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What if Kerry Loses?




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The US election draws ever nearer, and the rest of the world bangs its head against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!" Charlie Brooker, UK

The next few nights will be sleepless ones, for sure.  In a little more than a week, either John Kerry or George W. Bush will be elected President of the United States for the next for years.  And Iím worried.

The 2000 election seems like yesterday.  I can still feel the despair as the Supreme Court selected the new leader of our nation, and the world applauded Al Gore for his gracious acquiescence. Oh well, - next time around, we thought.   Weíll survive the four years, and fight back harder next time. I Guess what? Itís next time now, and Iím really, really worried.

Who could have predicted the disaster weíve just lived through?  Who could have foreseen the totality of the catastrophic years of the Bush/PNAC/Religious Right administration?  Phrases come to mind: war and pestilence, death and disorder, repression and fascism.  Memories push their way into my head: Rice warning of a mushroom cloud, Powell lying through his teeth, Cheney promising a cake walk.  And of course, in my head I see a dozen images of George Bush: orchestrated, staged, rehearsed, and programmed, yet stumbling and faltering through a haze of practiced sound bites. Yeah, Iím really, really worried.

Four years of absolute failure, and half the nation cheers wildly. Four years of failed wars, failed economics, failed everything, - and half the nation bows in adoration. You have to believe they just donít know, and thatís about right. How could they know? The media played wild and loose with the truth.  The press corps went underground.  And Roveís Rangers were everywhere, swearing to Dick Cheneyís unending lies.  So half the nation is enamored of the man whose God makes policy decisions for him.  And that worries me even more.

There has to be a Plan B, just in case John Kerry loses. Plan A is madly celebrating the return of sanity to this country when John Kerry wins. But Iíve lost faith in Americans who live in red states, and I canít conjure up much optimism about the folks who live in white ones.  It shouldnít be this close. It should be a rout, with Americans marching in the streets demanding the return of democracy and civil rights and leadership in the world.  But it is this close, and Iím terribly worried about Plan B, because there doesnít seem to be one.

The unthinkable outcome is that John Kerry loses this election and George Bush is given four more years in the White House.  And that means the nation will be no more.  People around the world who only hate our government will hate us all. The Neocons who suckered us into war will find new battlefields to conquer. The right wing zealots who are the sole heirs to Truth will determine our domestic laws and the next nominees to the Supreme Court. Corporate America will continue to rape the land and destroy the air and the waters.  Weíll have no affordable health care or medications, and the gap between the haves and have nots will grow wider and wider and wider. And I really donít want to see that happen, and I really donít want to be here if it does.

But thereís no place to run. This is MY country, and yet I harbor thoughts of running from its decline.  This is MY country, and yet I fear I will not be able to recognize it if John Kerry loses.  This is MY country, and yet I am ashamed of what has been done in its name, and I fear what is to come.  There are only days left, and Iím truly very, very worried about what will happen to us all if John Kerry loses.

So, Iíll wait to formulate Plan B until the election returns are in. This is not your ordinary election, we all know that. But itís a defining one for many of us, and I know Iím not alone in my dilemma: what to do, where to go, and how to survive the possible demise of the country I love? Until now, Iíve postponed even thinking about the day after. Iíve avoided facing the possibility that the people of this country would return George Bush to office to continue his rampage of destruction and dishonor. I can only do that for another week. So I worry.

But I also hope. I hope that the turnout is so massive and so positive that Kerry wins decisively. I hope that the pollsters will be dumbfounded by the results that promised a very close election.  I hope that young people go to the polls and vote for a saner world. I hope that older folks go to the polls and vote for health care and prescription drugs.  I hope that women go to the polls understanding that the concerns of women here and around the world have been dismissed by George Bush. I hope that millions and millions of people care about their jobs, the environment, the deficit and Social Security.

And I hope that even more Americans go to the polls with the awareness that the greatest tragedy in recent history befell this nation under the watch of George W. Bush, who lied and distorted and manipulated his way into an illegal and unjust war.  And I hope they truly understand that they are NOT safer now than before 9/11 Ė and that more people have reason to hate this country than at any time in history.

 I hope that happens, so maybe I need not have worried after all.

Associate Editor - - October 2004


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