Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What He Said, Part 2

As you've heard me say before, here, be nice until it's time to not be nice. We can be gracious if we are victorious but, of course, it remains to be seen how they will accept that graciousness. Publius gets it right again:

"But as much as I reject this administration, and as happy as I will be to see them go (I trust that I've earned credibility on that point), I also see enormous potential in a Kerry victory for all of America. But that can only happen if we are good winners.

And if these people see a bunch of Democratic gloating, it will only harden the partisan divide that is poisoning America and American politics.

One of the lessons of 9/11 for me was that there is a deep longing - an intense craving actually - for national unity. People are so sick of the polarization. And Bush had his chance after 9/11. If he had struck a more centrist tone, and treated terrorism like a national challenge rather than a political tool to punish Democrats, then he would have won 45 states. But he blew it.

When Kerry wins, it's going to be time to make a case for something rather than against something.

The point is that disillusioned center-conservatives should stop conceptualizing the Democratic Party the way it was in the 1970s - or in the way that decades of GOP media strategists have constructed it. It's got a great deal to offer. The people you hate (Michael Moore) have been marginalized, and don't have any real influence with the government (unlike the equivalent GOP wing). And despite Kerry's past, he's such a political creature that I predict he will try to imitate Clinton's centrism. Frankly, this seems a lot more appealing to me than the increasingly theocratic GOP under Rove. To me, the post-Clinton Democratic Party strikes all the right balances. It's pro-business, but with a heart. It's pro-jobs, withoug being corporate whores. It's pro-military, but not jingoistic. It's pro-values, but doesn't gay-bash. It's inclusive, and its policies are, to me, more consistent with the tenets of the world's major religions. In short, it's what a majority of Americans would prefer if they would just stop viewing everything through the socially constructed lens of "liberal vs. conservative."

But we have to make that case. We have to see this election as a window of opportunity to convince and persuade, not gloat and point fingers. What we should not do is view anything as our "due." Finally, we may have an opportunity to show why our party (or the party I'm currently aligned with - for now) governs better. This election is a beginning, not an end. An olive branch would go a long way in soothing the burn of tonight's election. And you catch more flies with honey."

And, as reader Doctor BioBrain points out, remember that history taught us the punitive justice handed out to Germany led to WWII. The alliance building after WWII, and the rebuilding, helped build lasting friends and democracies.