Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The under-thirty crowd preferred Kerry, too

How interesting. According to the NGP exit polls, voters under the age of thirty overwhelmingly voted for Kerry, and if you were to count their votes alone, Kerry would have come off with 375 electoral votes to Bush’s 163. Counting this way would have flipped a bunch of Bush states to Kerry, but only one Kerry state to Bush (Maine.)

What does it all mean, if anything? Well, the under-thirty crowd did a better job of casting their ballots this year, at least. Most people I know are over thirty, though (including myself,) and many of them voted for Kerry, and I’m glad they voted. We oldsters shouldn’t be shut out of the voting process just because there were so many among us who voted for deficit spending and solitary, illegal war in the Middle East. We do need a stern talking-to, though.

I wouldn’t read this as a case for optimism about the future. I made that mistake during this past election, believing that the people would vote their interests, and I was wrong. I spent much of November in a funk, and now I’m in a kind of oblivious detachment from the damage that my government is doing to my country and my world. It hurts too much to remain engaged, particularly since so many of the people who voted this time (as ever) aren’t really at all engaged in the issues, but rather with things like images and TV commercials and that sort of thing. Yes, Bush won extremely narrowly, but according to his administration and the Republicans in Congress, that gives him the right to ignore the narrow minority that finds what he’s doing and the way he’s doing it odious and objectionable.

Sometimes the wrong side wins. Sometimes governments manage to drive their nations in the wrong direction and over cliffs, either blind or indifferent to what they’re doing. Anyone who’s ever read history knows that it’s happened before, time and again, and there’s no reason to suspect it can’t happen again. A country as large, rich and successful will take much more poor policy to ruin, but it can be done. It would probably take longer for us than a lot of other nations, but it can happen. Maybe it’s these short winter days that have been getting me down, but I feel utterly defeated by a government that openly expresses contempt for me and for people like me. The Republican Party of today is hell-bent on cutting taxes, curbing civil rights and expanding the role of Christianity in shaping public policy—small wonder it’s demonizing progressives like myself.

I haven’t voted for a Republican since 1994. That was back when I still felt you ought to vote for the best candidate, regardless of the party. I’ve been a registered Democrat since 1992, I’ve been voting since 1988, and I’ve always leaned Democratic. But since the Republican Party has moved so far to the right, and since it’s actively trying to destroy my kind, well… damn them all to hell. You want culture war? You’ve got it.

I’m sure in a cheerful mood this morning, aren’t I? Well, it’s your fault, Bush voters. Get that crook out of office and I may cheer up. It’s worth a shot. So get on it!


At Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at 10:36:00 PM EST, Blogger Gadget said...

A poll showed that the majority of the under thirty crowd gets their news from the Daily show, and not the great conservative echo chamber. Maybe this explains their untainted wisdom. My son is a Junior at Central Michigan and gets his fill from Jon Stewart. His accurate knowledge of current events surpasses his elder Uncles. For those of you unfamiliar with the Daily show, it is on the Comedy Central channel, following a show about puppets making crank phone calls.

Chance you say that "A country as large, rich and successful will take much more poor policy to ruin, but it can be done".

These changes will not happen with a Fox news flash, or on the scroll at the bottom of the screen. The foundations, think tanks and powers that shape our policy have been busy planning since the mid seventies. Think of them as a freight train that lost brakes, going down a 7 percent grade. Only way of stopping it, is too crash it off of the tracks.

The echo chamber grinds out the daily drum beat of all our broken ailments, schools, social security, terror, the tax code. If it isn't broke, fix it till it is.

The whole time I was thinking that conservative meant leaving well enough alone. Keep telling us it is broke. Said long enough, and often enough, it becomes believable. For the gullible.

Which change will we see first? A. Public schools, gone? Line up for your voucher now! B. Faith-Based initiatives, gone haywire? C. A disappearing act by group of Americans formerly known as the middle class?

At Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 10:19:00 AM EST, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

It's sad, Gadget, but you're absolutely correct: modern conservatives are working to break everything that serves us. And the hell of it is that they aren't openly complaining about the things they're trying to break. I mean, the core supporters are saying we need to defund public schools and stem support away from Social Security, that we need to abolish welfare and Christianize all Americans, but when selling their message, it's all about sappy, ersatz patriotism and the fear of a vague, ever-looming threat of freedom-hating foreigners.

The debate isn't about whether public education is working; you really can't argue that it isn't. The debate is really over whether we should have it at all. But instead of pushing for its abolition, conservatives are just trying to break it by complaining about how much it costs and grousing about the tolerance that pervades our public schools. Then, once they've defunded and demonized it, they can stand up and say, "See? See? Told you so! It doesn't work!"

I like your derail-the-train metaphor. That's what this amounts to. Ultraconservatives have had ideas since the 1970s, and they're managing to ramrod them through. God help us if we progressives can't expose these selfish, greedy, short-sighted criminals for the menace that they are.


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