Now what?Like other bloggers for Kerry (an unorganized group, but we -- mostly -- know who we are), I was stunned by yesterday's election results. Stunned, but not altogether surprised. Here are links to some other political blogs (not necessarily pro-Kerry). Some immediate thoughts:
I agree with much of what Eric Alterman say's about the election, and even moreso with the remarks of his correspondent Charles Pierce:
They showed up. The Republican base, that is. The people who believe that their marriages are threatened by those of gay people, the people who believe there were WMD in Iraq and that Saddam waved a hankie at Mohammed Atta, the people who believe His eye is on every embryo. They all showed up, and there are more of them than there are of us. This was a faith-based electorate and, for whatever reason, their belief was stronger than our reality. This is a country I do not recognize any more.But I think Alterman is on the wrong track when he says "He [Bush] speaks their language. Our guys don’t. And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best—malignant and malicious assault at worse."
Are we supposed to begin claiming Biblical authority for our candidates? Or to say, "Yes, I understand your fear of foreigners"? Or talk about "known knowns and unknown knowns," or garble our grammar in folksy, Bush-y ways? It's their language that we have to avoid. Alter himself goes on in his next sentence to criticise "the media’s talent for pandering to their lowest common denominator," which is just what "talking their language" would amount to.
The change in thinking of that Republican base, and that larger group who voted with them this time, is not going to come from our learning to "speak their language." It is going to come much more painfully, when some of them, and then some more, and finally a critical mass wake up to see that it's all been a lie, that their husbands / wives / brothers / offspring have been killed or maimed in Iraq for no good purpose, that the tax cuts have impoverished them (by making all the formerly public services unavailable while enriching the already rich), that foreigners no longer admire but rather pity them, and that our country commands no respect because it has squandered its power.
What I'm saying is that reality, not rhetoric, is what it will take to shake faith-based politics. The rhetoric at best may help people see the reality a little sooner, but maybe not before they feel it nipping them in the ass.