I have always loved this country, and I always will; there are things that I'm very passionate about and this is one of them. However, a lot of the times, I feel like America is a parent I love, and want to help, and can't do anything for. It frustrates me, it makes me feel helpless, because I can see things happening that are so upsetting, that follow a certain pattern and that could be stopped. Should, in fact, be stopped, and I can't do anything about it.
This having been said: last night I became terrified and disheartened the more I watched the election. Let me clarify that by saying that I was not surprised to see Bush carrying the day.
I never really thought Kerry would win, because John Kerry -- as much as he tried -- was never someone people could connect with on a personal level. This counts to American voters, and John Kerry was always just a card board cut out. He didn't have the charisma of Bush, who, as much as I find him terrifying and upsetting, does have a personality that's perceivable. In a time where so much seems uncertain, I think a great deal of the populace voted for George Bush because who he is has never been a variable.
This is no comfort to me, or to anyone else, I imagine.
I voted for John Kerry because I believe in the seperation of church and state (which is rapidly disappearing). I voted for John Kerry because I don't believe that George W. Bush has any real intention of pulling us out of the oil rich Near East. I voted for John Kerry because I believe that George W. Bush's international 'diplomacy' has caused a jihad and polarized Islamic sentiment against us. I voted for John Kerry because the economy under George W. Bush has shown no signs of improvement, and continued in a downward spiral since he took office. I voted for John Kerry because the idea of an ultra conservative Supreme Court is one that terrifies me. I voted for John Kerry because of welfare, and women's rights, and gay rights, and health care, and social security, none of which seem to me to be safe in the hands of George W. Bush.
I did not vote for John Kerry because he was the best and brightest of the Democratic party. I did not vote for John Kerry because he seemed to me the great, shining hope.
I voted for him because he wasn't George W. Bush.
The majority of America, it would seem, is not comfortable putting their futures in the hands of someone becuase of who he is not.
We're going through a reactionary period, it seems to me, still on the tails of September 11. My generation is a strongly conservative one in many ways, which is difficult for me to remember when I'm in school, surrounded by a couple of thousand liberal white kids just like me. But the truth is; young America is filled with the fundamental fervor, and America in general is more Puritanical now that it has been in quite some time.
This doesn't mean that I'm not horrified. At the end of this four years, I don't think that America will be what she should be. I don't think she'll even resemble the country that I love so passionately, and this makes me more angry than I can even begin to articulate.
I deserve my civil rights, especially in the face of terror, and my body is certainly no business of the Congress or Supreme Court. It is nobody's business but mine. And furthermore, the audacity displayed by state government in attempting to tell me what is love and what is not, what is marriage and what is not, is simply not to be borne.
We are a country of people who were raised to believe that this is a secular government, and yet, we also seem to be a country of people determined to change that. Laws against gay marriage have no cover under any argument other than the religiously inspired, and it seems to me that this is something that is not being challenged as vociferiously as it deserves.
This was my first election. I voted, though I had little doubt my state would be red by the end of the night -- despite all the over optimistic polling information. I was ready for a re-count, and I was ready for Bush to win. I wasn't ready for Kerry to give up, though, and I certainly wasn't ready for so many American people not to take an interest in their future.
But the ending truth of all this rambling is this: I am an American. I am a bisexual, female, Catholic, southern American, and I love my country. I fear it, and it frustrates me to disbelief, it shocks me, and it angers me, but I love it. Last night didn't change that, it only made it clear to me that what we have to do as a people who don't agree with the majority vote, is fight.
We have to speak, we have to show up, we have to demonstrate. We have to write letters and make phone calls. We have to make ourselves heard. We have to say that we will not accept what we do not believe in, and we have to say it over, and over, and over, until someone starts to listen.