Let's get real

More Salon readers confront the realities of George W. Bush's America.

By Salon Staff
Published November 6, 2004 5:04AM (UTC)
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[Read the first round of letters here.]

As an old North Dakota Non-Partisan Leaguer said, "Don't mourn, organize!" Had Kerry won, he would have faced a nearly impossible task in both saving Iraq and the U.S. budget. As it is, a Democratic victory in the next election is nearly a sure thing. Bush may be able to fool enough of the people enough of the time, but as Iraq becomes the neo-Vietnam, as the boomers discover that their retirement has been squandered, as the jobs fly overseas and the dollar plummets, the consequences will smack people in the face like a two-by-four.


Remember that even with Vietnam an obvious disaster, Nixon won reelection with lies -- just as Bush has. Arrogance comes before the fall, and the decline of the American Empire has begun. To turn that into a direction of decency and reason will take more than regret and wishful thinking. It will take shoe leather and elbow grease.

For now we will have to organize to defend. In two years we can be in a position to lead. Let's get to it.

-- William Roath


I appreciate Howard Dean trying to talk progressives back from the ledge, but I am having a hard time seeing that I will be off that ledge anytime before 2008. Four more years. A triumphant Bush with command of the Congress, pushing through judges, raping the environment, ignoring the poor and uninsured, going on more foreign adventures.

Four more years.

I am sick to my stomach, literally sick. I hate this man, this president. And what I hate most of all, I suppose, is that I am sharing a country with nearly 60 million people who look at this disaster of an administration, and think it's a good thing. Us intellectual liberal types aren't supposed to say it, but let's pretend I'm Ann Coulter for the left: How fucking stupid are those people? And why in God's name should I, and my children, be punished because they're so fucking stupid?


You know what you Republicans can do with your smirking, snide, Schadenfreude calls for "reaching out" and "working together"? You can shove 'em where the sun don't shine. You beat us, battered us, abused us, lied, cheated, stole, and now you want us to play fair and nicey-nice? Well, forget it. We didn't declare this culture war, baby, but we're sure going to finish it.

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm not backing away from the ledge any time soon.


-- Doug Moran

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we need to reach out to hicks, blah, blah, blah.

Again, television media made a mockery of our national discourse and we're all blaming ourselves. Swift Boat liars needed only a $100K media buy to reach full-country saturation with the help of our television news. Ad campaigns featuring grieving mothers were ignored. Lying liars lied again and again while television "journalists" stared off into space. If a significant percentage of Bush voters believed things which were demonstrably untrue, our media had the obligation to set them straight. Of course, our media not only allowed the misinformation, but cultivated it.


As long as pampered, powdered, 401K'd millionaires run our political discourse on television, our political system will continue to be broken.

-- Bill Batten

I'm angry, mad, disappointed, etc., etc., etc. But here is the upside as I see it: The vacuous, simplistic, thimble-deep "majority" that reelected this trained monkey and his henchmen/corporate backers, ah, I mean "administration," will get what they deserve, free and clear. Let the body bags keep rolling from the Middle East, let health care get hollowed out, let the evisceration of the middle class roll on unabated, let civil liberties get erased in name of "moral values," whatever the fuck that is. But at least it will be clear four years from now who is responsible -- no blaming Democrats who are "weak on defense," who lack "the courage of their convictions."


Enjoy the honeymoon, America. Reap what you've sown.

-- Doug Hopkins

Reading about your sadness, invitations to come to Canada and reasons to continue to stay here and fight gave me the first feelings of happiness since the numbers started to slip Tuesday night. Let's all stay in touch; we need each other for our hearts to survive. Proud to be from Blue Oregon!

-- Irene Frost


It is easy to feel the angst and anger of half a nation. It is one more crisis for an already loaded psyche the progressive American must face. Crisis means a call for change. Kerry is a candy-ass for not demanding it. Instead of conceding with a polite whimper, why not express some outrage? He's talking to Bush about unification when the nation is really anything but unified. He could have been a great catalyst for a grieving nation. Must the Republicans have all the alpha males?

-- Michael Taluc

The Democrats have Springsteen, the Republicans have the boss.

-- John Bonaccorsi


As I read the comments here about the election, it is absolutely stunning to me how blind and ignorant the left is to the current mood of this country.

Many conservatives can no longer find a way to vote for a liberal, because we know that in their hearts liberals don't just hate what we believe -- they hate us. They talk a good game when they run a national election, but in reality they grasp very little of we think is important.

The left championed Michael Moore and his fellow Hollywood snobs. What they still cannot see is that for every vote Moore wins, he repels two others. Who sees this loud-mouthed, self-important oaf and says, "Hey, there's someone I want to be like"? Michael Moore repulses people who are traditionally considered swing voters.

The electoral lock that the Republican Party now has in the South threatens to make it practically impossible for any true liberal to win another national election. Future elections will be won by talking with the Southern U.S. voter, not down to them. Until and unless Democrats stop labeling everyone who votes Republican as stupid, ignorant, hateful and "redneck", the Democratic Party's relevance will continue to decline. If liberals cannot find it in their soul to listen to the moral and social concerns of conservatives, their party threatens to go into further, and perhaps permanent, decline.


