Today I woke up disgusted.
I thought better of the American people. Apparently we really are a nation of brain-eating zombies. I'm not entirely sure why I ever thought otherwise, actually. I guess I must have been caught up by my innate optimism or something, or because most of the people I actually know are cool people that don't use their skull cavities for vacuum storage.
But I'm disgusted, and I've lost a lot of my hope for the future of America, because today I've realized that this is the result of an ongoing cultural war that's been going on for almost 25 years, and I'm on the losing side. Not only that, unlike my side, the people leading the charge on the winning side aren't interested in hearing the opposition opinion (my opinion) on anything, they're perfectly willing to tell the losing side to fuck off, we're right, and God is on our side, and nothing and no one will convince them otherwise. If not for Ross Perot, we'd have likely had 28 straight years of rule (not leadership) by a party at whose core is hatred, greed, and hypocracy (though, to be fair, they've got no monopoly on the latter). I won't also include ignorance, stupidity, and backwardness; those are traits of the people who vote for them -- the people they vote for share none of those traits, and probably agree with my assesment even while they gladly take those votes so they can exploit them.
Now, it's probably true that a great number of the people who voted for Bush were driven by neither hatred, greed, nor hypocracy. Possibly, just possibly, they weren't ignorant, stupid, or backward. But hatred, greed, and hypocracy dominates the Republican party today, and anyone who voted for Bush today is complicit with condoning that. Would that the Eisenhower Republicans return to dominance, I'd have hope -- or even the Nixon Republicans, for that matter. But they're dead, and Reagan has given us what we have today, a party dead set on bankrupting this nation both morally and economically. A party in control of all three branches of the Federal Government, and a party that's likely to consolidate that hold on power, because that's clearly what the majority of (voting) Americans want.
I've heard a lot of talk lately (among my more liberal friends) of how to "take back America," but America was already been given a choice, and it made it. To me, it's not about winning. If the values I hold can't win today, then I weep for America as it speeds its decline, a decline that until recently I believed was avoidable. To me, reducing poverty is important (are you against abortion? Well, it's gone up dramatically under Bush -- if you're against abortion, you should be against economic hardship first. As if poverty wasn't enough of a drain on its own). To me, reforming health care and education is important, because the former is an immediate drain on the economy, and the latter critical to our long term economic future. To me, keeping taxes in line with expenses (or vice-versa) is important, because otherwise we're only taxing our future. To me, taking care of our natural resources in important, because not to do so is destroying our future. To me, going to war with people who are actually threats, and taking action when it's actually in our own interest is important, because otherwise we strain ourselves to no purpose at the cost of lives, dollars, and the direct damage this does to our military which someday we may actually need. To me, acknowledging the truth is important, no matter how inconvenient it may seem, no matter how medium the shade of gray. To me, lip service to all of these values isn't enough.
And to me, changing my values is not an acceptable answer.
If anybody thinks I'm limiting the ignorant, stupid, and backward to Bush voters alone, I'm not... I'm sure that a large number of Kerry supporters fit the bill quite nicely. When you're sharing a country with brain-eating zombies, some of them might go the right direction completely by accident. And some of the friends I have that exercise their brain muscles once in a while probably did vote for Bush. But most, I'm quite certain, did not, and I'm convinced that a thoughtful, informed electorate never would have elected Bush to a second term -- I'm not particularly enamored of Kerry, but he just wasn't worse. Perhaps my standard is simply too high. If so, so be it. The truly sad thing is that the rest of the world isn't really any better than America, albeit not always for the same reasons, but I was hoping against hope that we could do better.
That said, I'm glad to be packing my bags. I wouldn't have just for this, but right now at least, this is a time I'd like an excuse not to be here. And besides, maybe a little distance will make me appreciate this country again. Even if it's going to hell.