Unavoidably, I’ve been fretting. Not about the election. Fretting about what ended when Ohio went red. It was then quite clear that better than half of this country believes that a none-too-bright man who sends kids to die in a war born out of some personal, clandestine, money-driven agenda is our better moral guardian.
That’s what the majority voted for, we’re told. Morality. By God, if we have to strip every faggot of the basic rights that decent people enjoy; if we have to put street-sweeper shotguns and AK-47s in the hands of all those decent people to protect those rights while allaying their fear of The Black Man (not to mention all the wets pouring over our border to take slaughterhouse and bedpan-handling jobs away from honest-to-God Americans); if we have to deprive seniors of quality health care and affordable prescription drugs to prove that most of the old farts are malingerers; then we’ll do it all, and a hell of a lot more.
George W. Bush, more than half this country said, will be a humble, compassionate, warmly glowing beacon who’ll lead us through the fetid morass of greed, gluttony, envy, pride, rage and laziness — not to mention the rampant, lizard-brained humping — that the U.S. of A. has become.
So on that account, the time for fretting is past.
It’s the kids I stew about. Oh, nothing so candy-assed and unpatriotic as their march off to war. Every red-blooded American knows that when it gets rough — or when our political leadership, industrialists and televangelists tell us it is — kids are cannon-fodder. That’s just the way it has to be if this country is going to export democracy — and the freedom to watch Reality TV — to the rest of the world.
What I fret about is disillusionment. For all the numbers juggling, dervish-like spinning and outright confusion about “the youth vote” in Election Naught4, teens and young adults showed up in a big way. The flat-stupid assumption that they’d all go with John Kerry didn’t pan out, of course. But whether they voted like Mom and Dad or thought for themselves, they got up, got out, showed up, signed their names, stood in line and got into the mess.
They showed up because there was a clearly defined fight being fought, there were two sides to choose from, and they overcame their own malaise and withstood endless lines in some polling places to make themselves heard.
Many new, young voters came into the system. Most of them lost — their guy lost, their vision lost. They lost.
The troubling question about the new youth voters now is, are they tough enough for 21st-century American politics? Many of them have now suffered the beating we all must, at one time or another. Can they take it? Will they look back before their own frame of reference? Will they look, for example, to the civil rights movement and the Vietnam era anti-war movement and learn that when you take it in the teeth, it’s truly American to stand up, spit out the blood and get back in the fight.
It’ll always be there. And with enough work, sometimes the good guys win.Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org