Ruminations and Such
Well, at least it was over fairly quickly, and without a single mention of" chads." It is important that we have been spared another legal showdown over the presidency. For myself, I think we are better off with another four years of Bush & Co. than with another blow to public confidence in the electoral system. Likely Kerry was thinking in similar terms, and is also trying to establish a"noble loser" image to help lay the groundwork for another run (or an Edwards run) in 2008.
That said, I am not without my concerns about the current direction of American politics. First, the role of religion in the whole election was a bit spooky for a staunch secular humanist such as myself. The degree to which religious belief has fed into, for example, squashing civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans makes me quite sad. Religious factors have also deeply influenced the (now likely to continue) restrictions on stem-cell research and will likely fuel an even more staunch assault on the right to an abortion. Of course, many conservative and religious readers are likely to be happy about this. While I respect their right to be happy, I'm currently exercising my right to be bummed about it all.
Alternately, there is the whole Patriot Act and Homeland Security boondoogle. Frankly, I just don't think either one has done much good, and both have set frightening precedents for bureaucratic bloat and the erosion of civil rights. Next, there is the issue of the budget. Our current crop of un-tax and spend Republicans are digging a frighteningly deep deep hole for future generations. That is just plain bad.
And, of course, there is the war. Clearly, a majority of the American public aren't as upset about the economy and civil rights as they are concerned about security. Given 9-11 this is perhaps understandable. But, I remain deeply skeptical about whether the current"steady" course in Iraq and elsewhere is working to make us (or anybody else) more secure. Goodness knows the Russians have held the course"steady" in Chechnya for the past ten years, and have only experienced an ever-expanding spiral of violence and a consistently declining degree of civil liberties -- all in the name of increased security. Of course, America is not Russia and Bush & Co. are not Putin & Co. The Russians were shaky on the whole freedom and liberty thing even before they went into Chechnya. But the experience there has done them no good, and I hold very real fears that the longer the War on Terror continues, the more likely we are to lose what makes us special as a country.
There are no easy choices here, and we face very real threats. There are bad people out there who wish us harm, and we can't wish them away. Bombing them isn't always a bad idea. But, trying to protect ourselves in a ham-fisted way is all too likely to lead to any number of undesirable situations. What I fear most is that we breed a crop of leaders who owe their positions in power to maintaining a climate of fear. Here's to hoping we are smart enough not to let that happen.
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Anne Zook - 11/3/2004
I can't say I agree. Without addressing the question of challenges and lawsuits and chads, I'd like to say that I very strongly disapprove of anyone "conceding" and ending the election before the votes are counted.
It has nothing to do with winning and losing and everything to do with acting like the votes actually matter.
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