That's the question. How could this happen? How could half of those voters who turned out, vote for that lying, smug George Bush? David already covered what we'll get these next four years. I'll tell you how this happened.
I have to accept what this country is, as opposed to what I wish it were. It is a country where most people believe in a god, mostly the Christian god. People like a leader who not only is a vocal Christian, but someone who claims something and makes a decision, even if they disagree with it, as long as that leader stands by their decision and refuses to change his mind no matter what. People like this. How did Bush win? He says things and will not change his mind even if the building is falling down around him. People think this is brave. They don't want Kerry who studies all sides of a situation and is willing to adjust a plan to new information and situations. No. No change. What else did Bush do to win? He had people smart enough to know that they had to find what would incite Bush's Christian base to get out and vote. What issues will get them so riled up that they would get off their ass, figure out where their polling place is, grab the keys, get in the car, drive there and vote. Is it Iraq? No. Most people aren't directly effected by it, and they certainly don't give a shit how many innocent Iraqis have and will be killed. Apparently they don't care if they or their children are in danger of a possible draft (oh, and you are by the way, no matter what Bush said) Is it the economy? No. Is it health care? No. What is it?
Moral values. Let me say that again - moral values.
The Republicans not only figured out what the hot issue was, but they knew how to talk about those issues. You have to use fear and speak it like a preacher. Keep it simple and repeat, repeat, repeat. This god-believing country understands the concept of fear, because the bible's overarching teaching is if you don't believe in Jesus you will burn for all eternity. They are comfortable with fear. They understand it. Hmm, now what is a big, passionate hot button of fear for the Christians? Homosexual marriage! The Republican strategists were brilliant to get gay marriage on the ballot in eleven states. That's what got many, many people out the door. It's clear to me that this is a country that hates homosexuals and would prefer if we were all dead. There are people who, no matter what I did or said, would never change their minds about me. They hate me and don't want to have to accept me as an equal, accept that I was born that way, and especially accept that be being gay is normal. And that's what got them out the door. The opportunity to vote against the fags and dykes marrying brought them out in droves. Did you see all the red in the south? I think it was blood.
OK. I'm not so self absorbed to think that gay marriage was the only hot button. But it's a big one. Abortion. There's another big one. Bush is against abortion and will appoint at least one, if not more, Supreme Court Justice who will want to over turn Roe v. Wade. They know Bush is for abstinence (apparently everyone in the south only has sex after they get married, and then only to procreate). The intangible fear, like Dick Cheney said, that if Kerry wins there will be another terrorist attack. What did someone say? Gays, guns and god. They voted for those moral values before realizing they were unemployed, before realizing they had no health care, before remembering this president has lost more jobs than he's created, before recalling we are involved in war based on lies, before realizing that Bush is a man who has only helped the rich get richer, that his tax cuts won't help them, that they will never, ever be a member of the country club. The point is, people are comfortable with fear. People are not comfortable with change, fear is easier. Fear is known, change is vulnerable.
What can we do? I don't know yet. But I have some ideas for the Democrats. Get some balls. Take homosexual marriage and abortion off the table. Tell people you don't believe in dictating morality. Be direct. Use simple sentences. "Do you want me to tell you how to live their life?" Of course not. "That's right. I trust each individual to do what is right for them while not bringing physical harm to others." About abortion. You say this. "I don't like abortion. Nobody likes abortion. But it should be legal. And you know what? I'm going to focus on girls not getting pregnant in the first place, so I will support comprehensive and frank contraception education in our schools. Would you rather have you girls educated or pregnant?" You just have to say it. You can't and won't get everybody to agree with you. But just say it and stick with it. Say it with some balls. Many will follow and those who don't - fuck 'em.