First, let me say, I am sad. I am sure you know wh…

First, let me say, I am sad. I am sure you know why. It appears Bush has won. Ohio is leaning right. But there is still the smallest glimmer of hope and I plan to cling to that for a while. As Ann at Annatopia suggests, it’s not over just yet. Her last post last night was this:

jeebus h christ, it’s 2000 all over again. bush is leading in ohio by 120K right now w/96% in (and that lead keeps shrinking). there are a quarter million provisional ballots to be counted, which will take up to 11 days. bush is leading by 350K in florida, and there are over a million absentee ballots which need to be counted. the networks obviously didn’t learn anything from the 2000 election. fuck faux (duh) and fuck nbc. i’m going to bed. i just can’t stomach the idea of another legal fight. i don’t know if america can survive that.

While I think it is a long shot that Florida will swing to Kerry, I also thought it was a long shot for Florida to swing to Bush in 2000.

More importantly though, is the her last line. I don’t know if American can survive either. We are getting frighteningly divided. More than the possibility of the Bush camp taking away my right to choice or bringing religion into politics in the form of prayer in schools and adding a definition of marriage to the constitution, I am afraid our division will break us.

I have allowed myself in the last few weeks to become more polarized. I have slowly shifted toward being more and more liberal. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I consider myself an independent because I have always seen things from both sides of the aisle. I have also liked things from both sides of the aisle. But I have let my disdain for one man and his views to push me farther from my center.

As my boyfriend calls me a Democrat, I declare myself an independent, and until recently I could say that without a doubt. But in the last few weeks, I have begun to wonder if I was loosing sight of what I believe in. I am a social liberal. Always will be. But I am also fiscally conservative. I have let myself forget that in order to fight Bush. I have let myself think I could be OK with higher taxes if it wound up being for the greater good. And perhaps I would, but I am not sure tax hikes would be for the greater good. I even convinced myself that I could believe Kerry when he said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class. I wanted to believe. I so wanted to. But I am not sure that is true. It certainly doesn’t follow history. I wanted to believe him and still do to some extent when he said his ideas were good for small business. That we (small businesses) would receive tax cuts. But I fear that my small business is not in the brackets that would be helped. I think we may be too big. My understanding is that the small businesses that would be helped are truly small. Five to Ten employees, home offices, guest-bedroom businesses. I would like to believe that he would be able to help us but I just don’t know.

So I have come to the conclusion that while I am disgusted by the direction this country is taking, and scared of the polarization of a nation built to be a melting pot, I cannot be part of the problem. It is not what I believe in. I believe each side has something good to offer.

At this point, I am turning over a new leaf and if Bush wins, I will allow him a second chance. I will never agree with his stance on social issues, but I will allow him his peace on fiscal ones. I will listen open mindedly to what he has to say. I will try to understand where he is coming from and I will try to find things I like about his politics. If I cannot do this, then I have failed myself as an independent. I am proud to be able to find the good in people and I cannot let that slip away. I will need to reassure myself often however, that open mindedness is the best option. Without it we are doomed. If we allow ourselves to only see the bad, we enter a downward spiral of hate, and anger than is not healthy for our own bodies or country. We must stand together. We must fight together not against one another. We are all American and while we differ on many issues, there must be some we can come together on. We need to stop hating political stances simply because of who puts them forth and look at the issues for what they are. We all know Bush made mistakes in Iraq, but we are there now, and we need to find a way out. We need to finish this, and at this point, rehashing history will not bring that about. We need to stand together in our fight from this point forward. Our anger about what has already happened will not change what could happen. We need to channel our anger into positive energy and work together to create real solutions. Not battle over the past.

My plea to you is to make an effort to see the other side. You do not have to agree with it, but make the effort to understand it before you disagree. This is the most crucial task we have in the next four years, and it may be the only thing that saves us from civil war. We must open our minds to other perspectives, regardless of our feelings about the politicians involved. Our hatred will do nothing to help us progress. Positive activism and genuine debate without personal attacks is what we need now. For many of us, this could prove quite difficult, but we need to try. We have to try.

