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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Feeling ill

My heart is sick today in the aftermath of yesterday's election. It's no secret that I supported John Kerry for president. With a huge gulp, I suppose I have no choice but to accept the electorate's decision to give W four more years, though I have grave misgivings about the direction of our country.

But that's not what's making me most ill. It's that this election also saw complete control of the House and Senate in Republican hands, including the addition of some truly frightening right-wingers to the Senate. All I can say to Bush is that I sure hope he gets something done with this Republican sweep.

Districts have been redrawn in states like Texas, resulting in record numbers of Democrats losing their seats. The Democratic Party is quickly becoming irrelevant. The only bright spot is Barack Obama, who will be fighting an uphill battle every day as the only black member of the Senate. My heart is heavy and I wish I didn't care as much.

I was struck by exit polling suggesting the impact moral values played in the outcome. What does that mean in the context of a political election? Or cultural values? Does that mean we don't like anyone different from us and that makes us better people? And who ever said that George W. Bush has high moral values? Give me a break. If he's mister Bible-thumper then maybe he knows that line about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The messianic fervor with which he leads is downright frightening.

And with Chief Justice Rhenquist suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, I don't even want to think about what will happen to the court. We may soon find ourselves living back in the Dark Ages.

Then there's Ohio, which despite the objections of its Republican governor and senators, approved the most far-reaching marriage rights bill in the country. Peter Jennings of ABC News felt compelled to read the ballot language on air. For the record, I don't need the state government to protect my marriage. It's a despicable law that I predict will be archaic in a few years. In the meantime, Ohio is fast becoming a laughing stock of a state.

The bottom line is that our country functions best when there is a balance of power. The scariest part of the next four years is that we don't have a balance. My hope is that in the next two to four years the Democratic Party figures out how it and its message can be more moderate and relevant to all parts of the country, not just the Northeast and the West Coast.

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