By Kymberlie Adams Matthews
I clearly represent your ‘anything but Bush’ combination
of veganist, environmentalist, feminist, pro-choice, pro-queer, pro-knitting,
post-punk—and I just don’t understand what went wrong.
Not only did George Bush win, he seized the presidency by a margin
of what now looks like four million votes! That’s more than a
go-ahead for the right wing to proceed with their ‘holier than
thou’ agenda. And with a fully Republican Congress at his disposal,
Bush also has no true protestation in his court. How do we make sense
of this? Where is our refuge now?
Moral values. I am spitting cherry pits clear across the room at a bedraggled
Bush endorsement poster trying to figure out how America became so hysterically
Is fighting an unjust war moral? How about getting healthcare for 44 million
uninsured people or decreasing the unfair tax breaks of special interests?
Bush ran a campaign based on peoples’ fear and he made out like a bandit.
But this time, the election wasn’t stolen, or was it? This time our nation
voted for him—with its eyes wide open—or did we?
When fear and bigotry somehow trumps dead Americans in a country that was no
real threat to us, I can only hang my head in sorrow.
When somebody can explain to me how any straight person is harmed—in any
real way, be it economic, physical, spiritual or intellectually—by gay
marriage, maybe I’ll understand.
I no longer recognize my own country.
In loud, awkward silence, I sit here in stupefied numbness. Desperately trying
to figure out how to get through this, how to move the debate on values beyond
god, guns and gays to tolerance, concern for others, and love; and how to convince
a frustrated crowd of talented individuals, with a tolerance of diverse lifestyles
to stay. I want to stand tipi-toe tall and shout to you all: Don’t get
depressed, get mad! A nourishing environment, worthy schools, an equitable and
uncorrupted economy, tolerance for all, domestic safety, and the end of the war
in Iraq are goals we all still share. Progressive grassroots America has been
bigger than any president, and it is bigger than George W. Bush. Fighting injustice
has never ever been easy. We need to be brave now more than ever.
But alas, it’s a little hard to sound convincing with a valid passport
in my hand and a packed u-haul in my driveway.