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I have to say I am rather disappointed, but not surprised, by the amount of people who want Kerry to continue to fight Bush on the election results. The conspiracy theories are already flying around and disgruntled democrats are eating them up like heroin coated m&ms (melts in your mouth, not in your veins).

The most prominent theory is that states with electric voting all gave Bush a mysterious 5% boost. Of course, these results were gathered using exit polls, which are ALWAYS 100% ACCURATE (/ sarcasm). Interestingly enough, MSNBC apparently reported that the reason the exit polls were so off were that some people were ashamed to admit that they were voting for Bush (which is a whole other post for a different day. 1. How could you vote for a man that makes you feel ashamed? And 2. Our society makes people feel bad for voting their conscience – that’s not a good sign).

But to all your conspiracy theory, tin hat wearing, die-hard fighters for democracy, I beg you – please let it go. I can understand that the wounds are still fresh and you need time to lick them. But please, please don’t spend your time on this. Kerry conceded the election. Of course, he did concede before all the states counted in, but he also understood that America cannot afford another 2000/Florida debacle. Do you think that was an easy choice for him? Do you think he was prepared to have to do that? Did you listen to how hoarse and how tired his voice sounded when he gave his speech? Badgering him to continue a fight (a fight that he was well prepared to face if there was good cause) is just cruel.

Someone on my friends list said that “THere is no "good fight left" It's merely waiting for the next four years to end.” And that is not true at all. First off, we have 2 years to prepare for the next senate race. Instead of using your energy towards mean-spirited and destructive endevours that would send this country into months of confusion that we can’t handle, channel it into changing the senate. Work on getting more democrats in office. The more democrats who represent your ideals in office, the less chance Bush has of damaging any of our rights.

Secondly, become more active in your local governments. State rights have more power than we give them credit for. A prime example of this is California who, despite Bush saying that the federal government will never give money to stem cell research, passed Prop 71, which grants the state THREE BILLION DOLLARS to stem cell researchers over the next 10 years. That was done by people acting locally, and you can bet that it will change the world.

I have seen the work that many of you have done already. People came out in DROVES to vote, and that’s largely due to you guys. I know it’s hard and I understand how disappointed and dejected you must feel, but look at the power you have! Look at the ability you guys posses! The efforts of so many have motivated me to NOT give up hope and work to make sure that your issues, your rights, your freedoms are not taken away. Don’t fight against one man, but look for ways to succeed.
Whether we like it or not, Bush IS our president, and it would behoove us to support him. That doesn’t mean we have to AGREE with him, but it does mean we should hold his feet to the flames and make sure that he is representing us the way that he SHOULD.

We could spend the next four years huddled in bomb shelters, praying that some how, a lone candidate will come a long that will solve all our problems for us and erase the damage that Bush has caused, or we could actively look for our own solutions. We get the government we deserve, after all.

People have been calling me delusional for having hope. But if you believe that one mortal human can magically solve all of our problems and all you have to do is vote for them, well…Hi pot! My name is Kettle! YOU’RE BLACK! Our nation needs a president, not a savior.

In closing, I would like to quote from Emerson’s third essay, “Compensation,” which is a truly inspiring read at this time:

The wise man throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point. The wound cicatrizes and falls off from him like a dead skin, and when they would triumph, lo! he has passed on invulnerable.

We do not believe there is any force in to-day to rival or recreate that beautiful yesterday. We linger in the ruins of the old tent, where once we had bread and shelter and organs, nor believe that the spirit can feed, cover, and nerve us again. We cannot again find aught so dear, so sweet, so graceful. But we sit and weep in vain. The voice of the Almighty saith, 'Up and onward for evermore!' We cannot stay amid the ruins. Neither will we rely on the new; and so we walk ever with reverted eyes, like those monsters who look backwards.

So let look to the new – let us look to the future with hope and determination that by working together, we can get the government we deserve and have earned.
 