As a note to my Democrat and anti-Bush friends, I am not saying bow down to Bush. I am simply suggesting we don’t allow ourselves to be the cause of a national split. We need to stand up for what we believe in but we do not need to stoop low to do it. We can fight for our rights and beliefs civilly and we can win. But we need to take the high road.

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7 responses to “First, let me say, I am sad. I am sure you know wh…

  1. The greatest thing about our country, and probably what it needs now, is the understanding that one can be a Republican or Democrat and still have disagreements with our own party. We don’t have to disagree with everything Bush does just because it is Bush who does it.

    But we should still speak out when we see something we don’t like, and we should still be active. It is not only important, but it is our duty.

  2. I absolutely agree. I am not suggesting in any way that we should stop speaking out.In fact, I think we should speak out more, just in a much different way. I am just suggesting that we need to move out of the past and focus on the present and future. We need to stop the pettiness. At the same time we need to fight for our beliefs. But we can’t do it the way we have gotten accustomed to which is blaming Bush and faulting him for everything. In all honesty, he was not the cause of EVERY problem we have faced in the last 4 years. He has just been a very easy target. We, “non-Republicans” have got to take the high road. If we don’t, then the country is headed into the metaphorical toilet.

  3. Positive debate and genuine dialogue without personal attacks has always been what I desired.

    The problem is that if only one side holds themselves to that standard then the Fox News Phenomenon transpires. And in this media-driven culture, the more sensational the message, the greater the audience. It’s disgusting and deplorable. And I think a lot of liberals feel like trying to take the high road has gotten them….8 years of Bush. I’m not arguing for anything less than the high road. But I am saying that the Republican campaign machine knows how to duke it out down on the low road and we haven’t done a very good job of figuring out a way to elevate the discussion.

    I too am a social liberal and an economic conservative…but I’m starting to lose sight of which party serves economic conservatism and fisca responsibility. What I fear is that this administration will continue to grow the deficit and leave us in such desperate straits that the next administration (possibly a Democrat administration) will have no CHOICE but to raise taxes….and the cycle continues ad infinitum…and it’s that kind of irresponsible short-term thinking that I find so scary.

    I am willing to let bygones be bygones on both a political and personal level. But I won’t ever be OK with handing over the hard-won civil rights of women and minorities to an administration from either political party. When that happens the Commie Pinko Party won’t be an inside ironic joke..it’ll be a sad reality.

    Lori

  4. Again I agree. I am not sure if you guys are commenting out of disagreement with what I said or not. But we all are thinking the same things. This is where voices and inflections come in handy.

    I don’t plan to hand over my rights either. But I know if we don’t save the country as a whole I may never have that choice. If God forbid, Roe vs. Wade was overturned, it could be reinstated at a later date. But if our entire country falls apart or falls into civil war, it won’t matter if Roe vs. Wade is still there. Our choice could be gone. I think above all else, at this point in time, we need to focus on things that this country agrees upon. We generally all agree on improving education. Lets spend some time talking about that. Or let’s talk about the war on drugs (whatever happened to that??)…there are issues that both sides can get behind and I think for this country to not be torn apart we need to focus on them for a while.

    I know to this point the high road has been hard, but even metaphorically that is the way it has always been. The high road means a harder climb and more work, but the low road is the easy way out. I just can’t see anyway other way to bring this country together than to en mass take the high road. We should follow Kerry’s lead. He did not draw out the election for his own sake. For the sanity of the country, he conceded.

    Also, I want to let you both know that this was in no way an attack on you. I think 90% of the time you both are diplomatic and don’t throw any low blows. And as for the 10% I am leaving out, I don’t think anyone can do that 100% of the time. And sometimes a low blow is either deserved or, well, funny.

  5. We are all in agreement… just commenting…

  6. Ok, good! I think I am a little jumpy after last night.

  7. Not to worry! We’re all still pals!

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