Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Despite the Dems' fantasy that just about every single provisional vote in Ohio went to Kerry [which was abandoned as I wrote this], this election was not close enough for talk of it being 'stolen' to gain much traction in the coming days, I suspect. This is good for the country's image of itself as a well-functioning democracy, or if you like, for its complacency. As someone with radical doubts (whether or not these could also be described as radical convictions) I know I'm not supposed to care which of these two losers win -- but that doesn't mean the next four years will be any less locally unpleasant. Four more years of the same statements about Iraq and the economy no matter what is actually happening; more importantly, four more years of what is actually happening. Four more years of Ashcroft; plus, this time, the strong, even looming likelihood that Supreme Court seats will be filled by hand-picked conservatives. Four more years of a political ideology that treats Social Darwinism as a more robust theory than the biological variety.

If this election was stolen at all, it was done long ago, by the strategy -- apparently more effective today than when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were the too-obviously-smarmy faces of the Christian right -- of framing selected social issues as deal-breakers, no matter what is happening to one's selfish or class-based interests, or who's dying where. I was struck, in listening to NPR coverage, to reports about the number of voters who said that 'moral values' -- which barely even pretends to be a disguise for 'religion' -- was key.

But why are the legality of the choice of others to bear a child or not, and to live together as a married couple or not, matters of 'moral values' while expedient lying, exploitation, and the pursuit of vengeance are not? Why do these appeals work here in a way that they could never work in a number of other industrialized nations?

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