Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Crimes Against Nature

"Your public servants serve you right."
Adlai Stevenson

Liberal thinking this go-round was that if we just mobilized all the like-thinking Americans who'd been staying home from the polls from distain or ennui, we'd win this time.

We were wrong. We did what we told ourselves was our best, spoke out, moved on, assembled our numbers, made sure the choir was thoroughly preached to, affected the disaffected, and--we lost.

Our best has got to be better.

It's tempting to fume on the morning-after that the lesson learned is that half of the country lives on the far side of a bottomless chasm, believing that a (Christian) God is on the hotline to Bush, the world environment is ours to plunder, might is right, and women and gays are second-class citizens.

But the self-righteous right was merely the minority core of the Bush victory, not the deciding factor. I believe that those who cast what were the deciding votes for Bush look just like our friends. And that they voted for Bush not because they believe in his ultra-right views, but because they checked with their budget book and made selfish, short-term decisions about money.

Bush is the good buddy not only of the rich, but of the upper middle class. He lets you keep more of your capital gains. He's phasing out the inheritance tax. Four more years of Bush can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if you are in mid-level management and have a family with property. I think it was an all-too-easy choice for middle-of-the-roaders to make, particularly if they are sufficient isolated by geography or numbed by consumerism to be able to ignore increasingly poisened water and air and increasing class divisions in the world and in the nation.

Our mission between now and 2008 will be to bring an awareness of environmental and economic issues to those middle-of-the-roaders and expand their political consciousness so they will look beyond next April 15 and the next quarterly dividend. Your assignment: Read Robert Kennedy Jr.'s new book Crimes Against Nature. Then give it as a holiday gift to a Republican you love.

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