I was 23 and I did enough reading to know that Gore was in favor of more that I believed in than Bush. That was only because I took it upon myself to dig beneathe the media mud-slinging and "Rock The Vote!" movements. And even then, I wasn't doing a lot to learn. The big influencer for me was my environment.
At 27 I am far more wiser than I was at 23. Those of you who have been with me since the inception of this blog, for the most part, know me in real life. Between 2000 and and 2004 my life changed in a multitude of ways. 4 years ago I thought I was invincible. Today I look back on a path that taught me that I am anything but.
I watched the Kerry and Bush campaigns out of the corner of my eye for the past 6 months... I paid careful attention to vulgarlad's updates, as well as my friend's Pundit Review because they each presented the extreme of each side. But what I really was in search of was that "gray area." There's one side, then the other. But where's the middle ground where the truth lies?
The biggest eye opener for me, truthfully, was Monday. When I first heard it I laughed. Then I was baffled. Then I did research and you all saw my "rebuttle." I went to bed that night mulling it over in my mind... over and over.
I sent a note to the AP reporter who wrote the original story and she replied, "You’re not alone, though – I got an email from an anonymous ‘AP reader’ accusing me trying to sway voters towards Kerry by writing a story about a tough economy right before the election. As if this feature had political motivations! Oh well, so it goes…"
That got me thinking some more. Glenn Beck, for all his baseless accusations and character assassination of me, managed to reach 6 million+ listeners. The majority of those listeners come from the very portion of America that voted against Kerry. I sincerely doubt a single one of those listeners took the time to contemplate who I was or where I was coming from. But, the critical issue is, he helped mobilize those people. Not just Monday, but for the past 10+ years he's been on the air, preaching to the people in that area.
To that end I ask, what's the true point of things like the Democratic National Convention?? Almost a week's worth of preaching to the choir... in the choir's backyard.
Kerry, as did Gore, as did Democratic candidates past toured the US, pitching the Republican-dominated states hard. But that's all it was... a drive-by "vote for me!" campaign. They didn't plant a seed... they set potted plants on people's front porches and hoped that people would come out and water them. No one took the plants out and dedicated the time to set them in the ground, feed them, watch them grow, monitor their health. (Weak metaphor, I know, but hear me out) I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure a few did, evidenced by the close margines in some of those states, but it wasn't enough.
I keep reading a lot of entries in LJ saying, "Those people are stupid and close-minded in those states!" I hear it on the street.
No, I don't believe that's the case. Instead, I think it's the same reason why the East Coast and West Coast voted for Kerry. We had ample opportunity to learn from our environment... major universities are here, we're in close proximity to major cities, places like New York City, an "International Hub-of-sorts" are close at hand.
The resounding sentiment I hear coming from Middle America is "we're of traditional values and morals... we believe in the sanctity of marriage, gays are an abomination..."
I doubt HIGHLY that most of the people saying those things have had the opportunity to meet someone like me... to really get to know who I am, why I think the way I do, why I'm more than just the label of "bisexual, left-leaning corporate east coast female."
Many people keep saying, "the young voters of the East and West Coast are the ones who really took to Kerry." That's because we had the opportunity as teens, college students, college grads, the younger workforce to learn diversity, to see both sides of an issue, meet unique, diverse people, learn to understand differences, on and on and on.
I made jokes about this demonstration on Beacon Hill last winter, but in all honesty, I should haved been more alarmed. Look at that little kid in the picture. Guaranteed he's too young to know what he's really protesting. Same with kids in Middle America... they're mirroring their parents. Just like a lot of kids here used to do. (I'm sure they still do, to a degree, but not like 20-30 years ago)
But the problem is, they grow up, firmly rooted in the belief that "God hates fags" and "God hates *insert N word here*" and other horrific "views." Then they turn out in droves to vote for the candidate that supports "true moral values." After that, people on each coast scream, "those stupid people! No wonder the rest of the world hates us! They don't really represent what America thinks!"
I hate to break it to you, but yes, they do. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
What I want to understand is, why do we keep repeating the same pattern over and over? Yes, record numbers turned out to vote for Kerry and it was close. But record numbers also turned out to vote for Bush.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't know enough about the way elections run in terms of campaigning. Maybe one of you can tell me: Why don't we have the Democratic Convention in a state like Ohio or Nebraska? Why don't we pay Democratic party members to live in those states to consistently educate the "close-minded?" They sink money into TV ads to bash the opponent, when truthfully they're just as effective as anti-smoking ads. Non-smokers like me say, "Yeah, look at that chick dying of lung cancer! So gross! Why do they do that to themselves?"
Smokers just glance at the ads and light up another cigarette. Much like the Extreme Right changes the channel and draws up another "God Made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" sign and puts it in their front lawn.
I just feel like the course of action is all wrong. The focus is on the last year before the election, when really, it should be now. I'm sick of hearing all the "I'm moving to Canada!" or "I'm moving to Europe." What good is that?
Rather than complain, go move to Ohio or Nebraska or Arkansas. Make a difference. Anything.
I met a lot of people this year who worked on the Democratic campaign, something I had never done before. As someone who works in PR, maybe that's my cue to actually step up and figure out what I can do beyond just filling in a bubble sheet every 4 years and then wait.