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Well. Enough moping, back to work. Art waits for no angst.

So, my final statement. Since most of us are sick of politics, go ahead and skip it. It's harsh and not at all conciliatory, and keeps the partisan rift nicely bloody. You've been warned.

If you voted for Bush, I'm holding you personally responsible for every single lousy, stupid, unethical thing his administration does. The first time, sure--that came out of left field. Coulda been blindsided. No hard feelings. But you all know exactly who he is now, and you voted for him anyway. That makes you entirely morally culpable. It's your fault from here on out.

He pushes for anti-abortion laws? Your fault. He pushes for an anti-gay amendment? Your fault. He wrecks the environment by pandering to industry? Guess who's fault! He fucks up the war in Iraq even more? You get half credit for that, we need to save some for insurgencies, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of blood for everbody's hands to get a nice speckling.

Somebody at this point will doubtless say "But I'm pro-choice, too!" or something like that. Tough shit. You voted for him. People should know by now that what you believe means nothing compared to what you've DONE. If I stole something, and then tried to claim that I knew stealing was wrong, so I shouldn't be held accountable, what kind of defense is that? It may even be worse! If you believed differently, you should have acted differently.* You made your choice. Beliefs are great, but actions are real.

Now, if you're a mature adult, I imagine this really shouldn't be a problem. You'll be willing to be held accountable for your actions. I certainly am. I'll be held responsible if the people I voted for get in office and do bad things. If the governor here tries to secede from the union or ban religion or something, I'll take my lumps. I voted for him. I share the blame. That's the way it works. I voted for Nader in 2000, and he turned out to be a crazy jackass, and I share a moral culpability for having supported him. I accept that. You want to go off about what an idiot Nader is, I'll sit here and take it. I deserve every word. Hell, I'll chime in during the slow bits. I know all kinds of synonyms for "barking moonbat" and I'm willing to use 'em.

We are responsible for the actions of administrations we support. If you don't want to be responsible, don't support them.

But there's a silver lining! If Bush does something really great, I'm happy to dispense credit to y'all too. Fair is fair. He cures cancer or negotiates a working Palestinian peace accord, it's all yours. I'm bitter and angry and petty, but if he turns out to be Rushmore material, accolades will be forthcoming for all who supported him, and I'll freely admit that I was wrong.

And come on. Surely you must believe that Bush will do great things rather than stupid or dangerous things. After all, if you thought he was an idiot who'd screw things up, you surely wouldn't have voted for him in the first place! So really, you shouldn't have anything to worry about at all. As long as Bush is good for this country, you have absolutely nothing to fear at all.

And that, gang, is my last word on the subject until Bush does something stupid. Tune in next time for nothing to do with politics whatsoever.

*Not neccessarily voting Kerry, mind you, there are lots of moral issues there that I can easily see people disagreeing with, but there's a handy write-in slot too. The options were limitless. What you chose binds you.

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The problem is that what you think is good for this country, and what I think is good for this country, is not what the people who voted for Bush think is good for this country....There's the America you and I want to live in, and there's the America that Bush supporters want to live in, and they are just not the same place.

That's one of the truest statements about the nature of this election that I've read on LJ.

But I don't think it's hopeless - a lot of people who voted for Bush were confused about where he stood on the issues. There are ignorant people, and there are moderate people stuck in the middle who are pushed one way or another by their stance on one issue or another. The far left and far right might never be reconciled, but the people in the middle, well. And you only need a majority of them to make American into *your* vision - no one's ever going to be completely satisfied. But you need to get to a place in politics where each side, while opposed, is not convinced that the other will lead to the country's destruction.

My sympathy for ignorance and confusion has dropped markedly the last few days. I mean, it was never particularly high to begin with, but it's really dropped sharply. The truth--yes, my truth, but also the truth that, oh, for example, Saddam Hussein was not responsible for September 11th--is not difficult to obtain. It requires a willingness or an ability to look beyond the end of your own nose; it requires a willingness to think for yourself and to not swallow the codswallop offered to you on television. It requires that people rise above their fear and use the brains that they presumably believe God provided them with.

BushCo panders to their fear; I understand that. They run campaigns on emotion, not intellect, and it is to their advantage that the people do not think. It is to their advantage that the people take what the President says as truth, on faith, and do not explore that further. Faith cannot be proven or disproven; that's what makes it faith. But I don't believe our country should be run on faith, and I no longer have any sympathy at all for people who do. They've elected a president who I find to be genuinely horrifying, whose acts are openly criminal, and I no longer believe ignorance is any kind of excuse.

