b Papa Dog's Blog: Black Armband on the Faversham

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Black Armband on the Faversham

Yesterday started out well, I thought. For days it had looked like things were going the Good Guys’ way, signs, portents, and polls all heaving laboriously about like a laden tanker, slowly but plainly moving in the direction of a small but sure Kerry victory. I raced home from work, hoping to get back before the first returns had been announced. The first results were depressing but not surprising – the Bad Guys well in the lead off the bat, but all in fundamentalist strongholds they had been sure to take. Gradually, Kerry began to make ground on the eastern seaboard, but then a little after nine, I heard NPR call Florida for the villains. Polls had shown that state shifting into the Kerry column in the last few days, and the loss did not bode well for his prospects. By the time I went to sleep, the count stood at (if I remember correctly) Bad Guys 249, Good Guys 242…everywhere, that is, except at Fox “News” where Ohio had been called for Bush by 10 p.m. (when they were still unable to admit that Kerry had won California).

America, I despair of thee. You have chosen ignorance over intellect. Superstition over reason. Insularity over inclusiveness. Privilege over charity. Militarism over diplomacy. Corporations over humanity. The commentators are saying that exit polls show the key issues underlying the belated confirmation of George Bush’s appointment to the Presidency were “moral” ones. To that, I can only say: America, are you insane? This is a man who waged a trumped-up war, costing thousands of lives, to enrich the companies of his backers. This is a man who as Governor of Texas supported life sentences for crimes he himself committed but wrote off as “youthful indiscretions.” This is a man who in wartime deserted even the cushy pseudomilitary post he had used his daddy’s connections to secure. This is a man who time and again enacts policies to further enrich the already-wealthy at the expense of the always-poor. He’s a man who believes that if you can’t afford something, you must not deserve it, be it health, home, or security. He is a smug, stupid child of wealth who has never had to work in his life. He has gotten away with everything since he was a child; and as an adult, he has continued to get away with doing harm to others on a grander and grander scale. Last night, you let him get away with it again. He is the least moral man ever to inhabit the White House.

America, we’ve had a complex relationship, one that’s difficult to explain to anyone who isn’t a Canadian living in the U.S. Growing up, it was an article of faith amongst my peers that your people were – how to put it politely? – assholes. I don’t think you realise you’re perceived in that way around the world. Well, maybe you know the French think that, but it probably hasn’t occurred to you that your nearest English-speaking neighbours think it too. Maybe you don’t realise you have English-speaking neighbours, and that’s part of the problem. We are a quiet and unassuming people. You are a loud and presumptuous people. Still, for almost two hundred years we’ve been the best of neighbours, enjoying a relationship unique among the nations of the world. But how you strain that bond! It used to be you were Fred Flintstone and we were Barney Rubble. You blustered, you bragged, you caused harm out of ignorance rather than malice, but underneath it all we knew you meant well, and at the end of every half hour you had learned your lesson. These days – well, you’ve become Homer Simpson, meaning we’re stuck being Ned Flanders. You’ve grown wilfully ignorant, destructively slothful, motivated entirely by the impulse of the moment, and at the end of four years you haven’t learned a God-damned thing.

It was on some level a shameful thing to me when I moved here. As much as I love the idea of democracy, and as much as I love to exercise the democratic franchise, I’ve never, after almost 18 years here, contemplated achieving the right to vote by taking American citizenship. This is the peculiar conflict of being a Canadian in the U.S. My wife and child were born here, and so were most of my friends…and still, I’ve always thought it would be an insult to my ancestors to become one of “them.” Well, here’s what I’m thinking after the debacle of last night. There comes a time when it’s no longer possible to be a disinterested observer, and I think I’ve reached that point. I don’t know exactly what that means. Maybe it means letting go of my prejudice and arming myself with a vote. Maybe it means getting directly involved with the shambles that is the Democratic Party and beginning to work now on finding a way to repair last night’s damage over the next four years. We all have to do something. Last night, this country reached terminal velocity in its plunge into an abyss of ignorance. Who will remake this land for those who value humanity over commerce? Who will remake it for those who value reason over superstition? Who will remake it for those who believe we all have an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?


Blogger Brownstein said...

Thank you for this passionate and accurate comment. I will surely circulate it to my community and encourage other readers to circulate it to theirs. This is a dangerous, potentially dire time for America and it is humbling to read such well-spoken words. Your call to be involved and make a difference is important. The Democrats are adrift, and so is this country. You are correct in noting that we cannot let that continue.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Brownstein said...

If any are interested, I have written a comment concerning the election's impact on the First Amendment from the perspective of an organization I run that can be read here

12:29 PM  
Blogger RachelleCentral said...

In Australia, we also recently voted our idiot Prime Minister in for another term. Go figure.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the sake of your daughter, you should pack up your family and move back to Canada.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe Bush didn't really win

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of my favorite comments on the election was the cover of the london times mirror (think that's the correct exact title). the top line of the cover said "d'oh! four more years of dubya" but the large cover had a pic of bush and the huge headline saying "how could 50-something million,blah blah hundred thousand, and exact number of people be so dumb?" that's a newspaper headline, folks. in _england_, the land of our bestest allies. and then there was the lovely map of the u.s. someone showed me, with the red states lumped in with our very polite and well-behaved neighbors to the north, labeled "the united states of canada," and the blue states showing up with the label "jesusland." i couldn't help but chuckle mightily while the tears of despair rolled down my face. me, i just want to eat a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and stay stoned for the next four years, hoping that when i come down the world isn't a smoking pile of rubble.
bestest from beantown

7:05 AM  

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