As part of the ultra-liberal MoveOn.org mailing list I unwittingly signed up for, last week I received an e-mail from Executive Director Eli Pariser that asked me to sign a petition demanding that Congress “investigate the integrity of the voting process in the 2004 election.” It may claim to be protecting voters’ rights, but given the group’s short but telling history, what it’s really doing is looking for another 150,000 votes for John Kerry in Ohio. They’re still in disbelief that President Bush was legitimately re-elected, and they’re not about to give it up. John Kerry had no problem conceding the election within 24 hours of the polls closing, so what’s taking you guys so long?

Joel Hoard

MoveOn’s persistence is indicative of a larger problem with the modern Left: whining. Incessant, pathetic whining. I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow, and I’m as saddened as the rest of you that Bush was reelected, but it’s time to move on — not MoveOn, but move on.

The University community is certainly no exception to this phenomenon. All over campus, students are still defiantly wearing their John Kerry stickers and buttons and displaying Kerry-Edwards signs in their windows. Take that, Mr. President. You may have “won” the election, but we still have our stickers.

There have been numerous conspiracy theories circulating since election night, and I’ve had enough. Diebold rigged electronic voting machines, Republican challengers disenfranchised minorities, precincts in Ohio reported false results and on and on.

But like it or not, Nov. 2 ushered in an era of conservatism the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. The president won the election by a resounding margin, and the GOP substantially increased its majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, and it happened because the majority of American voters wanted it to happen. It’s one thing to protest civil rights violations such as a ban on gay marriage, but we should be above complaining about election results.

The saddest part is that the whining isn’t just a result of Bush’s reelection — it’s also a cause. In the biggest show of organized whining in the world’s history, liberals spent the better part of the last four years complaining about Bush. Big-name lefties like Michael Moore took complaining to a remarkable level and made major motion pictures dedicated to complaining (And rumor has it that he’s hard at work on a sequel). The way I see it, whining about Bush was enough to scare swing voters from voting for Kerry and tip the election the president’s way. After all, who would want to join a club full of professional complainers?

I’m willing to admit that I was a big part of it, as I lent this very space to Bush-bashing on more than one occasion. In effect, I called the president an unpatriotic, fascistic, mentally retarded liar. I won’t apologize for saying any of those things because I still think they’re true. But I should have used my time and yours more constructively. I should have made a better case for Kerry and the Democratic Party. I was as foolish as the next liberal. I believed that the “at least he’s not Bush” motto was enough to win the election. I was wrong, and now I’m paying for it. But one thing I won’t do is complain about it anymore. I’ve gotten over myself.

Of course I still think it’s our duty to question authority and fight for what we think is right, but complaining shouldn’t be a part of it. It’s taken a couple of weeks to get it, but now I understand that Bush supporters had their reasons for voting the way they did. While I may not agree with their reasons, their votes counted for as much as yours and mine.

And so for the sake of your sanity and mine, I implore you liberals, spend the next four years whine free. I’ll understand productive, intelligent criticism or the occasional good-natured barb at the president, but the complaining has to stop. Instead, make something of your life. Maybe you can start an early campaign for a candidate you feel passionate about — one you believe can actually appeal to the masses. Or maybe you can do what I’m doing and give politics a break. Read a book, go for a walk in the woods, go to a bar with your friends, whatever. Take it easy, and remember that we’ll live to fight another day. But next time, let’s try to do things differently.


Hoard can be reached at j.ho@umich.edu.



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