The question of moderation is perhaps a more difficult one. The two-party system does leave an awful lot of people polarized and stuck with the candidate that most represents them, even if they don't agree with all their stances. The idea, of course, is that typically we'll have a president of one party and a congress of the other, and the checks and balances system will keep the country in the middle ground that most people find bearable. Now that we have a Republican president *and* congress, yeah, I'm afraid. I'm not afraid that America will be destroyed. I'm afraid that the America I want to live in will be destroyed.

But to tell the truth, today I'm not so sure it hasn't already been. This election is making me question some of the things I thought were fundamentally true about this country, and I'm wondering if I was wrong.

Ursula, if you want us to stop the political discourse in your comments, let us know and we can move over to my LJ or something. :)

Oh, hey - I'm not disagreeing with you. I think the fact that people don't know or don't get that voting for Bush is a bad idea is pretty shocking, and says terrible things about America. But on the other hand I'd rather believe that there are some ignorant people and some moderates, than believe that everyone is part of this violently right-wing movement which can't be stopped because they can't listen.

I can understand having no sympathy for ignorance, but what are you going to do? Rant? Rage? Leave them all to suffer? Bad news is, you suffer too, and sometimes when you're suffering they'll be benefitting. *shrug* It's okay to be angry...just not very helpful. And I realize that helpfulness is not the point of anger, so, you can be as angry with them as you like, really.

In the end what you want is a system in which the two parties are opposed but aren't so afraid of each other that they think the other will destroy the country. Bush voters seem to be afraid that if they allow things like gay marriage, that will destroy the country. Kerry voters think that Bush will destroy the country. I'm not saying I disagree with you here; I'm a liberal, I think that Bush is very very dangerous. This just isn't the kind of political climate that you want - everyone so afraid, and nobody listening to each other.

Yeah, I'm sure there are some moderates and some ignorants, but as you say, I find myself buggered whether the truth of the matter is that they're all raving idiots or whether they're intelligent people trying desperately to do what they feel best aligns with their beliefs and (I shudder to use this word at this point, but) values. And I _know_ that neither being angry nor ranting is going to change their beliefs, any more than they'd change mine with such (or any) behavior.

And you're right: that is what I want. Reasonable discourse, people who can disagree on certain points and still not see the people who disagree as being actively dangerous or evil or frightening. A party and political system that keeps us on the middle road, even if it doesn't do all the things I want it to, is infinitely better than a sharp veer to the right (or, if you're conservative, to the left, although I really can't wrap my brain around not wanting national health care).

One of my terrible fears about this administration is that they actively try to keep people unknowledgeable and afraid. As you say, that climate is not one in which you can have reasonable discourse; it's not one in which people will listen to one another. And the thing that I find terribly, terribly frustrating is that in the political arena of this country today, when someone tries to use calm language and good sense, they're buried beneath mud and slander. Politics are being run on emotions, not platforms, and I honestly don't see a way back from that ledge. Al Gore tried to run a clean campaign; people thought he was wussy and aloof. John Kerry tried, initially, to run a campaign of intellect, but got smashed with the Swift Boat Veterans thing. I don't see how the situation can be salvaged, if one side plays dirty.

Now, caveat here: as long as there've been politics, there's been dirty play. I know that. The thing that's changed is the ease of reaching the people. TV, cable, the Internet, newspapers--information is ubiquitous in a way it didn't used to be. News is drowned beneath talking heads sharing gossip. And people, in general, are more interested in gossip than truth. It's more fun. It's scarier or more thrilling or worth a laugh; it's back-biting and nasty and titillating. To win the hearts of the masses, you play to the cheap seats. Rome knew it; Karl Rove knows it. It's not the right way to elect representitives, but it's how it's *done*, and I don't see a way beyond it. So I'm left with bread and circuses while Rome burns and the things I believe in go up in smoke.

Yeah. The fact that the government is, like, pro-ignorance only makes it worse. And...the vast sensationalist media, that, even if it isn't biased, makes a big deal out of things like gossip just because it gets more viewers tuning in. And the ironic thing is that because the party seems to benefit the rich and the people in power, they will always have that kind of control and financing. We have to fight back...with something.


This hasn't been a fun few days.

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