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Reporting from the state of denial, soon to be the state of nihilism - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Reporting from the state of denial, soon to be the state of nihilism
I was at physical therapy this morning when it seemed that Kerry called Bush to concede. This, randomly overheard and unargued, pretty much sums it up:

"They're saying Kerry conceded, but it's a Republican station, so it might not be true. I mean, Kerry wouldn't do that to us, would he?"

EDIT: In the same vein, a kid just came to the desk and said, "Is it true that Kerry conceded?" When I allowed that it was, his balled his fists and said, "Damn! Wuss!" Not so much with the Boston pride today, though I feel a great deal of pity.

:headdesk:

I'd rather not have an eleven day gap again, thanks. It's over. It's time to end the campaigning and get back to the work of running the country. Okay?

And of course, this was followed by a five minute rant on the street by someone who heard me say I was at the Kerry rally last night (and therefore would sympathize) about how she just couldn't figure it out. And then finally, where they're taking down the stage, a pained cry, "All this, and it's for nothing!"

I'm waiting for the whispered reports of vote-stealing to start. As it would have on the other side if Kerry had won Ohio.

Can't we all just stop now?
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Comments
gryffin23 From: gryffin23 Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what bothers me most is that I don't think there was any vote stealing. This is what the American people want and that's what I can't come to grips with.
ivylore From: ivylore Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Same here.
may_child From: may_child Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
If there was vote-stealing, I doubt it was enough to really make any difference.

So I'm left with a simple, depressing, unappetizing fact: the American people honestly want four more years of Bush.

I despise the man and his policies. I think he is quietly leading us into a far-right "Christian" theocracy, and it frustrates me that people either don't know or don't care. But screeching about media conspiracies and stolen votes and so forth won't do a damn bit of good.
akilika From: akilika Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, you don't know how many positive-points Kerry gets from me for actually conceding. ^^;;
sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Me too. Though I think part of it was realizing that the more the 150,000 gap figure was slung around, the more impatient people would get with his thinking he could close it. But yes, good on him. New England politeness came through in the end :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
And it had to be hard for him, because not only is he giving up the job, his supporters really do feel betrayed somehow, as if keeping the count going would magically reverse things.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, definitely it did. I admire him for not letting it drag on, which must have been awfully tempting. It's easy from an outsider's perspective to point out "Hey, it's unlikely as a Martian invasion and you're just making yourself look like a poor loser" which was how I was thinking of it earlier this morning, but if you're the actual person experiencing it, you'd be dying to wait until every. single. ballot. was done in the slight hope of a miracle. I think of it as being like a long-shot medical procedure (IVF, ahem, ahem). You know the odds are really against you, but that doesn't keep you from wanting to fight till the bitter end, and to hell with what people say or the money and resources that might be wasted.
sreya From: sreya Date: November 3rd, 2004 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I honestly have to say that I was impressed with Kerry today. I didn't expect either candidate to concede today, even if it really HAD been a landslide in one direction or another.

I know there are Kerry supporters who are going to be upset, but you know what? Kerry's exemplifying our system. We have a peaceful democratic process, in which power changes hands (or stays where it is) in a cooperative manner. And I'm beyond thrilled that someone finally remembered that.

Hmm, must remember this as my mantra when I brave my aunt's family for Thanksgiving this year....
shellebelle93 From: shellebelle93 Date: November 3rd, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kerry gets major dignity and wonderfulness points from me and mine for bowing out when he did.

This *proves* he loved the country best, not to let us go through that uncertainty for weeks and weeks.

I voted for the right man. It's a shame that he didn't win.
may_child From: may_child Date: November 3rd, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Same here. I think he is twice the leader, and man, that Bush is, and he proved it by conceding. His call for unity over divisiveness will, I am afraid, go unheeded, as Bush is all about divisiveness. But at least Kerry made the call.

And while initially I got caught up in the "Kerry should fight to the bitter end!" sentiment, I stepped back and realized that that wouldn't have done a bit of good. He lost. He conceded. It's over.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: November 3rd, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Forgive me for butting in

But why do we commend him for doing what he had to do?

He lost the election, he knew it, he conceded. Yes, he did the right thing, but no one's patting me on the back for feeding my kids today because it's the right thing to do.

I'm not being sarcastic at all. I'm just completely mystified at this.
may_child From: may_child Date: November 3rd, 2004 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Forgive me for butting in

He didn't "have" to do anything. He could have refused to concede until all the votes were counted, in the slim chance that he could eke out a victory or a tie. But rather than adding divisiveness to an already bitterly divided nation, he conceded.

