Jason Kottke on the election

Jason’s recent post on the election really spoke to me.

Half the country is not stupid. We’re all stupid. We’re convinced several times a day to do things that aren’t in our best interests. We work too hard. We’re drinking, eating, medicating, and smoking ourselves into early graves. We overextend ourselves on credit. We knowingly stay in emotionally or physically abusive relationships. We let television raise our children. We’re deliberately mean and nasty to people we don’t like or agree with. We learn science from the Bible. We stay silent when speaking out would help someone. We fear the future. We fear death. And we’re lazy about our beliefs and convictions and we let the Democratic and Republican Parties dictate the political agenda in America by pushing our emotional buttons. Red, blue, black, white, brown, yellow, purple, and retina-burning yellow-green…we all share the blame.


How George Bush won the election
[kottke.org]

3 comments on “Jason Kottke on the election
  1. gman says:

    The first two paragraphs are great. He should have cut it there.
    The rest goes down the road of labeling the opposition. Not everyone that voted pro Bush was voting “fear the gays” or against “non-Chirstians run the country”. My family is not anti-gay. My gay cousin died of aids and they all loved him dearly and excepted his BF in our family gatherings with the same love we’d extend to anyone. My family is not anti-non-Christian. But they all voted for Bush for one reason or another.
    No party represents anyone I know of. There are a myrid of issues of which I know of know one that follows the party line on 100% of them so we end up having to pick the candidate that either fits the majority of our personal issues or more likely the one with our one or 2 most important issues.
    I’m sick of the labels. Being anti affirmative action does not make you racist. It could mean you see AA as part of the problem not part of the solution. Being non-Christian does not mean you can’t respect Christians. Kerry is Christian is he not? So was Clinton. Being anti-abortion does not mean you are against women’s rights. The list goes on and on on both sides. Most of us agree on our goals IMO. We want a safer, nicer, accepting world where people love and respect each other and no one is hungry. We only disagree on how to get there. If the name calling and taking sides stopped and there was a way to pick people to support individual topics maybe we’d get there. I don’t know.
    I think South Park put it best. We were voting between a big douche and a turd sandwich and it is always so. 🙁

  2. Christian Gates says:

    I voted for Bush, as you would likely guess if you’ve read my posts, and I’m neither uninformed nor lacking in intellect (well, some would dispute the latter but forgive me my conceit).
    I know a lot of other people that did, too – and on average they are more informed than the Kerry supporters that I know, although I do live in Boulder, CO so the herd mentality rule is in effect. For whatever reason, the media has whipped up an absolute frenzy of anti-Bush sentiment, much of it based either trivia, invention or some form of half-truth or misrepresentation (Bush is dumb, the forged Nat. Guard docs., Bush lost 380 tons of explosives etc. etc.). It’s politics, so a certain amount of this is to be expected – but here it just went way beyond reasonable.
    There really were two key issues in this election from my point of view and lot of trivia, and the candidates really did run on them, albeit with plenty of obfuscation and confusing rhetoric. The first was national security. Bush is clearly stronger in this case: he’s for missile defense, he crushed the Taliban and ousted Saddam Hussein. In fact, Bush has done everything that he’s said he’s going to do in the way he said he was going to do it. You can argue that there is some proximal backlash particularly in Iraq, but long term it’s hard to see how victory in Iraq won’t help bring some normalcy to the Middle East.
    The second regarded the nature of society. John Kerry is a quasi-socialist, and Bush is not. John Edwards is a class warrior, when in fact there is only one class in the United States. History has shown that things like government-run healthcare, a “right to work” in the form of massive unemployment benefits and high taxes crush economies. The reason the U.S. is ascendant is because we lack those key evils. Resources are limited and the efficient allocation of resources benefits all. Futher, freedom is not possible when the government can arbitrarily take from you at its pleasure. I think that behind the rhetoric people sense these fundamental truths and vote on them.
    The fact that so many voted for Kerry shows that the “elite” class was effective in rousing anti-Bush hysteria, and that they have ignored the basic human truth that forced redistribution, no matter how noble the cause (and the causes are, in fact good!), ultimately causes more pain than allowing the underlying problems to continue at some low level.
    cdg

  3. Kakyou says:

    Interesting and intelligent comments so far. I think this goes to show that neither side in the election was entirely “wrong” and that inteeligent, informed people can come to different conclusions.
    As for myself, I debated this for quite some time. In the end I went for Kerry, but for different reasons than most people I know. I actually see very little difference between either candidate. It is hard in our media flush world to make unbiased opinions. It’s hard to differentiate what someone says from what some else says they said. In the end, the sides were so polorized that if you believed what anyone said, you would find one side evil and the other without fault. Because of that I decided to belive no one.
    This of course leaves me in a different dilemna. Instead of too much bad info, I have almost no info. I can look at overall effects of the country that I can connect directly to Bush’s decisions. I can follow John Kerry’s speaches and Senate history. Very un-sexy stuff let me tell you.
    After that I decided that I am overall unimpressed with Bush, but with no reason to believe Kerry was better. The tie breaker would have been for me to interview both men personally for a few days to learn how they really tick and see who I could personally place my hope for the country into. Unfortunately both men declined my invitation.
    So why did I vote for Kerry? In the end I felt I had two choices. A vote for Bush meant that I did not believe in a blind date president. I shudder at the thought of electing a man leader of the most powerful country in the world, for no other reason that you don’t like the guy he is running against. I think anyone who voted for Kerry simply because they hated Bush, and not because they thought Kerry could do a better job, should be ashamed. In the end I think few people did that and that can acount for the a lot of the popular vote in spite of various media coverage.
    In the end I voted for Kerry because I fear a Republican President with a Republican majority Congress. That’s it. I feel that a President who does not have to justify his actions to a skeptical legislative branch weakens the concept of checks and balances. I think a Congress that is free to make laws without the possibility of a Presidential veto is far too powerful.
    So of course I was horrified by the results this year. Not so much by the “Big” election, but by the fact that the Republicans also increased their hold on the legislature. Blame Bush for whatever you wnat, but if you ask me, the real bad guys for the last few decades have never had to go under the scrutiny that Presidential candidates do. I feel the Democratic party let the people in the US down in a big way by blowing their chance to find a new leader for the country and in the process sacrificing whatever controls were there in the first place. Yes, the people voted and made thier decision, but I find it hard to velieve that in the entire COUNTRY there was not a single person who would have made a better candidate. The fact that they lost so completely shows that the Democrat leadership has lost touch with it’s membership. They have fallen into a whole of negativity, complaining that everything bad is becausee of the shortcomings of the “other guy”. Thats not how you win elections. Thats not how you run a country.
    Forgive the Capraesque naivety but I still think the President of the United States is a leader, not a ruler. The people do have the power to choose the best person to represent them, but not the resources to find that person. That’s what the parties are for and in that they are failing.
    The only hope I have now is that we need not wait “Four More”. We’ll have an opportunity to look at congress again in a couple of years. Maybe we can look again with a more long term ratioonal perspective.
    Yeah, I know.
    (thus ends my longest comment… ever!)