Tuesday, October 19, 2004
To the Editor:
It's hardly a shock that the New York Times endorsed John Kerry and thinks the Bush presidency is a "catastrophe". What moved me to respond was the "heartbreak" characterization of the past four years and the follow-up letters to the editor denouncing Bush voters. Although I am critical of various actions of the Bush administration I will still vote for him and I'm not ignorant, stupid or deluded, thank you.
My heart broke on Sept. 11, 2001 when I realized that terrorism was no longer a faraway problem in places like Northern Ireland and Israel. That day I realized that we were vulnerable here at home, and American life would never be the same. I knew that terribly difficult choices about rights versus security, and consensus building versus standing alone if necessary, lay ahead. I don't blame Bush for that, I blame the terrorists and their state sponsors - and I note that their plans date well back into the prior administration.
What upsets me about the politics of this election is not that reasonable people can differ on the difficult and troubling problems of protecting America in the 21st century. What really troubles me is all of the liberals I have heard talking about how anyone who votes for Bush is stupid or deluded (just as they depict Bush himself as stupid and deluded - I heard him referred to as a "monkey" in a local coffee shop.) For the party supposedly representing the common man, the Democrats sure don't give much respect to red-state voters. Barely concealed between the lines is the academic-liberal snobbery that Bush voters can be dismissed as ignorant "trailer trash", religious nuts, etc. The following quotes from the Tuesday letters make my point: "the minds of so many Americans have been spun into a place beyond reason, and the rancid foam of fear has clouded their clear sight" (hey, that sounds like the Kerry supporters to me) and "If only all Americans were as lucid [as the Times editorial] the election would be in the bag . . . if Bush manages to be re-elected, it will be a sad day for the nation, for it means that the public is far more ignorant and susceptible to manipulation than ever before." Excuse me, but who's arrogant now?
This election's been so divisive because most Democrats have worked themselves up to such a level of emotion that they think the world will come to an end unless Bush is replaced. Yet, only one Democrat has been elected to the office since the post-Watergate election of Jimmy Carter. Why is that? Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were elected because they inspired, and gave confidence to, more voters (a LOT more voters) than the Democrat who ran against them. No Democrat except Bill Clinton - who, like George W. Bush, squeaked into office by the skin of his teeth - has gotten the votes, period. If Democrats spent more time thinking about why that is and less screaming about how much they hate Bush and are ashamed of our conduct in the world, maybe they could win the election on a positive basis.
Thus, the real heartbreak for liberals and Democrats is that a majority of the country tends not to agree with them. Remember, people may be angry about Florida in 2000, but if Gore had won more "swing votes" elsewhere the election would not have turned on Florida's recount. He was riding the coattails of an incredibly popular, moderate President - yet managed to lose. New Jersey has gone Democrat for as long as I can remember (including in 2000), but it's in play this year. Why? Because enough New Jerseyans support the President, and disagree with Kerry, to put it in play. Maybe Bush will get re-elected and maybe he won't, but I am sick and tired of Bush voters being characterized as too stupid, deluded or ignorant to know any better. Talk about arrogance. Finally, I think it's ludicrous that the supporters of a man who's telling Americans their Social Security will be taken away and their children will be drafted would decry "scare tactics." Give me a break.
Sincerely, etc., etc.
Kudos to Mrs. Tigerhawk. That is one fine letter. I remain dumbfounded that so many people in this state who have actually breathed the 9-11 smoke are voting for John Kerry. For the life of me, I don't get it.
Parkway Rest Stop
The Faith based v. Reality based dichotomy proposed by Ron Suskind in his Sunday NYT article well sums up the reasons many of us on the left are voting for John Kerry. I don't think Bush is stupid or deluded, but I do think he's uncurious and puts his fundamentalist Christianity at the forefront of his politics.
Bush has been so disingenuous in his constantly changing rationale for the Iraqi war, his unwillingness to examine his presidency for fault, and his empire building that to vote for him would be to vote for death, lies, and arrogance.
I promise you I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat, folks. And I have real respect for those Bush supporters who attempt to create reasoned arguments for a second term. However, Bush's record is the worst in modern history in matters of domestic and foreign policy.
I'm behind John Kerry because I believe that he will move towards restoring internationalism, work to improve our natural environment, and make genuine efforts to create a health care system that works.
Regarding 'manipulation' of the public - I believe that Karl Rove is the smartest political spinner in history. He and the rest of the Bush administration's politicos have managed to spin an immoral war against an irrelevant enemy into a moral victory in the war on terrorism. They continually take no responsibility for the horrors that have occurred on their watch, yet they trumpet themselves as the party of personal responsibility.
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