I apologize for foisting another post-election autopsy off on you. I'd understand perfectly if you never wanted to hear another word about it. But from a personal standpoint, I can hardly just skip on over without saying something. Not after dedicating four long, miserable, bitter years of my life to the effort.
So here, patient readers, without further ado, is my explanation as to why that numb-nuts beat Kerry. There are slightly more dumb people in America than smart people.
There you have it... why Bush won. And if you've come to me looking for reconciliation and fence-mending, that's as close to it as you're gonna get.
I honestly didn't see it coming. I went into Election Day so confident that we would once and for all be rid of the "loathsome bastards" (as one sympathetic correspondent called them) that I had prepared my post-election opinion months in advance--though it wasn't an opinion in the usual sense. I considered Bush's defeat to be such a glorious day for our nation that the occasion deserved a full Broadway musical production. Yes. Big, loud, foot-tapping music. Think Andrew Lloyd-Webber ... huge chorus, dancing girls, show-stopping tunes and a full-scale Air Force One mock-up landing on stage to deliver John Kerry to a wildly joyous audience. It was going to be neat, I tell you. I hadn't worked out all the details on how to fit it into two columns and 1,000 words, but it was going to be really, really neat.
But ... alas and alack, huh? Maybe I'll just store it on my Broadway musical shelf and adopt it to when Hillary wins in '08.
Am I depressed? Hey, does Dick Cheney use Beano?
Christ yes, I'm depressed! But understand something. It's not so much because I'll have Bush to kick around for another term, as you might think. It's no cheery thought that we will have four more years of incompetent economic leadership, four more years of American jobs projectile vomiting out to third-world countries, four more years of chaos and death in Iraq and Afghanistan, four more years of assault on our environment, our education, our health care, our courts, our liberty and our honor.
But I suspect there will come the day--soon--when John Kerry is glad he wasn't the one chosen to clean up the Imperial Party's mess. It's only fitting that Bush live in his own filth, he being the one who created it. And then, when things are finally bad enough that it can only get better, I have cautious faith we will turn once again to intelligence and talent--to the likes of FDR, JFK and WJC--to lead us out of this black age.
Of course for that to happen, a few million of those dimmer wits I mentioned earlier are gonna have to smarten up a tad.
Is that likely to happen?
Well, friends, that's what's so depressing--not simply that we have the slowest common denominator as our representative to the world or an administration of inept criminals, but that there are slightly more dumb people in America than smart people. If you had asked me 30 years ago--back when my hope out-weighed my cynicism ... when I believed most humans would chose enlightenment over ignorance--that by the new millennium, more Americans than not would no longer be able to distinguish between verifiable truth and even the most carefully woven web of lies, I would have refused to accept it.
Yet the proof is irrefutable. An October survey from the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (titled "The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters") illustrates that even immediately prior to the election, 75 percent of Bush supporters continued to believed Iraq and al-Qaeda were partners in the terrorism of 9/11. Remember, this is after a season-long monsoon of information to the contrary had poured forth from sources even within the administration.
And get this: 57 percent are certain Bush is a popular figure beyond our own borders and that the majority of foreigners wanted him reelected. Even more incredibly, over half of Bush people think Bush approved of the Kyoto treaty on global warming, and 74 percent believe that this administration promotes labor and environmental standards in trade agreements with other countries. (For more, go to www.pipa. org.)
Now, let's say you were a special needs teacher ... and let's say these morons were your students ... just how much progress would you expect out of them in the next four years?
It is no coincidence that when the red/blue map is compared with an accounting of which states have the most highly educated residents, the states that went to Al Gore and John Kerry are those with the highest percentages of people with college educations. Conversely, the greater the margin of victory for Bush in a particular state, the less likelihood there is of those voters having acquired the analytical skills and broader understanding provided by an advanced education. (And listen. To those who, at this point, would snort some tired dismissal about "educated idiots," it may do well to remember that without educated idiots, you and your kind would likely still be living in a cave and eating roasted rodents ... assuming that by now, you had figured out fire on your own.)
Nor can we ever rely on any Republican administration to raise the percentages of cognitive thinkers in their base by providing a more accessible and affordable path to a higher education. That would be like a Roman galley ship throwing the slave oarsmen overboard to lighten the load.
In short, the people most imperiled by bad policy turned out in record numbers to endorse and deepen their own level of risk. It's nothing new to Ma Nature. Herding animals are known to follow one another over a cliff in a stampede to escape a perceived threat. It's the nature of fear to stupefy the fearful, and predators from velociraptor right on up to Karl Rove have exploited the dynamic to their benefit.
But while we wallow for a few weeks in our despair, my low-spirited friends, keep in mind that while 59 million Americans have chosen to mover nearer the precipice, 56 mil of us are still out there, trying to stop the plunge. We're out-numbered, no doubt about that. And obviously, we can be out-maneuvered. But we will never be out-reasoned. The test will be whether we can put our brains where our despair is.
Now excuse me, but I have a tragic opera to get started on.