An Election Day Note From a Moderate Voter
It looks like the Republicans were largely successful in turning out conservative voters this year and persuading them to vote for Republican candidates despite their disillusionment with the Iraq War and recent scandals and corruption. Independents and moderates also turned out, however, and enough of them voted Democratic to propel the minority party to control of both chambers of Congress.
So, what were the moderates thinking? A friend forwarded me a short but interesting note written on election day by a moderate voter in Michigan with the perspective of a 35-year career in newspaper journalism. This voter belongs to the "silent generation" of those born in or after the Great Depression but before WWII. This group, which includes my parents, was strongly influenced by the mindset of the depression era, was generally too young to serve in the war, and preceded the baby boomers. My grandparents were loyal Republicans but my parents have been independents, picking and choosing between the parties, and they backed Bush in 2000 and 2004. It sounds like the author of this note is similar. I have changed the names:
David,These voters are no great fans of the Democratic Party. Their support is conditional, and it may well be temporary if they don't see real leadership and the beginning of a genuine attempt to repair the damage over the next two years.
I was pleased to read your keen insights, but I was especially struck by your experience in Belgium where they turned their backs on you because you are Americans. That had to come as a shock. What has become of America abroad? We liberated Belgium and the entire western European continent three generations ago, and they worshipped us for doing it. We protected them from Communist takeover.
Now we have squandered all our good will, thanks to W. and his cowboy politics. I can't imagine such a thing would have happened, even at the depths of the Carter administration and the hostage crisis in Iran.
More importantly, it speaks volumes about the future. How do we fix this mess? It cannot be done overnight. A reputation and credibility can be lost quickly but it takes much, much longer to repair it. What are we reaping from this madman in Washington? The arrogance, the bullheadedness, the blind allegiance to fatally flawed principles can do nothing but spread misery to generations yet unborn.
We have government without a heart, without a soul, without a conscience. I'm sounding more and more like a Marxist radical, but actually I'm not. I'd even vote Republican if we had Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower, Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton and George Romney. They, however, are an extinct species.
Today's vote can change much. Or it can change nothing. The follow through is what matters.