Written Nov. 4 Reactions to the election
As I write, a full scale attack on Fallujah is taking place. Even if John Kerry had won the White House, I think this would be the policy. As a veteran who was once eloquently opposed to the war in Vietnam, Kerry said several times in the debates how he would “find the terrorists wherever they are and kill them.” He danced and danced around saying the word “liar” about W. Bush, but “kill” rolled off his tongue pretty easily. For the people of Iraq and their many, many years of suffering, there is no good news ahead.
I believe there was mass voter fraud and disenfranchisement. Marking my paper ballot with a black pen at the polling place in Rohnert Park, I could not imagine waiting in line for 4, 6, 10 hours in the rain to vote, as they did elsewhere in the country. (The blessings of being suburban and white.) What about the votes in Ohio that didn’t add up right? Lawsuits abound. We on the left are aware of Greg Palast’s work, of the work of www.blackboxvoting.org. Even if John Ashcroft lets voting information out through the Freedom of Information Act (not likely since he has weakened it so much), there is no way that this election can be reversed. So why not concentrate on building an electoral process we can trust? That is something worthy to work for, that is do-able.
My favorite commentator so far has been Van Jones, heard on the radio this morning and via the internet http://ellabakercenter.org.
He reminds us of the coalitions that have been built, the uninvolved citizens who have become involved, and that the progressives need to learn how to lead. He spoke of “lead-ism” instead of elite-ism. Rather than calling the people who voted for Bush “stupid,” let’s start taking up issues that Bush has ignored with the same vehemence that Karl Rove has sparked people about Gay Marriage.
How about big issues that affect people directly like poverty, infant mortality, health care, jobs, the deficit, superfund sites around the country whose deadly pollution may never be cleaned up, global warming, all the treaties that Bush refuses to sign (including things like the chemical weapons treaty) treatment of veterans, nuclear proliferation, depleted uranium weapons, and on and on. What are our progressive VALUES, not policy and statistics, but values.
People who think the right has a lock on religion and spirituality have only to look at the long history of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the work of priests like the Berrigan brothers, Father Roy Bougeois and all the church people behind the ongoing protests of the School of the Americas, the spirituality of Starhawk, Mathew Fox, etc. etc.
Liberation movements around the world have suffered much more bitter losses than our election, many many lives have been lost and years of struggle engaged in to “win.” (I am thinking of East Timor at this moment. There are others.) Those reformers and revolutionaries would be amused that after a few years or months of disappointment, folks want to bail. My favorite columnist, Mark Morford, (sign up for his newsletter Notes and Errata at www.sfgate.com/columnists) told this story in last Friday’s column:
“…And besides, most hardcore Republicans would, of course, love it if you’d leave the country, and take your gul-dang gay-lovin’ tofu-eatin’ tree-huggin’ pierced-labia values with you. They would love it, furthermore, if the libs in the morally-shredded red states would split for the coastal cities and the major metropolises of America, all those godless heathen places where the neighbors won’t yank the Kerry/Edwards sign outta your front lawn and chase you down and beat you with it and call it patriotism. Remember: bullies never deserve to own the playground.
Morford continued: “One of the most stirring e-mails I received during the outpouring of grief the day after the election was from a young female reader, ‘an artist, an intellectual and a Jew’ who’s been living in Mexico and who now says she’s so enraged and saddened by the election’s ugly outcome that she’s preparing to return to the States ASAP, just so she can help, so she can join the resistance, keep the right-wingers from coming after our souls. Now, that’s patriotism.
“The bottom line: Don’t disband the newfound army just because one ugly battle was lost. … It’s far from over. The tunnel is just a little darker — and longer — than we imagined.”
I agree with Morford and Jones. In addition, I will continue to write poetry, host Potlucks for Peace, and make my meager contributions to strengthen and build alternative media networks to counter government propaganda and break the consolidated corporate media monopoly’s stranglehold on our nation’s heartland