Whether Bush Won Democratically or Not, He Has Power: What Now?

by Brendan Lalor

We’re angry that Black voters in Ohio cast votes against Bush that were likely ignored. We’re angry because giant media corporations won’t investigate the story. We’re worried about the further erosion of checks and balances, now that right-wing extremists exercise even more significant control over every branch of government. We’re worried about Bush pulling out all the stops and moving to implement more of his domestic shock and awe program: discriminatory amendments to the Constitution, privatization of Social Security, more military and economic dominance in the Middle East, more undermining of the U.N., more taxpayer dollars transferred to weapons corporations, to pharmaceutical corporations, and of course to oil services corporations, more ravaging of the environment, more undermining of civil liberties, more brushing aside of any expert opinion and any science that conflicts with right-wing ideology, and so on.

The Uniter. But Georgie’s not a divider, remember? As he put it in a news conference earlier today,

Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I will reach out to everyone who shares our goals and I’m eager to start the work ahead. (CNN 4 Nov. 2004)

He’s such a uniter, he’s promised to work with everyone who agrees with him! The truth is, as Maureen Dowd put it, Bush was

elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn’t want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel. (NYT 4 Nov. 2004)

Silver Lining? At least — we can console ourselves — Bush will be the one to face the consequences of his hubris, to reap what he has sown: a collapsing economy, a deteriorating situation in Iraq, a new army of terrorists waiting to avenge the victims of his violence, and a looming energy crisis.

What Now? Let’s face it: For our own safety, and for justice at home and abroad, we need progressives in power. And although Kerry trumps Bush, he is no progressive. As George Lakoff has argued, we progressives have failed to articulate persuasively how universal health care, education, job creation, less discrimination, a smaller War Department budget, more investment in peace, sustainable agriculture and energy, and nonviolent conflict resolution are all part of a single, positive, coherent vision. The religious extremists and neocons who control our country have done better.

Progressives now turn to a season of soul-searching and planning, and must find ways to articulate the coherent unity of the progressive vision in such a way that mainstream Americans identify it as their own vision. I suggest that Lakoff is a place to start.

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