I severely doubt Bush would've done the same thing if the situation were reversed.
leeflower From: leeflower Date: November 3rd, 2004 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly I understand why he conceeded, and he's a better man than Bush ever will be, because he didn't try to snick in on a technicality when he knew the popular vote wasn't in his favor.

I feel upset and betrayed, but not by Kerry. I see this country polarizing so much that it's practically two co-existing nations. There's no unity. People have more party pride than national pride. I begin to wonder if it wouldn't just be better for everyone if those two nations just went their seperate ways. I just don't see how any of this can ever be reconciled so that the government is really running the way the majority wants it to. We're a moderate nation run by the far-out fanatics of whatever party's in power. why can't we just be moderate?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 3rd, 2004 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because the baby boomers are going to keep fighting Vietnam and the culture wars on a scorched earth policy until all of us get fried. And because moderates don't give good soundbites, so the media doesn't listen. Also, the media thinks it's moderate, and that's a problem.

If moderate people want to re-take the country, we're going to have to re-take the major parties. And that means finding each other and putting time into politics and dealing with a lot of crazy people, and most of us are practical and much more deeply invested in the business of living.
lothi From: lothi Date: November 3rd, 2004 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
most of us are practical and much more deeply invested in the business of living.

Which to me begs the question - why do people get into politics in the first place? Because they genuinely want to serve, or because they have an axe to grind, and can't get on with living without trying to force everyone to live and/or think the way they do?

Sorry, feeling a bit cynical at the moment.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 3rd, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
you no peaple expected the calls for unitey and talk of the countrey comeing to gether, but thay realy didn't expect it to be practiced. evrey body had marshaled there lawyers and prepard there post election calenges. thay were ready to refight the election in the courts just like the last one. so every body is just plesntly suprised that the princpal that hay i'v lost and now its time to get on with life has come out on top.

i no i thought those days were over.
From: peppa_minto Date: November 3rd, 2004 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel like the only LJ member that is simply ecstatic.

And I get to vote in '08. Huzzah.
From: peppa_minto Date: November 3rd, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I am just going to add that I am glad he conceded without making us wait six weeks, like las time. Of course, that was much closer.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: November 3rd, 2004 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
And now from the right, lazypadawan!

When Clinton was re-elected in 1996, a lot of conservatives said, "Geez, how could they re-elect that sleazeball?!" In retrospect it was easy to see why. The economy was doing well, Clinton took a lot of Republican issues off the table, and Bob Dole, bless his heart, had nothing to offer besides the fact he wasn't Bill Clinton.

I'm sure Kerry was under tremendous pressure to not bow out too soon but he knew when to say when and I give him credit for that. I do wish by reading some things people have had to say on their LJs that they would've taken a cue from him. People have said things that are incredibly mean-spirited and nasty not only about the president but the voters in general. About this country. I realize emotions run high and some of these people are kids, but still. I've kept the squeeing and rejoicing to just among fellow Republicans/likeminded folks because I don't want to gloat or rub it in the faces of those who voted for Kerry. But get a hold of yourselves! These guys in Washington all know at the end of the day, it's only politics.
may_child From: may_child Date: November 4th, 2004 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I do wish by reading some things people have had to say on their LJs that they would've taken a cue from him. People have said things that are incredibly mean-spirited and nasty not only about the president but the voters in general.

And I clearly recall the Republican hate spewed all over Bill, Hillary, and even Chelsea Clinton (Rush Limbaugh called Chelsea the "White House Dog" on his TV show) for nearly a decade. What goes around comes around, so I find it hard to feel any horror at any criticism or bashing of Bush.

Similarly, I find it hard to have even a shred of sympathy for Ann Coulter when she complains about people throwing pies at her. Wasn't she the one who said that the best way to talk to a liberal is with a baseball bat? Perhaps she ought to wonder if she isn't reaping a bit of what she's sown for years.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 4th, 2004 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
You'd think after all that, though, they'd want to prove themselves the better people by not repeating it!
may_child From: may_child Date: November 4th, 2004 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but one can only turn the other cheek so many times before one gets sick of it being slapped away.

The likes of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the right-wing talking heads have been bashing, insulting, belittling, demonizing, and rousing hatred toward liberals for years. Decades, really. They shouldn't be all that surprised if they get back some of what they've been dishing out.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: November 4th, 2004 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
As a 36 yo, I've now (officially) been voting half of my life. Yes, the guy I voted for (for President) won. I'm now 2 for 5 in presidential elections, so I don't have much experience in backing winners. I'm a registered Independent. I was hoping to get rid of Arlen Spector this election, but he won again. Rats.

