08 November 2006

 

Obligatory Post-Election Post

First, I'm glad, or course, that the Democrats won. It's been a while since I've had this kind of good feeling about an election: 1992 comes to mind. I was living in Boston at the time, and I recall standing in line for quite some time to vote for Clinton-Gore, even though it was obvious that Clinton was going to carry Massachusetts by a substantial margin. Still, it was satisfying to have Clinton and Gore win.

By November 1994, I was living in Tennessee. I remember election night that year, being at The Pipeline, a gay bar in Memphis, with others depressed about the Republican wave sweeping the nation. It was a night that I knew was coming, likely as many of my Republican and conservative friends knew deep in their hearts that last night was coming. It stinks when you know that the heart and soul of your party has been lost: That the party's leadership, even rank and file, are corrupt, either legal or spiritually. That the pursuit of power had become the be all and end all, in respect to the needs of the nation and its people.

I understand many of my friends' concerns about the balance between left and right within the Democratic party. Their concerns about security. Their concerns about immigration. But the vast majority of Democrats, like the vast majority of all Americans, Republican or Democrat, are devoted to the security of their fellow citizens, physically, economically, and socially.

I don't trust -- have never trusted -- the leadership of the Republican party. I believe they are, by and large, more concerned with their own economic well being and slice of the pie than they are with the nation's citizens as a whole. I have long been skeptical of their cynical abuse of the religious. The way in which they have exploited the nation's fears has seemed to me to be at the least distastful, and at the most borderline treasonous. I look forward to the Congressional investigations to come. That's entirely appropriate and entirely in line with the Congressional role defined in the US Constitution and consistent with Congressional oversight as practiced in US history. Should it turn out that we went to war only to secure the re-election of the President: Well, that would be treason.

I supported the war. The Baathist regime in Iraq had refused to obey the resolutions of the UN Security Council for what seemed like time immemorial, and it was necessary for the US to step in do what the UN had said that it would do. But the conduct of the war has been near criminally negligent. Letting the Iraqi army run away. Not securing Baghdad after the fall of the Baathist regime. Letting documents that would've illustrated the corrupt relationship between Saddam and each of France and Russia be destroyed by rioters. Letting the treasure of Iraq be destroyed by looters. Not securing civil order. Not restoring, or building for once, a decent Iraqi infrastructure.

These were terrible, terrible, failures, and it is entirely appropriate that the American electorate punished those who are responsible for them. Now, we have to move forward, working to build security for ourselves and our allies; working to protect our resources, human, physical, and financial; working to build a better world where religious extremists of whatever stripe are unable to effect the kind of disproportionate influence they've yielded recently. They ought to have next to none.

A good night last night; a good day today. But the hard work continues, as it always does. Embrace it. Contribute to the success of the nation.

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