I want a ride on the Elephant.
You are now Republican through and through. You are
‘God’s Country.’ In the Senate, in the House and in
the Presidential offices. Your new Supreme Court
nominees can overturn Roe v. Wade. You can keep
fighting on in Iraq and take Iran to the brink. You
can keep your deficits, your pharmacare, your tax
cuts, and your big oil money flowing. And keep those
Defense contracts primed up, baby. It’s going to be
You beat the Democrats into oblivion. There’s nothing
left of them. So this morning, given the immensity of
the rout, we are all diminished, we are all
impoverished and we are all possible recipients of
An election which defines a time and a generation only
comes along about once every fifty years. This time
the whole world was watching. This was the election
where we all ended up liking John Kerry. But it
wasn't good enough.
We wanted to fall in love with him.
We wanted the "Going Upriver" John Kerry, the shaggy
haired 70's one, 27 years old, speaking against the
war at the Senate Committee meetings just arrived from
Vietnam. We wanted the earnest John Kerry preaching
about "commitment" at the Yale debating club offices.
He was the right candidate at the right time. The
Curse of the Bambino had been broken, the stage had
been set and the Kerry storyline was compelling. He
had us and then he lost us. But in the end, the
mythology and the narrative of the campaign didn't fit
the gravity of the times. It was underwhelming.
We wanted so much more. We expected so much more. We
deserved so much more.
Perhaps John Kerry committed the most egregious
violation of all humankind - he failed to inspire when
the age and the time demanded it. We wanted to
believe in somebody again. But he was too wooden, too
much the icon Senator from Massachusetts, too
weathered by experience to speak freely in the kind of
language we were looking for.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The age demanded that we
sing and dance and jammed us into iron pants." That's
how the last four years made us feel. We wanted to
believe again. How many time do I have to say it?
We wanted that kind of Robert Kennedy feeling - hell
we would have settled for Bill Clinton.
John, we weren’t asking for much.
To be fair, John Kerry's greatest moments were at the
debates where he manhandled George W. Bush, beating
him on every point, on erudition, style and
experience, at will. It was embarrassing to watch the
stupefied and awkward President attempting to parry
the blows. If it had been a hockey fight, Kerry would
have been like Tie Domi flipping Bush's sweater over
his head and pummeling him with an endless barrage of
blows. Kerry ended up being the Joe Frazier of
American politics, but we wanted Ali. Kerry was like
the ski-jumper from Wide World of Sports who falls on
the runway and lands on his head in his Moment of
If the rest of the world was voting, John Kerry would
This wasn't just a Democratic collapse of epic
proportions where heads will roll and blame will be
apportioned accordingly. The battle for the swing
states was lost, John Edwards couldn't carry his home
state, Clinton didn't bring Arkansas, Gore couldn't
bring Tennessee and Richardson couldn't bring New
Mexico. Voting for Republican America was a way for
Middle America to flip the bird to the rest of the
world. It was a big, giant "fuck you all" to the
critics of America. It was an affirmation of the Bush
White House and his handling of the wars, the economy,
his leadership and his cabal of right wing ideologues.
But for the rest of us, we will look upon America as
if it's Robert Altman's Nashville that the “Best
Before” date on the Bush White House passed long ago
for most of rest of the world.
Republican America, you are a nation deluded about
your place in the world, your visions of Empire,
wearing an ideological straitjacket custom fitted by
Pat Robertson and the Christian right.
This isn't a Chicken Little vision of the world, but
things got a little meaner, a little harder, a little
bit more serious after last night. Secular America
was given a drubbing last night.
It’s roll up the sleeves time.
So sleep tight America, everthing’s going to be ok.
The response to the Republican landslide will bring
out the best side of you the one we like. Your own
citizenry will be engaged in a way that it never has
been before. It will be a litigious time in the
courts, but maybe politics will matter again.
The Bush that America voted for will be remembered as
the most divisive, controversial President of modern
times. But he found a way to win.
So it’s now up to you, people of America, to take back
your country in other ways, to temper your nation’s
excesses, to find a better way. We’ll be watching.
We don’t have a choice.