Dear America,

Sowmya Krishnamurthy

“Was it all a dream?” muses
filmmaker Michael Moore in the documentary “Fahrenheit
9/11” to the outcome of Election 2000. In the wake of
President Bush’s presidential victory, I wonder the same
thing. Is this all a dream, a case of déjà vu or
maybe an elaborate “punking” by Ashton Kutcher? After
having the wool pulled over them, how could Americans make such a
mistake? Sadly the nightmare is reality; Bush has really been
elected into office by the majority of Americans, amassing 51
percent of the popular vote and 274 electoral votes.

America, you truly amaze me. Instead of learning from the
political gaffes of the past four years, you were swayed by glitter
and lies. You didn’t select the man with intellect,
experience and heart, who defended his country both as a soldier
and protester, but threw rationality to the wind for the prettier,
albeit foolhardy, package.

And for what? The Texas cowboy who has cruised through life with
Daddy’s silver spoon in his mouth? Bush is impressive neither
as a politician or human being. A self-glorified C-student, he
attended Yale University via legacy, joined the Texas Air National
Guard to avoid fighting in Vietnam and made a fortune in oil with
potential Saudi ties. As governor of Texas, he was a national
leader in pollution and executions. Upon entering the White House
in 2000 under less than auspicious circumstances, the
president-select brought his pattern of incompetence along too.
Some highlights of his term: the highest-ever budget deficit,
horrendous environmental disregard, distortion of Sept. 11 into a
conduit for attacking Iraq though the nation housed no hijackers,
weapons of mass destruction or ties to al-Qaida and squandering
billions of dollars and countless American lives into the mess of
Operation Iraqi Freedom. And let’s not forget the multitude
of blunders affectionately termed Bushisms either. From asking
Brazil’s president “Do you (Brazil) have blacks
too?” to his constant refurbishing of the English language
with the invention of new words, Bush has no dearth of idiocy.

America, what possessed so many of you to empathize with this
stammering ignoramus?

According to exit polls by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky
International, 22 percent of voters cited moral values as the
“most important issue” this election year, with the
economy and jobs second at 20 percent, terrorism at 19 percent and
Iraq in fourth at 15 percent.

Morality has no place in politics — especially in a time
of war and economic disarray — because of its intrinsic basis
in religion; our founding fathers made this explicit with the
separation of church and state. Some of our most celebrated
politicians have had skeletons in their closets, from slave
ownership to infidelity, without reducing the potency of their
command. In fact, the mark of a strong leader is one who puts aside
her own biases and agendas for the greater good. Bush and his GOP
cronies have failed in this completely and seem bent upon warping
America into a Judeo-Christian haven with no reverence for the
rights of their challengers.

Assuming morality was crucial to politics, Bush still should
have lost the election. Bush was a longtime alcoholic arrested for
driving under the influence and a suspected cocaine user prior to
his Christian rebirth in 1985. He claims to be pro-human life but
shows no qualms about bombing Iraq and destroying countless
civilian lives there. Stumping on the grounds of family values, the
wild antics of his daughters have been well publicized. Did you
consider this America, or do I detect a case of selective
amnesia?

Frankly, the only positive result of Election 2004 was the
unprecedented awakening of the American voter. Nearly 120 million
people cast ballots — the highest percentage turnout since
1968. Thanks to the efforts of youth voter initiatives like
MTV’s Choose or Lose, Citizen Change and Voice Your Vote, 21
million Americans under the age of 30 voted, with increased turnout
in battleground states. A tangible effervescence was displayed
among the youth as never before. Kudos.

To first-time voters or Democrats feeling disillusioned from
Tuesday’s conclusion, I implore you to remain steadfast. In
the words of Citizen Change founder P. Diddy, “Voting is the
beginning. It’s afterwards when you get gangster on the
politicians’ asses.” What this lacks in eloquence it
recovers in truth. Nov. 2 was the galvanizing moment, but the
revolution is far from over. We need to be vigilant and hold Bush
accountable if he falters from his promises. This is still our
country, and it’s up to us to make certain that four more
years of hell are not repeated.

 

Krishnamurthy can be reached at
“mailto:sowmyak@umich.edu”>sowmyak@umich.edu

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