Thursday, November 04, 2004
I LOVE THIS LETTER
Many of my liberal friends are seriously discussing leaving the country, for Canada or Europe or New Zealand. It is, of course, tempting. How could we not feel a violent disillusionment and disconnect when we discovered this morning that the majority of voters in the country have a worldview we cannot comprehend? That hate and fear and ignorance can run a successful presidental campaign; that people will respond to these things with eager glee?
And if I wasn't tempted before leaving the house, one look at my car with its Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker -- the only car with such a sticker in the lot -- and how overnight it suddenly acquired a political statement consisting of eggs and shaving cream -- the only car in the lot so decorated -- certainly pushed me in that direction. I imagine the decorators (or their parents) voted on "moral values," as so many Bush supporters did.
But I'm not going to leave, and I made a list of reasons why.
Because this is my country.
Because I'm not letting them have New England autumns, New Mexico sunsets, the Grand Canyon, or Revere Beach.
Because Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and a few other stalwarts are isolated enough in a Capitol gone mad without their supporters pulling up and getting out.
Because over a million people voted for Alan Keyes, and that means even in Illinois we can't relax.
Because Massachusetts elected a far-right religious zealot in a gubernatorial race no one bothered to vote in.
Because I do, honestly, want my kids to be American citizens.
Because 200 years ago Americans believed in a separation of church and state, and if there's one thing we seem to be good at, it's regression.
Because we have to speak up even if they're not coming for us personally yet. We're educated and energized and relatively financially secure, and there are a lot of people out there who are none of those things and are at least initially going to suffer far more than we are. We have to speak for them if they can't speak for themselves.
Because this is still my country, and being female and pro-choice and pro-gay rights and an environmentalist and a pacifist and a believer in intelligent leaders and an atheist does not make me un-American or unpatriotic -- and that needs to be screamed from the fucking rooftops.
Because they vandalized my fucking car, and that is their level of discourse.
Because I am not afraid anymore. I am angry.
-- Mary Meiklejohn