Slowly emerging from our post-election hangovers, many liberals I know are trying to make sense of the outcome of the election. They're trying to rationalize why their guy lost, a candidate who most of them maligned during the course of the election--to stiff, too wonky, too from Massachusetts, too whatever. It's over and the candidate they kicked all along lost, and suddenly they're upset about this. I'm not convinced that supporting John Kerry more within Democratic ranks would have made much of a difference on the outcome of the election. But perhaps....To me, it's a matter of branding. Take for example, the website Kerry Haters For Kerry . It's funny, yes. But did starting a public movement to brand your candidate as a loser, but our only viable option really help in the long run? Did it help sway swing voters? Probably not. If anything, it built community around people who would have supported him anyway, albeit grudgingly. Perhaps we can expect great things from KHFK in the future. Maybe they will redirect their ire from a seemingly boring, yet very accomplished man into concrete actions that will make the Democratic party stronger and more dynamic.
Hating Kerry aside, what disappoints me more is the attitude that many of my fellow Democrats and liberals have developed in regards to people who voted for Bush. Yeah, it's really easy to write them off as "stupid" as I have heard a million times this week. But how productive is that? If anything, it polarizes the red states from the blue states, and digs the ever deepening rift between the so-called "Two Americas". Not everyone who lives in a Blue state drives a Saab and sips cappucinos; and not every resident of a Red state drives a Chevy pick-up and uses it's bible as a thumping pad when keeping the beat to country music. Apparently, there are people in Red states who although they identify themselves as Christians, and they voted for Bush because they thought he'd be the better man to keep them safe from terrorists, also hold some very "Blue" progressive values such as raising the minimum wage, improving public education, and more. These people are not stupid. They're values are different from mine. I happen to think it's ridiculous to believe that Bush can keep us safer from terrorists than John Kerry, he certainly didn't do a hot job of that on 9/11, but I can't stop those people from thinking that, and voting with it accordingly. If progressives, and by extention the Democratic Party is to move forward and begin to heal its wounds, it needs to realize which of them are self-inflicted. This could be a great movement, but it needs to listen to its own words when it comes to vision and forward movement. United forward movement.