 
 
 
 
 
You're awesome Meg. It's so difficult to face the juggernaut of partisanship on either side, and try to advocate moderation and optimism. But, you're doing your part and I appreciate that.
Thank you - I am looking for ways to succeed and make positive changes. I just know that if the 48% of the population who voted for Kerry worked together, we could really make some changes!
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LOL that's classic. BUT IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!!! The republicans bolstered Kerry (secretly, of course) because Dean was too much of a threat to Bush! They put Kerry at the chopping block so Bush would win!!

SEE?!?!?!? THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!!!

:-P
Good post
Thank you!

You should make one about how bad Canada is so that people won't try to flee there :-P
Can you start with the weather being the same as what they have in Buffalo, NY or Bismark, ND or Seattle, WA except even further north?
Kudos Meg. You have a great attitude. And you are right, people can make a great deal of progress by changing local government. Pay attention, folks.

I am one of the few that never really buyed into that Cicero line: 'All politics are local.' But there certainly is a lot of power there. Democrats made gains in Minnesota and California, because more blue voters showed up this time.
Local government is where it begins. If more people would focus there attention to city/county/state, I think they would understand how much power local government has, and what changes they could make in their own back yard.

Not everything has to happen on a federal level. I mean, Minnesota alone isn't going to stop the war, but I'm sure if we made a stand something could happen.
Another important thing for progressive activists to remember is that these Republican victories did not develop in a vacuum. They are the flowering of twenty years of work by the Religious Right, building candidates & volunteer support & donations - all starting at local levels, all over the nation. They started by getting their candidates on town councils, school boards, then county commissions, & on up.

This is exactly what progressive activists need to do. So, chin up, everyone! There's tons of work to be done.

BTW, welcome to the ljdq. Glad to have you aboard.
Exactly - the republicans worked to get where they are, and now we have to work to make sure it all evens out. I think that a lot of people feel that they should simply be allowed their rights, but what I also think is that they're forgetting that most of the rights we already have now were fought for too.

And thanks for the welcome! I had a great time answering the questions this week - you guys do great work!
America cannot afford another 2000/Florida debacle.

I'm not sure exactly what this means, since I feel there is too much at stake to not exhaust any reasonable attempts to get things right. Plus, the Florida fiasco in 2000 ended up increasing voter turnout and resulted in more caution this time around. Having said that, I agree that challenging the vote count in Ohio is not a reasonable notion.

The rest of your post is very well said. Despite the GOP having control of the Legislature and the White House, we can still do a lot to make them accountable to us. They are our representatives, whether we like it or not. And the state and local levels have much more influence on our daily lives than the President does. An example here in St. Louis is that four proposed changes to the city charter were defeated. They would have taken away the number of elected officials and made them appointed, removing power from the voters in an attempt to "streamline" the city government.

But yes, well said.
What I meant is that if Kerry had fought it, it could have been more months of confusion, of not knowing who our president is. In this time, especially with the war, we don't need that uncirtancy.

I do believe that we should continue to make sure that our voting system is accurate - I agree with investigating that, but I don't think that people should badger Kerry into continuing to fight. He knows when he's beat.

And that's a great example of local politics at work. I grew up in a city where local politics were very important and I've seen the results (both good and bad) of people in action.
Building off of what you've just said here (making sure our voting system is accurate), I think there is some value about people being outraged over what they've claimed has happened in Ohio. If people have been systematically denied their right to vote, I think everyone should be outraged. Because of the people who are angry and loud about it, the average person hears about the problem. Then it's up to them whether or not they want to believe it. But without people being loud or angry about it, no one's eyes would have even been on Florida, this year or after the polls closed in 2000.

And really, the worst thing about FL in 2000 wasn't that Gore contested the votes, it's that votes weren't being counted in the first place. People were all up in arms about the recount, but I think they should see it as a good thing. He was saying that yes, your vote counts, and we will have people take a long look at these screwy ballots to try to determine exactly who you were trying to vote for. If he would've thrown in the towel, that would send the message that, well, it was close, but I'm not going to have the ballots rechecked for the sake of saving face/uniting the country.

That being said, things are different this year. The gap between candidates in Ohio is a good deal wider than it was in FL in 2000. In fact, I think Kerry did the right thing when he conceded but still emphasized that everyone's vote counted. However, if there are concerns with partisan efforts to deny minorities and others the right to vote, they still should be looked into. And people should still be outraged at the thought.

