Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Who, Exactly, are "Them"?

I know we're all having a bad day today.... so I resisted putting a comment on Jane's blog because I knew it wouldn't come off as lighthearted. But I guess it just bothers me that a lot of the commentary I'm reading today characterizes the red state voters as uneducated country yokels. First off, we're not. Nearly a million people in Indiana voted for Kerry. Nearly three million in Texas did. More Hoosiers voted for Kerry than did Connecticutians. But thanks to the electoral college system, not a damn one of those votes mattered.

But what's really important is that the people who did vote for Bush--be they in rural areas of Indiana, or the 4 million Californians who no doubt feel just as disenfranchised as I do--had their reasons for voting the way they did. The Democrats can blame it all they want on people not "getting the message," but what it really comes down to is that they're not relating to the average American voter. "Mrs. Noz" pointed out in an email that there's a perception of the current Democratic party candidates as coastal elitists, who look down upon the inland rural voters, and they quite rightfully resent that. (Hell, I resent it and I voted for them anyway!) Until the Democrats address this notion, instead of just shrugging off the rural voter with a "we know what's best for you" attitude, they'll never gain a foothold in an agricultural state. She also made an excellent point about morality; namely that the Republican party has become the party of morality by their contstant beating of the abortion and gay marriage tom-toms. Democratic positions on health care, environmental policy, economic equality and the war in Iraq all have a strong moral component. Yet somehow they fail to articulate these things as moral issues, and end up losing the vote of the average American who considers moral values an essential part of national policy. (Hopefully Mrs. N doesn't mind me stealing largely from her email today, but she articulated something I'd been trying to put my finger on for a large part of this campaign.... it was one of the only bright spots in this dismal day.)

I love the midwest, I love everything about living here; I don't want to leave. I want the tone of politics in general to change, for both parties to strive for inclusion rather than exclusion; I want all the voters of Indiana and all the other non-swing states to feel that both parties have something to offer them. I want the agricultural backbone of America to be neither a tool for the right, or an embarassment for the left. I want a lot of things that aren't going to come true any time soon. Maybe someday, though.