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Friday, November 05, 2004

Thank God it's Friday. Really.

I'm not feeling well. Definitely have a pre-cold. Lucas is in full cold mode; this is his first encounter with illness, and no sir, he doesn't like it. Woke up stuffy, snotty and crying this morning at 4 ish. Snapped me right out of my Nyquil-induced stupor.

Much soul-searching this week. Yesterday I was trying to talk myself into quitting rugby (gasp!). After the last practice (last Tuesday) and the dings I incurred (neck, back, knee), I spent the better part of this week asking if risking further, potentially serious injury was worth it. Give credit to Beth for talking me out of being a, well, pussy. So it's back on; in fact, had a brief chat with a guy on my team who's interviewing for a job with us. He noted my absence at practice, reminded me that we have a game coming up, and that cemented it. I may be the oldest rook on the team, but that's ok. I'm not ready to quit. (If this were a movie, there'd be a segue here to a Dramatic Training Session Montage - me running up a snowy mountain pulling a tractor, punching slabs of frozen meat, wax on, wax off, etc.)

Some of that soul searching was of a political nature. I'm still pissed at losing, but after giving myself that couple of days to get over it, I'm even more pissed at the people that cost us the election. Those are the people, and I count myself among them, who forgot that there are a shitload of folks who DON'T live in California and New York, and they don't necessarily see things the way I do. And they resent the fact that I, and I'd venture to guess a fairly large version of my fellow Democrats, think they are foolish and ignorant for seeing the world, in part or in full, the way that George Bush does.

Want to know the secret? The reason we lost the election? That last sentence in the preceding paragraph is all the answer we need.

There's a series of articles on Slate today that I encourage everyone to take a look at; actually, I'd say they're required reading. The articles are entitled "Why Americans Hate Democrats", and they're written by several different authors. I don't agree with some of the takes (Jane Smiley goes a bit off the deep end), but as a whole - wow.

I posted this response in the Fray, and actually had some good exchanges with both "red" and "blue" voters.

"It's high time for Dems to take a look in the mirror when we start ranting about the close-mindedness of the other side. I've made my share of comments about GOP "rednecks and shitkickers", and guess what - my team lost the election. It's no coincidence that the Democratic bases are on the east and west coast, but lest we forget, there's a whole lot of country between the two. And in that space are a whole lot of people who for the most part want what we want - security, decent jobs, health care - and who ultimately have a lot more in common with us than maybe we care to admit. Like it or not, there's merit in the classic stereotype of elitist liberals (sorry, John Kerry - I'm a REAL surfer, and we hate poseurs more than Republicans). Until Democrats realize that, and realize that by vilifying people who share a different value set than ours, we're no better than the so-called "ideologues" and "religious nuts" that our party disdains. And we'll continue to lose elections."

Now, that's asking a lot - everytime I see my brother-in-law, a Rush Limbaugh-loving Nebraskan, I sneak a glance at his feet to see if his knuckles scrape the ground when he walks. But the Republicans were able to successful define the Dems as a fringe party, out of touch with the mainstream. The challenge is to prove them wrong, and win their hearts and minds in the process. (Don't ask me how. I'm an amateur hack. But "Anyone But Bush" didn't work this time - and in 2008, we have the chilling possibility of facing either McCain, Giuliani, or, God help us, AHnuld. You want to put Hillary up against that? Didn't think so.) I have faith that the GOP's policies will ultimately be their undoing, and that unfortunately a lot of people that voted for them will suffer in the process. The Democrats have got to give those people an alternative that provides better answers than "We're Not Republicans!". They have to stand for something, and that something has to resonate with people that believe in what Bush is selling.

But if that doesn't work, we could all move here: http://zapatopi.net/cascadia.html

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