Look, we've had good and bad presidents and a lot of mediocre ones. For anyone who is depressed or being dragged down into the mire of fear, go crack open some good history books. Read about the various leaders of the past and take comfort in the system. Presidents just don't have THAT much power, Kids. They're here today and gone tomorrow, and the country continues. Bush had a Republican majority in all three branches of government, and he couldn't even get his ban on partial-birth-abortion to stick. They just don't have that much power.

Regardless of who sleeps in the White House - YOUR life doesn't depend upon it. You're not going to be drafted. (The two democrats who were trying to do it got voted down.) You might lose your job, but you can find another. (We lost three jobs in Clinton's "booming" administration, and my husband has a Chemical Engineering degree.) If you're desperate about certain issues - you can do SO MUCH MORE on the State level than on the national level.

Life is a hell of a lot of work. Good times come and good times go. Regardless of who is "in power" one can make one's life happy. It's a choice to be a contented person or a miserable one. If the worst thing that ever happens in life is that one's guy loses the presidency, that person will be so very unbelievably LUCKY indeed.

What saddens me is that the 18-20-somethings didn't seem to turn out. With all the Rock the Vote stuff, and the t-shirts, and anti-war protesting, where the heck were they, eh? The answer - I'm sorry to say - is that *apparently* most of them care more about what ideals they hold than actually doing anything about those ideals. That is baffling to me. It appears that they think it's more important to hold the same "opinion" and spout the same rhetoric as they hear their favorite movie stars or rock stars spout, but they see no purpose in hauling their young bums to the polls. THAT depressed me terribly. If they behaved as passionately as they want people to think they are, they can actually DO things in their neighborhoods, counties, and states. But, it seems they're not of the "doing" type. As I said - that's what really depresses me.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 4th, 2004 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It appears that they think it's more important to hold the same "opinion" and spout the same rhetoric as they hear their favorite movie stars or rock stars spout, but they see no purpose in hauling their young bums to the polls. THAT depressed me terribly.

I don't know if it depressed me as much as it angered me. They've been haranguing me on the street for ages, screaming in LJ, and generally demanding all kinds of things from the government... so why the hell aren't they voting? Didn't anyone ever teach them that they've now forfeited their moral right to complain about it?

Anyway, the whole paranoia about Bush has always bugged me, just as it bugged me from the right about Clinton. They're guys. They're not demigods, and they are certainly not omnipotent. What the president thinks has influence, but not actual power--that lies in the legislature.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: November 4th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Anyway, the whole paranoia about Bush has always bugged me, just as it bugged me from the right about Clinton. They're guys. They're not demigods, and they are certainly not omnipotent. What the president thinks has influence, but not actual power--that lies in the legislature.

Yup. The Far Right can't admit that Clinton did some good things, the Far Left can't admit that Bush isn't all bad. They (both) are awfully bad at logic and can't separate the man from the politics. As soon as the discussion dissolves into ad hominem and far left OR right accusations, you've lost the ability to reason, and become a fear monger.



fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 4th, 2004 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a person who actually believes that the commonplace acceptance of a technical logical fallacy--the ad hominem argument in either direction (right, left, positive, negative)--is one of the biggest dangers we face as far as living in a democratic society. We're meant to be a government of laws, not of men, and all this focus on personalities makes us illogical... "Bush says such-and-such and he's wonderful/terrible, so it must be right/wrong." Bzzzt. Even an idiot is sometimes right, and even a saint is sometimes in moral error. You have to deal with whatever the idea is on its own terms, and never take anyone's character as proof or disproof of it. I don't care if Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King thought it would be a really good idea to paint everyone's front lawn pink--I'm going to judge it on aesthetics and questions of groundwater contamination. And I don't care that Hitler himself liked dogs; they're still pretty decent animals, and it's not their fault they were liked by the evil little psychopath.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: November 4th, 2004 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
We're meant to be a government of laws, not of men, and all this focus on personalities makes us illogical... (snip)Even an idiot is sometimes right, and even a saint is sometimes in moral error.

*grins* We're both preaching to the choir, of course, but what you're saying is Heresy (capital haitch) to left or right. I've argued with (my fellow) Christians who are rabidly anti-taxes-for-corporations because the Republicans are anti-abortion AND anti-taxes-for-corporations. This is an honor-by-association fallacy.

I don't care if Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King thought it would be a really good idea to paint everyone's front lawn pink--I'm going to judge it on aesthetics and questions of groundwater contamination.

I'm an Independent because I was sick and tired of my former party assuming it had my support on EVERY topic simply because I agreed with some of them. Caring for the Environment is a good thing, but the people of Alaska *want* safe drilling, and I don't think those of us in the lower 48 have the right to stop them. I completely disagree with every single "education" plan the past eight or so presidents have put forth. More testing does not make a better person, it makes for more homogenous drones. (See John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of Education)

It's so stinking polarized. The parties seem to be opposing each other just for the sake of opposition. Truthfully, Kerry's & Bush's campaign promises differed VERY little!

