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Post-Election 2004: It's Not a "Mandate" of Anything, and Stop Whining

Am I the only person that's paid attention to the election results? With all the bitching and gloating going on over the last week, it's hard to tell.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention: President Bush won re-election by about 20 electoral votes, one state. 51% of the voting population voted for Bush, 49% voted against him (48 of which voted for Kerry).

Bush and his supporters have been calling this a "mandate" for his power. While the non-Bush supporters have gone into mourning for the nation and the Europeans have deemed all Americans, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, stupid.

Let's look at the the results of the election again: A win by one state, with 51% supporting, 49% against.

After considering the math, I have a message for both Bush supporters and non-Bush supporters, Bush supporters first: Republicans/Bush Supporters/Mr. President: Slightly more than half is not a "mandate" for anything, regardless of what GWB said in his acceptance speech. You still have about 51 million voters (and probably another 50 million or so non-voters) who don't support you. At least a few of those 53 mil (again with 50 mil or so non-voters) supporters could also easily slide against you if you screw up.

Now, I realize there aren't going to be any more elections, but if you truly believe in democracy, then you will continue to work to represent the people. Not just half of us.

Especially when you consider that, sure, 51% of the voting population voted W in for a second term, but according to an LA Times Poll (and corroborated in other polls) 54% of Americans disapprove of what's going on in Iraq. 54% also still believe the economy is going downhill. By doing the math, you'd guess that at least 4% of these people voted for you–but they are expecting you to do a better job in these areas.

Instead, you go on about how the "values campaign" is what handed the campaign to Bush, but I don't see that. Only a portion of the 51% voted under "values" and obviously there's another 49% of American voters who don't believe in your values. I don't see a "mandate" or even a clear majority here, either. So the "win on values" is a lie, and you wouldn't want to lie, would you? That would be a liberal thing to do in your eye, wouldn't it? The math is there; it's not an opinion meant to be disputed.

As both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush have acknowledged, this nation is divided, and it is up to the Bush administration to either perpetuate that divisiveness or help us come to be "united." If you try to force the unity on us, it will not be unity. Communication and openness are needed. Can you handle that? Our very national identity depends on it.

Now as for you Democrats/Non-Bush Supporters/Angry Europeans/Etc.: First of all, stop your G*DDAMN WHINING already! Bush won, fair and legally. Both major candidates had their merits and flaws, and the people who showed up to vote made their choice. Conspiracy is the mere "buzzword" of the denialists and the desperate.

Moreover, the world has not ended. I'm sure of it; I wake up every morning and am pretty sure I see a pretty intact chunk of the world outside my window. So stop acting like it. If you people give up so damn easily, it's no wonder the other side won!

Now, if you're really afraid the Bush Administration is going to bring about the end of the world, I have news for you: Democracy doesn't happen every four years. It's a continual process. Did you know that Congress goes into session every year, and they vote on a lot of things? Moreoever, did you know they are supposed to vote representing their constituents? Did you know that you, Americans, are their constituents? THEN GO AND TELL THEM HOW YOU WANT THEM TO VOTE. Write letters, sign petitions, stage peaceful protests (and PLEASE get trained in nonviolent activism first; we don't need angry teens beating on cops in the name of world peace). Educate people on your point of view; do it fairly, do it honestly, and do it with the intention of improving life for all of us, not to prove "I'm right and you're wrong, nyah nyah nyah." (We liberals are supposed to be the open-minded ones, remember?) Democracy is participatory, and if all you're doing is sitting on your thumbs whinging about conspiracy and how Bush is going to nuke us all, then you're part of the problem, not the solution.

And another thing: Did you notice 49% percent of voting Americans didn't vote for Bush? If you think only stupid people vote for Bush, how does this make us ALL stupid, when nearly half of us didn't want him as President? Whether you're an American criticizing your fellow citizens or looking down at us from another nation, you're accomplishing nothing by labeling us ALL stupid because of the election results.

And moreover–sure, the self-assured, closeminded part of me would love to believe that the people who didn't vote like me are stupid. And you know, I have heard a lot of stupid arguments for why Bush should be president (but I've heard a lot of stupid arguments for why Kerry should be president, too). But the fact of the matter is, it was a hard decision for a lot of people, and frankly, Kerry was NOT the ideal alternative by a long shot. It's really not fair to call anyone stupid under these circumstances; besides which, it just tends to put people on the defensive rather than produce anything productive. Be open-minded, people. Be fair. Be liberal–consider all points of view.

No, wait. I will take this partly back: I will accept you calling one group of Americans truly stupid: the 46% or so of the population who didn't vote at all. The true enemy of Democracy is Apathy, and these pathetic excuses for people are its antipatriotic demonspawn.

Whether you are proud of the results of the election or devastated by them, please remember these things: 1) We're not all stupid, 2) This nation is cut in HALF; "Americans" don't as a majority represent anything anymore, and 3) We are a democracy, and if we want it to work for us, we, and not our President, are the ones who have to make it work.

And if you don't remember anything else, remember this: divided, we fall.


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All original materials © 2003 R. Pickard