's so clearly unfair.
But I do say almost. Because it's clear that intellectual consistency is not among a lot of people's priorities.
Charles Johnson, for example, has started a post where readers can submit examples of the worst electoral derangement spotted at Leftist sites across the Net; and Stephen Green has posted the definitive Nelson Muntz "HA-Ha!" gloating list; and for the most part, the people on it are exactly the people who deserve to be there. Moore, Soros, McAuliffe, Rather—the movers and shakers, the ones who dedicated their lives and their fortunes to what's now a vanished cause, and whose dishonesty and perilous rabble-rousing has caused our democracy to seriously be shaken on its foundation. True, no riots—but plenty of cases of slashed bus tires and sign-waving mob scenes outside polling places, all fomented by private funding of a truly loathsome campaign that if it hadn't had that support behind it would have struggled to break the 40% mark. I think these guys are who are primarily to credit (or blame, as you prefer) for Kerry's getting as far as he did. They almost won.
But it's the others, the ones who bought into their propaganda, our friends and co-workers and colleagues, whose disappointment is not at all gratifying to see. People whose opinions I've come to respect and whose company I enjoy who say things like:
It is 9:35 local time here in Houston, Texas. The early results show a terrifying leaning toward placing George Bush back into the White House. I state, unequivocally and for the record -- and yes, you Secret Service twits, this means you too -- that, should I awaken tomorrow morning and discover that Bush has usurped this throne for a second time, there will be a truly fascinating LiveJournal entry appearing later on Wednesday afternoon.
Be careful -- I may take you up on that. "America" no longer exists, and the dream of what America was supposed to be is dying a horrible death. I'm already working on my French, as well as saying, "eh?"
It's a beautiful day ... It's hard to believe it's the first day of Armageddon.
Well, here's to praying that this election is actually ran totally legit... albeit we all know Shrub is going to cheese-dick it and steal the election anyway... the bastard.
These quotes are not pleasant to read. I thought today would be a day of relief and bliss, but really it's not—every one of these quotes I run across from someone I otherwise enjoy being around or talking with, I'm all the more reminded of the depth to which this unaccountable strain of Moore-itis has enveloped even totally rational people, to the point where no conspiracy theory is too outrageous, no factual evidence hard enough to convince them that maybe their outlook on the world is what needs adjusting, and other people have figured out something they haven't.
It's going to be a while before the wounds that these past three years have dealt to us heal; but the good news, the best news, is that the President is no longer subject to them. We can pick up where we left off. We can resume the task that's before us; the green light is lit, and the people have spoken. The bastards.
I'll choose to be encouraged by the results. Last night, reader Christopher M. mailed:
Whatever happens--and I have high hopes--I feel like a foot soldier in a historic battle. Over the top, I know, but that's how it feels. Never felt this way about any election before.
It's not over the top. It's very accurate. Every one of us who has spend these past few years writing what we feel about politics— whether on the Left side of the aisle, the Right, or neither—and submitted it for peer review and honed his or her opinions based on the unfolding facts and independent research and study has broken a sizable chunk off the long-standing edifice that is the idea that Americans are thoughtless, sheeplike morons who vote the way they're instructed to and don't question or stray from their prescribed party lines. It's clear from the very explosion of the blogosphere that people in this country have a great, unslakeable thirst for pursuing the Truth and for disseminating it to all our friends and anyone else who'll listen. We're active players in this game once again. We're taking back control, to an extent unseen since the days when people shouted from soapboxes in village squares. We—all the people who have chosen to write our way through the campaigns and the election, whichever side we chose, and all the people who gathered what they read to help convince their friends and families and to solidify the all-important why of their own beliefs—are now veterans, and everyone who's on the winning side has a very real share in the credit for that victory.
That's the extent of the triumphalism in which I'll indulge. But I believe it's justifed. I believe it's a vindication of everything this country stands for, irate LiveJournalers notwithstanding. Our Republic rode the ragged edge of risking its own life over these past few months, quite seriously—we may never fully realize how much danger it was in—but now, this morning, it's arguably stronger than it's been in a very long time.
There's a light cool cleansing rain falling this morning... and it is a beautiful day.