Blogs > Cliopatria > The Pledge? No, thanks.

Nov 3, 2004 9:12 am


The Pledge? No, thanks.



Jeff Jarvis wants the healing to begin, and proposes"The Pledge" for bloggers and other pundits:

After the election results are in, I promise to:
  • Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him.
  • Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.
  • Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.
  • Unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.
He qualifies the first item as follows:
I do not mean blind support, love-it-or-leave-it support, with-him-or-against-him support. I mean acknowledging that the president is the president and especially in a time of war, we need to stand together against our enemies -- namely, Islamofascist terrorists -- and not act, as too many have during this administration (and the one before it) that the enemy is in the White House. No, we're on the same side.
But this is why I quickly follow with the pledge that we should criticize the President -- even if he's the President we voted for -- because this is not a love-it-or-leave it nation; this is a democratic nation where the wisdom of the crowd is often wiser than the wisest man (and certainly than either of these candidates). So I don't want to see people blindly attacking or blindly supporting the president.
No, thank you. First of all, with the caveats in place, all that remains is a promise not to incite armed rebellion. Second, I'm not going to foreclose my rhetorical and organizational opposition to what I believe will be an abysmal four years in any way, not until I start seeing some show of faith from the other side.

This is meaningless blather:"blindly attacking" as though there were no rational basis for opposing the president's policies, appointments, priorities;"wisdom of the crowd" as though this were an election without distortion, deception, massive voter nullification and suppression;"we're on the same side" and"stand together against our enemies" as if the now-perpetual"war on terror" had somehow subdued the president's partisan nature or Kerry and the Democratic leadership had somehow substantively differed from the president on the principle of fighting terrorism.

I've been nice: I put aside my concerns about 2000 and treated Bush as the functionally legitimate president long before many other liberal democrats, and got brickbats for it. But this election isn't over (absentee ballots, provisional ballots, patterns of vote fraud) and I am not going to restrain myself when I see my country being divided, degraded, deluded, disgraced. And for those of you who say this is just 'sour grapes' I ask you to look into your hearts and tell me that there won't be a 'night of long knives' once victory is assured, tell me that you would be so magnanimous in defeat as you claim to be in victory, tell me that you will repudiate the dirty tricks and fraud and hold true to Jarvis' call for honestly critical citizenship.

I was wrong four years ago when I said that American voters were too smart to fall for a hard-liner in moderates' clothing; I was wrong this year when I believed that American voters were smart enough to see the dangers of endorsing this administration and party, when I believed that these issues could really bring new voters with new ideas into the electorate (One state switched from 2000. Just one. That's extraordinary) And for those of you who say this is just 'sour grapes' I ask you to look into your hearts and tell me that a different result wouldn't have you questioning the"wisdom of the crowd." I am terribly sad, I am very fearful, I am disappointed. I very much hope that I am wrong.

Now, we have to let the wheels of the election grind on a bit longer, we have to endure hypocritical, self-serving lawyerly maneuverings and partisan administrative tricks until the whole charade is over. Who knows? When all the votes that can be counted are counted, my guy might yet win.... I still think this is a bad election.

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