Election 2004 and the Aftermath

I wish I had written something on Wednesday, when all of my emotions were raw and vitrolic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really write anything besides angry rants and whiny raves as a result of the deep emotions I felt. However, several other people summed up this election better than I could in its immediate aftermath.

William Saletan at Slate wrote:

[Simplicity] is what so many people like about Bush’s approach to terrorism. They forgive his marginal and not-so-marginal screw-ups, because they can see that fundamentally, he “gets it.” They forgive his mismanagement of Iraq, because they see that his heart and will are in the right place. And while they may be unhappy about their economic circumstances, they don’t hold that against him. What you and I see as unreflectiveness, they see as transparency. They trust him.

Greg Knauss at Waxy wrote:

This determined emotionalism—which is another way of saying anti-rationalism—is what drives us today. You can find it distasteful, you can find it depressing, but it’s most important impact is that we have turned over the direction of the country—our future—to the part of our psyche that doesn’t want to think.

It’s not about smarts. The lunatics aren’t stupid—just the opposite. It’s about the willingness to abandon the deductive process in favor of epiphany. It’s about the abandonment of the brain in favor of the gut.

Jason Kottke wrote:

It’s not necessarily that America as a whole validated the actions of George Bush over the past four years… it’s that the Republican Party got more of their people to the polls than the Democrats did. Looking out across America, what’s one of the largest groups of people with a single strongly-held set of beliefs? The evangelical Christians. They comprise a large portion of the US population and believe in God more strongly than most other groups believe in anything. The Bush camp used a coordinated campaign to speak directly to those people and put their strong belief in God in direct opposition to what the other side stood for: liberals want to kill innocent babies, allow gays to marry, and let non-Christians run the country/world. To an evangelical Christian, the fear that those things will happen is almost overwhelmingly unbearable.

Jesse at Hyperion Court wrote:

We need to remember that the contest was close. While Bush will act like he has an overwhelming mandate, he received no such thing. The country is divided in half, and the divide runs deep. We can’t win by outvoting or outspending or outsliming the forces arrayed against us. We have to bridge that divide. We have to make people understand why we think the way we do. If you want to take your country back, you’re going to have to change it first. That battle will never end, but it can be won. It starts now.

I think these four posts sum up the election result in great ways. I’ve sampled some great bits, but read the full posts for even more good stuff. I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but all of them are worth the read. Eventually, I was able to get my thoughts together in writing.