-- Mike Rapp

The Democratic Party has been limping since LBJ enacted the Civil Rights Act. At that pivotal moment in the party's history they went from being a political party bent on the continuation of its dominance and lock on national policy to a party convinced that it is right and shouldn't need to play the game of politics with their ideals.

The Democratic Party sees George W. Bush as inflexible, stubborn and above all, stupid. I think that is a bit of projection. GWB understands virtue, as Machiavelli would put it. He plots his policy not by the narrow advice of a few advisors or a vice president, but by what his key constituencies want. By giving his constituencies a taste of their policy goals he is able to string them on without any concessions at all. The first hit is always free. With the evangelicals, the supply-siders and the neoconservatives all dependant on them for any policy at all (they aren't going to get it from the Democrats) he is free to attack the other party's base. His core is chasing the big hit and the president is happy to dangle it in front of them. An amendment barring gay marriage with very little chance of passing toyed with the religious right. The president holds all the power. The right can't leave the president over the failure to pass it (once again the Democrats or a third party seem unlikely to support this) and the president has to do next to nothing to further their goals past that initial first hit.

It is in fact the Democratic Party that is inflexible, stubborn and above all stupid. They need to prioritize their policy into coalitions that can win. Is gun control worth losing the ability to provide healthcare? Is abortion (an issue that no longer wins a large number of female voters) worth heavy-handed diplomacy and military dominance of the other party? Is the environment more important than winning the support of business? Is a pacifist stance on foreign issues worth tax cuts for the right?

I don't have any answers but I do know the Democratic Party can no longer afford to be everything to everyone.

-- Thomas Howery

Why is that Americans of the liberal/left fetishize Canada? I'm thinking here of Michael Moore asserting in "Bowling for Columbine" that we Canucks don't lock our doors. I sure as hell do. I've got two deadbolts on mine. And now we've got Salon's Kevin Berger mocking us, which is all good, by suggesting littering is a criminal offence here. C'mon. If you're going to satirize Canada, learn something about it. Sure, Berger knows the three Prairie provinces, but can he name the Maritime provinces? Does anyone in the U.S. know that Canada's capital ain't Toronto? Do you have any idea that we have a fundamentalist Christian right, too? We have racism. We have gun problems. We have all the same problems the U.S. has. Just not to the same degree. And we have some Made in Canada issues to boot.

Really, I find the American liberal/left's fascination with Canada to be touching, but I find it most annoying and infuriating that it's a fascination with an idealised Great White North.

As Bob and Doug McKenzie once opined, "Take off, eh! Ya hosers!"

-- Matthew Barlow

I see a lot of sad faces and feel a lot of angry emotions coming from Democrats/liberals . There's no reason for this. Here are some things to be happy about:

It's OVER. I know, not the way we wanted it to be over -- but it's over. Praise the Lord. No chads, no recounts, no Supreme Court decision, no Florida hicks bitching on TV.

Nixon. We got through that one; we'll get through this one.

Feel free to watch Fox News and think to yourself, "Gosh, eventually, all these people will be dead. Dead, dead, dead."

There will continue to be a steady stream of material for "The Daily Show."

Bush will propose things we hate. We'll fight them. He'll propose Supreme Court justices we hate. We'll fight them. He still won't have a grasp on the English language. We'll snicker.

Only two years until we take back the Senate.

The new domestic and international policies and laws you are dreaming of haven't vanished. It's not a matter of "if" it's a matter of when. This is a short-term setback for some very large and time-consuming improvements we are making in society.

Know that Ohio will get exactly what it has coming to it.

Remember, we're the good guys! Feel free to act and feel morally and ethically superior to conservatives. We're right, they're wrong. Tell people you're liberal and proud! It's time to free the "L" word from conservative propaganda. Forward, not backwards! Advance, not retreat! Modern, not retro!


The universe has come back into balance now that Rudy Giuliani has returned from a temporary state of "America's greatest hero ever -- a beacon of light in an otherwise darkened universe" to his normal state of "asshole."

You can join the ACLU or the Human Rights Campaign or another charity of your choice. Whoever you select, make sure Bill O'Reilly has called them "a bunch of pinheads" and you'll know you're on track.

As is tradition, Ann Coulter must now return to her ancient home on Mount Olympus and return to her life as "Festerpus," the Godess of Crazy Bitches.

Read Salon, listen to NPR, read the New York Times and be damn proud of it! More Liberal Media Bias, I say! You down with the L - M - B? Yeah, you know me!

Four more years to witness Dick Cheney morph into Skelator. They're building Castle GreySkull in DC as we speak! Honest!

Election? Man, that's so Tuesday. Welcome to Wednesday!

-- Carl Graci

Dear President Bush:

Now that you've been reelected and can stop the charade you called a campaign, will you please tell us what the fuck it is that you're wearing under your clothes?

-- Heidi Lindborg

Salon Staff

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