Before I go blogsurfing to read everyone else’s rants about the election, I want to try to get my own opinion straight.
First, for posterity, a backlog of events: Kerry and his campaigners finally went to bed at 2am, waiting to see what news the morning would bring. By the time I got up to go to work, there were still half a dozen states not counted. By mid-morning, it was down to Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico, with Bush leading the count. By midday, Mr. Kerry made a conciliatory phone call to the president, conceding him the victory. Ohio’s provisional ballots are still not counted, but the statistics were very much against Kerry.
I do want to say that I respect Mr. Kerry for conceding defeat without a long and drawn-out legal battle. When the Florida recount fiasco went down in the 2000 election, many people felt that Al Gore was being a whiner and a poor sport—including Gore supporters. By conceding at an appropriate time, Mr. Kerry insures that history will remember him in a gracious but narrow defeat.
I would have preferred that he won… but that’s another point entirely.
And how do I personally feel about this? Well, I’m torn. The long-suppressed political activist in me is absolutely outraged that 51% of the American people can be so… well, to avoid name-calling, can be so supportive of this president. I begin to feel like the mantra of “four more years” is an evil omen, a portent of things yet to come, or a sentence.
Then the cynic in me takes over, and wonders why I would go out to vote in another election, when this one went so horribly opposite of how I had voted? The president was re-elected, Ohio’s gay marriage ban passed, Toledo’s smoking ban amendment passed—all issues to which I was (and am) diametrically opposed. So what did my vote accomplish? Squat. How can we swim upstream against a sea of damned right-wing reactionaries?
After the cynic in me gets done with her depressed rantings, the normal me—or perhaps, the more open-minded, accepting, and generally laid-back me—takes the reins and bitch-smacks the other parts of me. After all, this is one election. Four years out of another fifty or so I’ll live to see. Things will change. They always do. I’ll be content with some changes, and I’ll be adamantly against others. But life goes on, society continues, and I still have to go to work every day. As Aaron said this afternoon, we’ve performed our civic duty, and we’ve always known we thought a little differently from everyone else. It’s no surprise that the rest of the country—or even the community—doesn’t necessarily agree with us. That’s to be expected on some level.
We did what we thought was right, and damn all the rest.
I can’t promise to support Mr. Bush in his future decisions. I can’t promise to bend over backwards to unite with my Bush-loving co-workers. I can promise to do what I’ve always done, and that’s to do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Respect and trust is earned, and I will sit back and wait patiently for the President of the United States of America to earn mine.