Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What would Christopher Reeve do?

Donna Zajonc takes the moment of Reeve's death to speculate on how we should deal with the election outcome.

In three weeks, we will elect a president of the United States. And only one thing seems certain: Half of America isn't going to feel like celebrating.

I'm sure Christopher Reeve mourned the result of his injury, its effects on his life and family -- but never did we hear a discouraging word from him. Viewing his injury as some great challenge, a test of character, he taught us to see the good in even the most dismal loss.

If your candidate doesn't win the presidency, how will you maintain your political inspiration, your hope for the future? Will you view it as an opportunity, the way Reeve transformed his injury from tragedy to triumph?

Will half of America vilify our next president because the election dashed their hopes? If so, we all will face an even nastier outcome to our already seething cultural war, a war that's more insidious than the terrorism we are so determined to defeat.

Such a division can never be healed by demonizing our leaders, whoever they may be.

As I said previously, there is a significant number of Bush supporters who will view a defeat for Bush as the worst of calamities and will willingly succumb to any smear campaign that the GOP pushes against Kerry after he wins. But there is a significant number of Kerry supporters who will do likewise if Bush should win. We must not allow ourselves to fall into that trap. We must, if the worst should happen, turn defeat into victory. We must not succumb to recriminations and automatically credit as truth any accusation against Bush. We must instead redouble our efforts and do  better next time.

We must not become the enemy we fear.


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