I voted for Bush because I just didn't want Kerry's federal medical plan, and (being from Pittsburgh) I really didn't want THK in the White House. My state went to Kerry, so my vote didn't put Bush into the White House.

OK, why do you think we've become such an illogical country? One incapable of discussing ISSUES and, instead, one which just draws the weapons and chooses up sides? Why - if we don't like Bush - does Kerry suddenly become the Savior and a marvelous man? Why - if we are pro-life - does every one of Bush's plans come from God on High? 250 years ago, your average New England farmer could adequately and astutely discuss the issues with the most high-born land owner. What happened?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 4th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, why do you think we've become such an illogical country? One incapable of discussing ISSUES and, instead, one which just draws the weapons and chooses up sides? Why - if we don't like Bush - does Kerry suddenly become the Savior and a marvelous man? Why - if we are pro-life - does every one of Bush's plans come from God on High? 250 years ago, your average New England farmer could adequately and astutely discuss the issues with the most high-born land owner. What happened?

I blame it on a change in educational philosophy and the general thrust of the 60s toward touchy-feely self-esteem. No matter how hated it is by sections of the right, they're as affected by it as the left.

The point of education used to be to prepare people to live as citizens. Make sure they had core knowledge, and the ability to judge between positions. Whether or not they felt good about themselves wasn't a focus. Whether or not the facts reflected every possible point of view wasn't the point--you just had to make sure you knew how to get them. People who went to school were expected to have a certain level of education in common, and were therefore able to talk to one another. It was the great equalizer. (A nineteenth century writer--Anthony Trollope, maybe?--marveled at the fact that mill girls in Lowell, MA ran a literary magazine themselves and were well read. That was the whole point.) Now? It's all about feelings, and therefore all decisions are based on individual and conflicting feelings.

Blech.
arclevel From: arclevel Date: November 4th, 2004 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is an honor-by-association fallacy.

This is one of my biggest problems with partisan politics. One of my best friends is an intelligent man who I know from church. He claims that there are only three issues that he really cares about, because those are the issues that he believes the Bible is clear and straightforward on (I disagree with him on all three, despite reading the same Bible, but that's beside the point). Nonetheless, since his position on all those issues is the generally Republican position, he agrees with their opinions on nearly everything, defends them against criticism, has quoted Ann Coulter at me, despises Al Franken, and tells jokes that are insulting to "liberals" (though he has a pretty good sense of humor about conservatives, usually). Becuase of this alignment, there's a general assumption that, for example, a person who is "pro-life" will also be pro-death penalty and anti-gun control; to me, that seems a very counterintuitive combination of opinions.

I've never really seen a difference between educational plans. The options are generally, "let's throw lots of money and the schools, make students take more tests, and try to hire more teachers," versus "let's throw lots of money and the schools, make students take more tests, and try to hire more teachers." I was deeply discouraged that no one, as far as I ever heard, talked about *changing* No Child Left Behind; they only talked about funding it better.

A president, by himself, does not have much power. A president with two politically aligned branches of Congress and an opposition accused of hating America every time they disagree has quite a lot of power. If any of the more liberal justices on the Supreme Court retires within the next few years, that power will be greatly increased and could last well beyond his term in office. State governments have more power in some ways, but I found election very discouraging on that level due to the gay marriage bans across the country. Between the way that our government is set up (Congress in particular) and recent attitudes from our top officials, it really feels that the political minority is completely ignored, even when "minority" is 49% of voters. If all the best comes to Bush throughout his life, good for him. That doesn't change the fact that I have genuinely disagreed with nearly every policy I've been aware of during his presidency. I'm not trying to turn this into anything vicious or ranting; quite the opposite. However, while people are expressing their frustrations in rather nasty ways right now (and yes, some of them believe it in logically ridiculous ways), a lot of that covers genuine and legitimate concerns that are consistently anti-Bush, but neither reflexive nor ad hominem.

As for why we're incapable of discussing issues and making intelligent decisions, as well as why we are a moderate country who elect extremists, this is one area I think it's fair to blame TV. Truly discussing issues requires understanding them. Issues are complicated, hence understanding requires longer explanations than can be reasonably discussed on the evening news. Politicians can best make a point if their position can be summarized in a fifteen-second sound bite and "elaborated" in less than a page on their website. We have shorter attention spans, so even newspapers tend to keep things lighter and shorter to retain readership.
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