Hope Springs Infernal - By Karyn Strickler
Rap Singer Eminem
The term “mosh,” in the opening quote refers to controlled aggression within a group dance at a live concert, usually featuring punk, rock or heavy metal music. It’s not designed to inflict harm, but rather to give the kind of passionate shove that George W. Bush and his Congressional majority need from those who rejected their policies in the 2004 Presidential election.
Whenever I heard supporters of the President chant, “Four More Years,” I heard, “Scores More Tears.” Progressive Americans are desperately seeking hope in these dark days following the re-election of George W. Bush to a second term as President of the United States.
Hope springs from the fact that 55.6 million Americans voted against Bush’s re-election. That “losing number” is more votes than any winning Presidential candidate to this point in American history. It’s almost 1.2 million more votes than Ronald Reagan won in 1984 and over 8 million more than Bill Clinton got in 1996. And it’s a scathing indictment of Bush’s policies.
Bush may have gotten the most votes in history, but he also had more people voting against him than against any other President in history.
Even in states where Bush won, if in fact you believe that he actually won, it was close enough to send the message that Americans are unmistakably and emphatically disavowing the incumbent’s agenda: forty-nine percent of voters in Iowa, Ohio and New Mexico; forty-eight percent of voters in Nevada; forty-seven percent of people in Florida and forty-six percent of voters in Colorado and Missouri said, “No,” to four more years of Bush’s despotic prospectus.
The insubordinate 55.6 million weren’t necessarily voting for the ductile Democrat, John Kerry, because he was uninspiring and ran a dismal campaign. Kerry never quite grasped the fact that, if you fire-up your base, they become the foot soldiers out there in grassroots America influencing swing voters. Tick them off and you’ll lose the election. Kerry wooed the swing voters, screwed his base and lost the election, predictably. On the contrary, Bush wooed his base; they in turn wooed the swing voters and won the race.
Now anti-Bush voters, 55.6 million strong, must get fired-up and hold George W. Bush and his majority in the U.S. House and Senate accountable. Not that Bush has ever felt the need for a license to inflict his policies upon Americans or the rest of the world, but now he thinks his slim majority gives him a mandate to eradicate the right to choose safe and legal abortion; continue to spill American children’s blood for oil in Iraq; to protect the rights of zygotes, but not those who could benefit from stem cell research; and to keep ignoring the ever-increasing threat of global warming and other environmental perils.
We need to send George W. Bush a different message. He cannot be elected to another term, but he can feel the constant pressure of unprecedented levels of social unrest during the next 4 years. And those elected to the U.S. House and Senate must face re-election. That 55.6 million that voted against the Bush agenda can make Representative’s and Senator’s jobs range from slightly more difficult, if they respond to grassroots pressure, to nearly impossible if they do not.
We may not be the majority, but we’re an historically unprecedented minority! We represent half of the voters of the world’s only super power. That makes us a mighty influential block of people. If we are organized, our voices cannot be denied. Our mouths need to be as big as our minority. Jam the streets, phone, fax and e-mail lines. Flood the U.S. Postal Service with resistance to the policies we oppose.
Hope springs infernal because our mandate is to use the democratic process to bring the fires of hell to bear upon those who think they have the green-light from God to take away our rights.
Copyright Karyn Strickler, a campaign expert, activist, and writer living outside Washington, DC. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Hans Vought - 11/5/2004
Bragging about the numbers of voters, by both candidates, is misleading. Voter turnout was higher, so of course both candidates received greater numbers of votes. The population of the U.S. also increases steadily, so (barring a large drop-off in voter turnout) the two candidates four years from now will probably also claim the "highest number of voters ever." This is why percentages are more reliable guages of public sentiment.