Friday, November 05, 2004

Jefferson: There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to it's true principles. It is true that in the mean time we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war & long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when & where they would end? "

Read the entire letter here:
From Revolution to Reconstruction: Presidents: Thomas Jefferson: Letters: PATIENCE AND THE REIGN OF WITCHES

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Uniter?

The President-elect, George W. Bush, has pledged to reach out to Kerry supporters, saying "So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it.”

What are the odds of this happening? Let's look at the record. Back in 2002, after the Republicans gained a clear majority in the Senate and strengthened their majority in the House, Vice President Dick Cheney was talking to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. The two had this exchange:

"O'Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due."

My advice: don't hold your breath waiting for Bush to toss you any crumbs. This isn't a charitable guy, and it's certainly not a charitable administration for anyone outside the base.

Not My President

I was traveling around the blogosphere yesterday, looking for reactions to the ongoing election, when I came across a post by someone named Maximos on The early exit polls looked good for Kerry and bad for Bush. Confronted with the possibility of a Bush loss, this blogger wrote "But while I certainly won't regard Kerry as my president (no commonality of beliefs whatsoever, hence, no basis for respect), we'd all do well to accustom ourselves to the dissonant clash of the phrase, "President Kerry". He then added "My harp is turned to mourning, and my organ shall speak with the voice of them that weep. Spare me, O Lord, for my days are truly as nothing."

Interestingly enough, the exit polls turned out to be premature. Kerry lost, Bush won, in an election that once again demonstrated the deep divisions in America. While not nearly as close as the election of 2000, Bush was still opposed by nearly half of the voting electorate -- 48%. Furthermore, this is a President who has shown little interest in opposing viewpoints. When confronted with someone who politely presented his disagreement with the President, Mr. Bush replied "Well, who cares what you think."

The irony is that folks like Maximos will expect -- no, demand -- that the country unite behind Bush. And that unity will take place not on common terms, but strictly on the terms Mr. Bush dictates. Anyone who opposes Mr. Bush will be branded a traitor by the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. In Mr. Bush's democracy, dissent is not tolerated; opposing viewpoints may not be presented. During the runup to the election, you were required to present proof of your allegiance to Mr. Bush if you wanted to attend a campaign rally. During his second term, you may be required to present more.

Mr. Bush had no mandate during his first term, no plurality of the popular vote, yet he governed as if he did. Might we expect any less from his second term? And what would happen if some poor soul were to echo the words of Maxmos and declare, of Bush, that he's "not my President." What then?