Alrighty then…

Much as I try I just cannot come to grips with this whole election thing.

It’s really and truly painful listening to and watching the Democratic Party tear itself apart from the inside over this. The worst part are the folks who are near totally deluding themselves into thinking that the election result was due to some kind of massively orchestrated voter fraud. Folks, Karl Rove may be a crafty bastard but in order for Dubya to have gotten several million more votes than John Kerry he’d have to also be a masterful wizard.

This is the same mindset that I was bemoaning earlier in the year. So many folks regard the Republican majority in the US Government as the result of the machinations of some sort of secret cabal. They constantly approach the political process as a battle between the millions of us who vote Democrat versus a handful of old white guys with their hands on the levers of power. I hate to break to you, but as convenient as that notion is it just ain’t true. Are there star chambers out there filled with bald, old white guys who have specific agendas to promote? There most certainly are, but they’ve got no more real power to control the outcomes of complex events than my navel lint does.

Was there monkeying with the vote results? Absolutely, but what people really need to take away from that is not shock and horror that this election was monkeyed with, but rather knowledge that every modern election in this country has been monkeyed with. And interestingly enough, sometimes the monkeying put a Democrat in office and sometimes it put a Republican in office. Read up on the 1960 Presidential Election. Kennedy didn’t exactly “win” that one either.

What you ought to do with this information though isn’t point fingers at those evil Republicans any more than anyone should be pointing fingers at us evil Democrats. What you ought to do is put some energy into serious reform of our electoral system. The worst outcome of people doubting the veracity of election results isn’t that one party or one candidate gets into office instead of another, it’s that if most people regard the outcomes of our political contests as somehow rigged then interest in and support for the whole process will disappear, and we’re already operating at a dangerously low percentage of eligible voters actually participating in elections as it is. More disinterest in or suspicion of our political institutions can only make things worse.

That having been said, I don’t think that the GOP or anyone in the Bush campaign or Administration is capable of rigging an entire national election. And the way the returns came in looked, to me anyway, like a very typical close race. So, while I do think it’s a good idea to look closely at any irregularities that went on (see above the whole bit about pushing for serious reform of our electoral process), I think it profits us very, very little to assume that what was no doubt minor fiddling with vote counts cost John Kerry the election. Nope. What cost John Kerry the election, and this is something that Democrats simply do not want to hear or accept, is that more people who voted agreed with the Bush version of the country than agreed with the Kerry version.

I’ve said it before, it’s tough to accept being in the minority. At the very least it makes you feel impotent and oppressed. And more than likely it will make you doubt whether or not you’re going to have to live out your life in a world where your voice and your views are discounted and outvoted. But the thing that every Kerry voter should remember is this – THIS WAS A VERY CLOSE RACE. Contrary to the Bush camp’s spin, Dubya’s got no mandate. What he’s got is a slim majority and in the most heavily populated and prosperous regions of the country his supporters ARE the minority. That means his majority depends on states where the population is shrinking, not growing. It means that his majority depends on the least prosperous regions of the nation, whose citizens are the least educated and whose children are growing up and leaving to live in the so-called Blue States in droves.

That’s not to say that if Democrats are just patient the pendulum will eventually swing their way. Hardly. No, the Democrats have got their work cut out for them. In a political sense, the 2006 Congressional Elections are right around the corner. The Democratic Party must gain ground in 2006 or there is a real risk that it won’t be a viable party any longer. And if they’re going to gain ground they need to stop pissing and moaning about this Presidential Election being stolen and get down to the hard work of figuring out what they did wrong and what they did right in 2004.

Much as I adore Janeane Garofalo, she and others like her need to shut their collective pie-holes about voter fraud and accept and admit defeat. These people spent months legitimately attacking G.W. Bush over his pathological inability to admit his mistakes. They shouldn’t follow in his footsteps. There is, simply, no time to wallow in our crapulence. There’s work to be done.

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