Thursday, November 04, 2004

What Is This America?

Like Publius at Legal Fiction, I have been alternating between thoughts of anger, frustration and despair on the one hand, and a renewed sense of purpose and determination on the other. There is no doubt that Tuesday night took a lot out of me, both mentally and physically. Still, I look at this crisis as an opportunity, as I have expressed in comments on other posts. This will be the turning point for the progressive movement in America. Considering that the conservatives began to plan their long term strategy 30 years ago, we have only just begun to fight. The good news is, it took them 30 years to define the terms in a way that appeal to most Americans. It will not take us that long because truth and values are on our side. Publius does a good job of balancing the tension and coming out with a positive productive message.

That being said, a reader recently sent me an e-mail giving voice to the frustration and anger that many progressive have been feeling. I have always maintained that I will post e-mails from readers if and when they raise issues that merit discussion. Reader D-Wall did just that. While the views expressed by D-Wall are not necessarily the views held by TIA, this rant is worth posting and discussing - even if for nothing more than a much needed venting. Sometimes you need to vent before you can renew your efforts. So here is D-Wall's opinion:

Goodbye to optimism. Goodbye to hope. Goodbye to faith. Yes folks, a watershed moment in our country's history is upon us. Yesterday, the largest voter turn out in the history of US presidential elections raised it's voice, and by a small (but sizable) majority said, "four more years." Four more years of war mongering. Four more years of rewarding the wealthiest 2% while knee capping the rest of us. Four more years of global alienation. Four more years of "faith based" decision making. Four more years of overt homophobia. Four more years to try and overturn Roe v. Wade. Four more years of rising health care costs, rising living expenses and shrinking yearly income. Four more years to allow the pharmaceutical industry to run our health care into the ground. Four more years of infuriating the Arab world. Four more years of living in fear...

There's an ideological civil war raging in this country. We, who live in NY or LA or Chicago, etc. - we live surrounded by many like minded friends, family members and co-workers. Some are more politically engaged/aware than others, but for the most part, as we look around us, we find that most of the people we know and co-exist with subscribe to the same basic ideologies. And as a result, we're largely unaware that the majority of this country believes we're living immoral lives. They believe that George W. Bush was chosen by God to run this country. They believe that gay people don't have the right to marry. They believe that abortion should be illegal. They believe that God, or more specifically, their God is running this country - is calling the shots, has a hand in all political, social and "moral" decisions. I ask you this - when did the Republican Party win the monopoly on God and morality?

Why does the man who is recklessly killing thousands of innocent Iraqis and putting our own young poor people in harms way have the final say on morality? Why is it more "immoral" to want to marry the man or woman you love than it is to wage an unjust, financially irresponsible war? Why is it more "immoral" to give women the choice to abort a fetus that they couldn't look after than it is to murder thousands of children in Iraq? Why is it more "immoral" to want to separate church and state than it is to allow genocide to happen in Sudan? What happened to this country? I went to bed last night honestly wondering if I wanted to live here. I love New York. I love my friends. I love my family. I love the opportunities afforded to me living here. I love being able to make music in the greatest city in the world. But last night the majority of American's told the minority of American's to fuck off. They told us that they love Fox News and a president who "knows how to lead." They told us that they believe in the war in Iraq. They told us that they hate the New York Times and Michael Moore and gay people. That in spite of the fact that our economy is in the toilet, that we're engaged in a war we can't win that we never should have started, and that we're more at risk for a terrorist attack than ever before - that we should "stay the course."

The course? What fucking course? The course to the end of the world? Is that what this is about? Some self fulfilling apocalyptic prophecy? "If we create a perfect climate for the apocalypse, then the bible was right." Religion was the largest factor in this election. Bush won because twice the amount of religious Hispanic American people and religious Jews voted for Bush this time than they did last time. I was raised Jewish - though I am not a practicing Jew - actually, right now, I'm practicing really fucking hard not to be a Jew and I'm getting really fucking good at it. But, how can you be Jewish and vote for Bush? Because he blindly supports Israel? That is the most ass-backwards logic I've ever heard. Follow me here people - America blindly supports Israel. Thereby infuriating the Arab world. Making Israel more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. More Israeli Jews die. More suicide bombings. More wars in the Middle East. No peace.

But, no, I'm sure you guys are right. Vote for Bush. I'm sure I'm just a gay-French-cheese eating-wine drinking-immoral-hedonistic heathen whose going straight to hell. Well, I've got news for you America, we're already there. This is hell. Thanks for voting to insure that our children will pay for these mistakes for the majority of their lives. Thanks for speaking out against education, health care, social security, civil rights, global diplomacy, homeland security. You guys are right. We don't need any of those things. We need four more years of Bush. How's about we let the red states have Bush and the blue states can get Clinton back in power. Or Barak Obama. Or some other godless, Communist, faggot, Jew, heretic.

This is the chorus to a song my band plays called "the mess":

"You're going to live to regret it/Never forget it/The Mess that you left here/It gets worse if you let it/You'll finally get it/The Mess that you left here"

That's the only positive about this whole fucking disaster - if things are truly going to get worse - then those of you who got us here and didn't vote to turn things around are going to live to regret it. History will remember you. Future generations will remember you. You'll be a big red boil on the ass of the time/space continuum.

What is this America?

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