A Concession Speech.

“Every now and then the country
goes a little wrong.
Every now and then a madman’s
bound to come along.
Doesn’t stop the story,
story’s pretty strong.
Doesn’t change the song…”
Stephen Sondheim

Around the time that one of my election night party guests threw up a stomachful of booze onto my patio, I knew it was over. I had spent the evening as the genial host, trying to be the voice of optimism in the face of increasingly gloomy returns, but we all knew the Dems weren’t ever going to have the stomach to really turn the lawyers loose on Ohio the way the Bush/Rove team did in Florida in 2000, didn’t we? (I’m not saying they should have, you understand – I’m not sure the country could have taken it – but it does seem to be a core example of the difference between the left and the right that the moral certitude inherent in being a conservative allows many extremisms in defense of liberty that would cause liberals to blanch.)

I’m not one of these DFLers who threatens to move to Canada or Europe every time my side loses. #1, it’s a silly threat, since the opposition would be perfectly happy for everyone on the left to vacate the country; #2, very few people ever actually do it; #3, I like it here. And I’m relatively certain that, whatever myriad horrors a second Bush term may inflict on women, blacks, gays, Muslims, the poor, and anyone naive enough to enlist in the military, the sun will continue to come up every morning, right on schedule. That sounds flippant, I know, but we get so invested in these races that it can be hard to take a step back and realize that no American president in history, no matter how reviled, no matter how divisive, has ever been able to destroy the country. And it ain’t gonna happen this time either.

I’ve seen it written that the Bush reign represents the final, ultimate shift away from America’s New Deal/Great Society era, and toward a capitalism-first philosophy of governance that will create a poverty ghetto worthy of pre-revolutionary France. I’ve heard well-respected thinkers posit that Bush’s real aim is to turn us into the Republic of Gilead and lead the faithful towards the Second Coming. Those both sound a bit extreme to me, but on the other hand, I thought outright lying to the United Nations and invading a country that was no threat to us sounded fairly extreme, too, and look what happened.

Nonetheless, I’m still here. And so is everyone else who voted the other way yesterday, and even though we’ll be continuing to take our lumps for the next four, it matters that we haven’t gone away. There’s still a left in this country, even if we do seem to be perennial losers, and if all we can do at the moment is continue to be a thorn in the side of those in charge, well, let’s get to it.

2 Comments so far

  1. JasonT (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2004 @ 7:54 pm

    Are the lyrics at the beginning from “Assassins”?

  2. JasonT (unregistered) on November 3rd, 2004 @ 7:56 pm

    Never mind, I just clicked on the link and answered my own question.

    I agree with you that the world keeps on turning, and while it probably will get bad, eventually, it will get better again. But we do have to get to work to help that day come.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.