A Swing Vote For Kerry, But No False Liberal Illusions

I’ve said it from the beginning: There are Bushies and Kerries and never the twain shall meet. You can become more or less Bush or more or less Kerry, but I’m beginning to think that swing voters don’t really exist (at least in this neck of the woods). You’d sooner find a Lilliputian cavorting about with the Ghost of Christmas Past. I used to consider myself a swing voter; as recently as this past May I genuinely had no idea who I was going to vote for. I’m not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican Party, and I don’t vote for someone because he or she is a Democrat or a Republican. I’m just not that kind of person; I take people the way I see them. There are spectacular idiots everywhere, regardless of political affiliation. Stupidity is breathtakingly democratic. But after watching more Meet the Press than is probably healthy and listening to more and more evidence, I decided that Kerry, while, in my opinion, totally lackluster, would probably be a better choice than President Bush. Not that I’m under any false impression that Kerry will immediately let there be same-sex marriages, equal pay for women, paradise regained, the second coming, whatever. He just doesn’t have the power to make laws – the legislative branch does, and that’s not going to be majority Democrat any time soon. Nor have I let myself be sucked into wishful thinking or – God help us – optimism. I’m from just outside of Boston (in case my Red Sox obsession has not been made sufficiently clear by now), and pessimism is necessary to survive in that place. I’m not convinced that any Boston team has won anything until the game is over and the scores have been marked – in indelible ink. And even then we’ll probably lose. The same thing goes for this election. Kerry will probably lose. It’s awfully hard, especially in the great state of Massachusetts, to realize that the majority of America does not live in or think like Cambridge, Mass. or some other Northeast enclave of education and liberal thought. The majority of America is not liberal, to say the least. It’s lovely to think (at least for some people) that most Americans are totally accepting of all races and sexual orientations and religions and political views, but they’re not. Not even the people sitting in Cambridge who claim that everyone should be. Think about it. If you describe yourself as a liberal, ask yourself: when was the last time you dismissed someone’s opinion because he or she was a conservative? Ever made a snide comment about the “Christian right” or almost anyone from the South or the Midwest? How about being “offended” by someone to the extent that you say “they have no right to say that!” I sure have, all while talking about equality, acceptance, fair-mindedness and the freedom of speech. And probably while watching The West Wing. How phony. It’s beginning to seem like some of the most vocal “liberals” are really just pushing their own agenda – and unabashedly dismissing other ideas in the process. What does it matter if liberals accept minority and marginalized groups if they don’t have the backbone to accept those groups not entirely to their liking? Is it not just a more (to some people) acceptable form of discrimination?