People like MA have invested a lot of time into this election. Far more than you or I have. I don't think it's useful to deny them their anger. Maybe it's not worthwhile for Kerry to continue to fight, but it really is worthwhile to try to bring out any injustices that have occurred in this process to try to put a stop to them.
And I'm not saying that swe shouldn't look at the voting situation (such as the fact that hundreds of registered republicans in Cook county somehow just disappeared off the rosters...) but I am saying that we should look at it for equality's sake, and not the conspiracy that OMG! BUSH CHEATED AGAIN! KERRY WON!!!

Kerry was prepared to fight if there was good evidence. In the end he knew when he was beat, and I think others should take that to heart.

What I do think is sad is the Kerry conceded before ALL the ballots were counted, ignoring New Mexico and Iowa because they didn't have enough electoral votes (another reason to look into modifying the electoral college).

But clinging to the hope that this was Bush cheating again - that's like Genevieve from The Devine Secrets of the YaYa sisterhood clinging to a false hope that her son was alive and spending so much time trying to prove it that it drove her insane, simply because she could not face reality, no matter how hard it was.
This is the best thing I've read since Kerry conceded. It's hard not to be down in the dumps or get too cynical, but we can't just sit around and lick our wounds forever.

If you don't mind me.. I might end up paraphrashing your writings tonight at the Open Mic and get people back up in spirits.

But if you'd rather come yourself.. it's at 7:30 on Riverside, right across the street from Hard Times Cafe at MAPPS COFFEE AND TEA. :D

come spread the word!
I would LOVE to come, but I have plans tonight. I wish I had heard about this sooner! :(

But please - spread the word of hope. There's a lot of sad people in town right now who need to be reminded that the work they've already done has had an impact, and the work they could do tomorrow will mean even more.
well dear, this is a weekly occurence.

Would you wish to come next week?
I would love to come next week! That would be a lot of fun I think :)

And thanks for the heads up!
Great post. I'll admit that I am a little bitter (and I feel that is fully justified because yes, the wounds are still fresh), but there's no use in staying angry. Instead, we all have to work together and come up with SOLUTIONS rather than bitching about the problem. Totally true about local politics -- I am really disturbed how little attention anyone is paying to any of the other issues. When I recieved my absentee ballot in the mail, I had already made the decision to vote for John Kerry for president. However, I spent SEVERAL HOURS carefully reading through the information for every single proposition and elected position to make sure that I was making an informed decision. If you look at the results of the election in California, the state remains fairly progressive (for example, Senator Boxer, who is liberal even within the Democratic party, got reelected by a landslide). On a national level, I am more troubled by the fact that both houses of congress are Republican now and that 11 states voted against gay marriage than I am by the fact that Bush got reelected.

By the way, when I made the comment about a 3rd year of JET or grad school in Canada in my LJ, I was not being serious. I am definitely considering grad school in Canada (and am toying with the idea of a 3rd year of JET, but probably won't do it), but only because there is an amazing program at one school at which I can't find an American equivalent (there aren't many scholars who specialize in what I want to study, and I am down with the idea of living in Canada because the culture is so similar to American culture, especially when you compare the two to the cultural setting in which I am living in now). What I do next year will not be affected by American politics. Living my own life is too important to me for that.
THere's a big difference between going to Canada to fulfill your education and going to canada simply because of American Politics. I think going to grad school is a good reason to move! I'm more upset with people who are leaving because they don't feel that America is worth anything any more.

I think the reason why you and I are in agreement about local politics stems from where we were raised. You remember how big city politics in Davis were (even though some of them were REALLY crazy).

I, too, am upset with 11 states baning gay marrages. But what's important is that State Law can be changed by the will of the people. I think a lot of people neglect that part. I think those laws will change in time. I have a feeling that the reason they passed was because of the atmosphere - there's a lot of fear going around towards people who are different. As long as people continue to push for what's right (but do so in a manner that is non-threatening) those laws will be changed.

And congrats on making progress in your gradschool search! :) I know it's stressful, but I also know you are VERY qualified :)