Tuesday, December 17, 2002

A Sweet and Refreshing Laxative Some have argued that Gore shouldn't run because he wouldn't get an even break from the press. I have argued repeatedly that NO Democrat should expect such a break, so this is a bogus argument against his candidacy. However, the real question is not whether the press will be kind to Gore but whether the people would give him another chance. The following article by Robert E. Griffin discusses this issue and comes to the conclusion that Gore made the right choice to not go for a re-match against Bush. It's not because he wouldn't get a break from the press. It's because the people's desire to believe that we live in a Democracy might actually lead them to vote against Gore. For, to do otherwise, they might have to come to terms with the fraudulency in our midst.
No More Gore--For Now Many adults are attached to the childlike illusion that presidents always can and will protect us. Feelings of anger and anxiety occur when we realize that the men who are presidents can be victims. Americans' core belief is in democracy. We don't like the idea that the person who received the majority of votes was not declared the winner. The mainstream media blamed Gore; some called him a "sore loser," and focused on finding fault with the way he ran his campaign. We blamed the victim. This way our beliefs in our electoral system remain intact. Denial and rationalization are not mature ways to cope with reality. Gore would have faced almost insurmountable psychological dynamics had he tried to run against Bush. Americans would have been confronted with the cognitive dissonance that Bush has been leading this country for years, and that the man who had actually received the most votes was running against him. Bush would have benefited by the desire of people to reduce cognitive dissonance by reelecting Bush, and rejecting Gore as a candidate and a person.
Many political junkies, especially on the left, have already come to terms with the fact that we no longer live in a Democracy. We all know how painful a realization that was. I still feel traumatized by it. But many of the citizenry (and probably more then a few in the establishment press and the leadership of both parties) have not. To vote for Gore, to "re-elect" him, would require admitting that Bush is illegitimate and therefore, our system has failed. That's a mighty big pill for people to swallow. Perhaps Gore wisely chose not to force it down their throats. Though, I have to say, that part of the problem with our political system today is that there aren't enough people willing to confront the ugly truths that are right before our eyes. Look at the situation with Trent Lott: the true nature of his character has been a well-known secret in political circles for years. But no one, until now, has been willing to challenge him on it. Similarly, there aren't many who relish the idea of challenging the GOP's guilt that stems from them providing a haven for the last vestigates of the "discarded policies of the past" (Nixon's Southern Strategy). It's a truth that is just to ugly to confront and many, when faced with it, will leap at any opportunity they can find to walk past the problem (much as people uncomfortably walk past the homeless littering the street). Hell, even George W. Bush has probably convinced himself that this ugly truth isn't really there and that he and his buddies really are the good guys (that's a thought that keeps me awake at night). Perhaps the key here for any prospective Democratic candidate (or any reform candidate for that matter) is not to directly confront the issue but, instead, offer a better world that would, of necessity, require the elimination of the uglier elements from our national character. Thus, people can subconsciously acknowledge that there is a problem without having to openly confront it while, at the same time, they can feel they are actually making things better in the long run. America needs a sweet and refreshing laxative in the worst way. (Thanks to Maia Cowan for bringing this article to my attention)


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