Sunday, November 07, 2004

Healing the Rift

Once the election was wrapped up, people got it in their heads that ours was a country that needed healing, that people on both sides of the political divide needed to reach out to those whom we'd stood in opposition to, and embrace them on the grounds that we are all, in the end, Americans. As I wrote elsewhere at the time, screw that:

Let's not heal the rift. I like the rift.

I look across the rift and I see people who, in the name of morality, have chosen to oppress a huge chunk of their countrymen simply because they have different beliefs. I look across the rift and I see people who based their support of this president on information that is objectively false. I look across the rift and I see people who called me a terrorist because I exercised my First Amendment right and voiced dissent against the government's actions. I look across the rift and I see a party that engaged in the scummiest, most anti-democratic efforts to suppress voters when they feared they would lose the election.

I'm plenty happy on my side of the rift. Imperfect as things here are, I can at least go to sleep knowing that we've fought for people's rights instead of against them, that we've fought for truth and integrity from our government instead of secrecy and deception, that we've fought for ideals that we can honestly say will bring freedom to all Americans, instead of picking and choosing only the ideals that we're comfortable with.

With few exceptions, I think the Democrats ran a righteous campaign, and while normally I consider the party too centrist for my tastes, I'm proud to have them on this side of the rift. There are fiscal conservatives on this side of the rift, and I'm glad they're here, because we need them to show us that freedom is more than a social cause. And there are people of devout faith and spirituality on this side of the rift and I'm thankful for them because they help guide our collective conscience and remind us that there can be humanity and sanity in religion. This is the side of the rift I like being on, and this is where I'm staying.

I oppose this administration and its policies, so why should I suddenly buddy up to the people who supported it? Are they going to turn around and say, "Aw shucks, pal, we'll not oppress homosexuals after all, and we'll put an end to this crazed doctrine of preemptive war based on unsubstantiated claims and fear mongering, and we'll even embrace logic and decision making based on actual facts as our basic mode of mental operation." That's not going to happen.

There's more to be gained in providing loyal opposition than in pretending to be their friends.

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