--> divine angst: comme ci, comme ça

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

comme ci, comme ça

I am pleased to see that Kerry has called Bush to concede. Not because I am happy he lost, but because to drag this thing out longer, á la 2000, would have been a very bad decision. The classy, and appropriate choice, is to concede in the face of (a) the popular vote and (b) statistically overwhelming evidence that Ohio will go to Bush.

That being said, a commentary:

I am not surprised Bush won. I think it would have been unusual to vote out an incumbent president in wartime. I've thought that all along.

I am surprised, however, at the reasons the pollsters are giving for Bush's win. I assumed people would vote him back in on the basis of the war. But morality—a vague, ambiguous term at best—seems to have been the driving issue for most of middle America. And that makes me sad.

What did they see in Kerry that was amoral or immoral? Was it the gay marriage thing? Even Bush said in recent days that he felt civil unions shouldn't be made illegal. Was it the faith thing—that Bush has the appearance of a solid evangelical while Kerry has the appearance of a lapsed Catholic?

I suppose it doesn't really matter what moral issue mattered to those voters in middle America. Fact is, 11 states voted to outlaw gay marriage yesterday. Fact is, an overwhelming number of Americans voted yesterday for a number of candidates and issues that are discriminatory. Fact is, we can plan on the next few years being a rather ugly, litigious period in the fight for rights for all people. And that makes me sad. It makes me sadder than the prospect of living through another Cold War-type era, one of constant conflict with the rest of the world (if not outright pitched warfare).

It's hard being an adult, knowing that your point of view, no matter how rational and moral and fair is opposed by a majority of your fellow countrypersons. It's hard to look forward over the next four years and wonder how much worse it will get.

But we can always remember to look beyond those four years, beyond the present. We will vote for another president. We will vote for Senators and Congressmen again; we will see our world continue to change. And all that we can hope is that we are all—our side and theirs—strong enough to continue to be rational, and moral, and fair.