Wednesday, November 17, 2004

People are wringing their hands over this election. Blaming Kerry. Don't fucking blame Kerry. People are tempted to see in losses sorry, self-evident conclusions when it's really just a fucking loss. Even after the fact we struggle to assert some kind of control over the event, as though we could reverse the outcome by explaining it away. He lost because he wasn't aggressive enough. He lost because he wasn't inspiring. He failed to make a case for himself.

Who's to say that the very qualities we now reproach him for are not qualities that earned him votes, not cost him votes? To a certain degree, for better or for worse, he certainly presented himself as the anti-Bush. Actually fuck that, he didn't just present himself that way, he is that way. Thoughtful and introspective where Bush is impulsive and brash. Intellectual and well-read where Bush is incurious and famously ill-read. Versed in the minutiae of policy where Bush paints broad strokes. The advocate of nuanced and complex views where Bush will hit you in the face with a fucking idiot sledgehammer. Isn't this who we fucking wanted? Didn't the anti-Bush voters want to vote for the anti-Bush? Of course we fucking did. Had he won – had, say, fewer votes in black districts been thrown out in Florida and Ohio, or lines had been shorter in these same districts – you better believe we'd all be fucking crowing about how he had been the ideal candidate. We're so lucky Kerry came along to capitalize on the anti-Bush sentiment, we'd be saying. Wasn't he just perfect? Aren't we fucking delighted that our great country woke up and realized we need a smart, reasonable man in the White House and not a fucking moron? Hurray! This is SUCH A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE AN AMERICAN.

You better fucking believe we'd all be saying that. 150,000 votes in Ohio. But now that he lost we have to fucking cry about it and go blaming Kerry.

It is a sad truth of human psychology that we accentuate the positive and accentuate the negative. When something goes right we trick ourselves into imagining that God Himself is shining a fucking light up our asses. When something goes wrong we enter paroxysms of petty blame and self-loathing. Let's remove the inconvenient factor of subjective human perception for a moment and examine the truth: Kerry lost a very close election to a fucking flag-waving Jesus-talking moralizing prick of a wartime president. Bush basically handed a big fucking lollipop to every single voter who: is insecure and possibly even hypocritical on the topic of morality and craves reassurance that they are morally superior; dislikes gays without quite knowing how to articulate why – just fucking dislikes them; kinda feels the same way about – shh! – black people; thinks America is like, the greatest, and doesn't understand why those who are enemies of freedom seek to do us harm; and perhaps most importantly, resents, fears and dislikes smart city folks.

Turns out there are some people out there like that. Call it the oppression of the many by the many.