< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://caltechgirlsworld.mu.nu/" /> Not Exactly Rocket Science: Seeing red? Cliche-ridden rant below.....

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Seeing red? Cliche-ridden rant below.....

The official county by county results map from 11/2/04:

Obviously the vast geographic majority, as well as the popular majority, of this country voted for Bush. Blue counties represent urban centers (for the most part) or holdout hippie bastions of back to nature (see the north coast counties of CA). Yet the democrats have been all over the TV and internet in the last two days implying that the vast huddled masses who voted republican are stupid or worse, that there must be some kind of conspiracy, or else people were tricked into voting for the Devil (some woman called one of our local morning shows here, ranting about how 59 million Americans voted for the devil).

Occam's razor people. Occam's razor. If you voted for Kerry and you don't know what I mean, shame on you. You're the high and mighty educated ones, right? I'm the lowly brainless peon, according to you.

There must be, therefore, a simpler explanation. How about this: President Bush is not an idiot, or a chimpanzee, or the Devil. He's a sincere, funny man who honestly believes all of the things he says, and you know this because his beliefs don't change every 5 minutes. He connects with most of this country on a deep level and give people the confidence that their President sees and hears their problems. Not so Kerry. Yes, both are rich white men. Both are successful and have beautiful families. But President Bush somehow manages to transcend that and remain "one of us" . That appeals to people.

It seems almost ludicrous for me to be saying some of these things, as those of you who know me in my "real life" know that I feel out of touch with the rest of the world a lot of the time. People don't know how to react to what I do. I live and work, as I have often said, in an academic ivory tower. I can't count on my fingers anymore the number of Nobel Laureates I know. I spend my days trying to understand the minutiae of the chemical machine we call the human body. All of my friends here do the same. It feeds on itself, in a way. Yet, as I strive to remain in touch with myself as both a middle class girl and an academic woman, I see the fundamental problem that divides our country.

It's not religion, as was suggested at today's Presidential PC. It's not wealth. It's not even education, really. As I see it, the divide in this country is about how we perceive each other. We are two Americas because we perceive two Americas. We see ourselves as Us and Them, as rich, snotty, arrogant, academic sophisticates and/or poor, struggling, less educated rabble.

We're no different from each other. The dean of my school has to go to PTA meetings and stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. My school librarian mother has to balance church work with committee meetings and still does the work of two people because of budget cuts. I know a Nobel laureate who has to take naps every afternoon as if he were a kindergartener. And yet we see each other as something else entirely.

For myself, I relate to President Bush because I see my own struggle in him. He is a smart, successful man. Smarter than almost all of you give him credit for. I mean, for goodness sake, you have to be smart to know to surround yourself with the kind of people who work for him. And yet he retains what some would call the "common touch". He sees through the divides between us and relates to us all as equals in a way that makes us feel comfortable. That's not to say he's the greatest guy ever. He's made some bad choices and done some really dumb things, maybe even some illegal things, but he wears a lot of that on his sleeve.

That's why the majority of Americans voted for Bush, IMO. Because they respected him and connected with him and when it came down to making a choice, they chose the candidate who was the man they were voting for, not the candidate who was not the man they were voting against.

So in order to come together, as the Beatles said, we need to get off of our respective high-horses and realize that the grass is exactly the same on the other side of the fence, no more or less green, irrespective of who has to mow it, and that every issue before our nation, from gay rights to homeland security affects ALL of us, and that the principles upon which this nation was founded compel us to support a fairly elected government TOGETHER and move forward to solve some of our problems.


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