Saturday, November 13, 2004

Do You Question Authority?

As I identified myself earlier, I am a member of the Japanese-speaking, tea-ceremony-doing, haiku-writing, Democrat, ex-pat, redneck demographic.

Consequently, I am probably not terribly typical for a Bush voter. I would guess I am much more of the demographic both sides needed to add to their base in order to win.

In the Washington Post, E. J. Dionne, Jr., writes about my demographic:

John Kerry was not defeated by the religious right. He was beaten by moderates who went -- reluctantly in many cases -- for President Bush. This will be hard for many Democrats to take. It's easier to salve those wounds by demonizing religious conservatives. But in the 2004 election, Democrats left votes on the table that could have created a Kerry majority.

Consider these findings from the network exit polls: About 38 percent of those who thought abortion should be legal in most cases went to Bush. Bush got 22 percent from voters who favored gay marriage and 52 percent among those who favor civil unions. Bush even managed 16 percent among voters who thought the president paid more attention to the interests of large corporations than to those of "ordinary Americans." A third of the voters who favored a government more active in solving problems went to Bush.

True, 22 percent of the voters said that "moral values" were decisive in their choices. But 71 percent picked some other issue. All this means that Bush won not because there is a right-wing majority in the United States but because the president persuaded just enough of the nonconservative majority to go his way. Even with their increased numbers, conservatives still constitute only 34 percent of the electorate. The largest share of the American electorate (45 percent) calls itself moderate. The moderates went 54 to 45 percent for Kerry, good but not enough. And 21 percent of this year's voters -- bless them -- called themselves liberal.

The single biggest issue for me, of course, was the war on terror. If Lieberman had won the Democrat nomination, I may very well have voted Dem this year. But the majority of my fellow Democrats were still crying over an invasion without the explicit blessing of the UN, never mind that Clinton did the same in the Balkans, or that the UN Security Council vote had been bought and paid for by Saddam.

In fact, the last three years have shown me how amoral the UN is. A UN Security Council permanent member can vote, or use their veto, for any reason or no reason. When that "any reason" becomes millions of dollars of bribes to government officials from a brutal dictator, money that could have saved the lives of hundreds or thousands of Iraqi children, it becomes clear that the UN embodies no moral values whatsoever. This is reinforced by UN inaction in Sudan, which has essentially sanctioned genocide. The fact that Sudan was elected a member of the Human Rights Commission while carrying out this genocide is emblematic of what the UN has come to mean. In every way, the US government is more open to media and citizen observation and pressure than the UN, which makes it far more trustworthy.

One question I have for my fellow Democrats: If we are supposed to question authority (and I believe we are), why do most who instinctively believe the worst about their own government utterly blindly believe only good about the biggest authority on the planet?

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