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rdewald's Journal: My inner Bush voter. 82

Journal by rdewald

Disclaimer: I finally know what I want to say to my friends here that voted for Bush: You made a mistake. That's okay. I've made enough mistakes, including choosing for whom to vote, for both of us. You may discover your mistake at some point over the next four years. If and when you do, it will be important for you, personally and politically, to understand it. I hope this essay will help. Until that discovery, though, what I have to say is likely to make (at least some of) you angry. I'm sorry for that, it's not personal, what I am discussing here is for my own journey of personal discovery, it is in no way meant to pass judgment on your character, your devotion to this country, or your commitment to making the right choices at the polls. I could be wrong. The older I get, the less certain I am of anything. Bear with me, this is about me, not you.

I had some significant walking to do today (9.65 miles according to my pedometer), which I welcome, because it gives me an opportunity to think. I have recovered from my initial reaction to the election, my emotions have settled into place, and it was time to think. My initial reaction, and the reaction of many of my political ilk, was to separate--to get the hell away from the red state people, to let them lie in the bed they've made, and to try to get somewhere as far away from the mess as I could, both geographically and politically. Somewhere deep inside me, on a completely intuitive level, I knew that was wrong. Separation is not the answer, I didn't understand why, but I knew that getting away was not going to help anyone, most importantly myself.

I am from Texas. I grew up in rural areas, I actually worked cattle as a kid, I had a horse as a teenager, I was country before country was cool. I went to a Church of Christ as a kid (my own idea and desire, my parents were atheists), I went to a Catholic High School. I still, to this day, like any horse better than most people, the only vehicle I have owned as an adult was a Ford F-150 with a tool box AND a gun rack. So, by any external measure, I am a red state voter. At the very least, I have consorted with them my entire life, and I know, love and admire many, many people who probably voted for George Bush on Tuesday.

So, I began to try to understand what happened on Tuesday by looking within to find the Bush voter inside me. As I hope you're guessing by now, it didn't take long for me to find him.

During the campaign, I talked to a lot of people who were voting for Bush, I heard many more of them on the radio, and every opportunity I had I wanted to hear the answer to the question "why are you voting for him?" Every time, and I mean every time, their answer began with the same two words: "I believe...." What would follow after that is as individual as the voter, but the answer always started with "I believe." When you asked a Kerry voter why they supported their candidate, there was no similarly singular prefix. At least half the time, the answer was at least in part some version of "he's not George Bush."

There's a political lesson there, but I am going to go into that at another time.

11/02/2004 was, at the most fundamental level, a triumph of belief over facts. I don't mean that as a smear. Some of the most beautiful and admirable things about human beings involve their ability to hold fast to beliefs. We would have never entered or won WWII without this proclivity, Gandhi and Martin Luther King would have gotten nowhere, there would be no comfort for the grieving, no source of inspiration for those facing long odds without this fundamental bit of humanity. It is not, ipso facto, a bad thing. Like any human strength, however, it can also be a weakness.

For example, for me personally, it was this weakness that enabled my morbid obesity for 20-odd years of my adult life. Just three years ago, I was convinced that I ate approximately the same number of calories as any normal-weight man, that I was just as active, and that my obesity was actually caused by some mysterious, yet undiscovered freak of a combination of bad luck with regard to metabolism, genetics and nature. There was no amount of argument, display of facts, or persuasion by the example of others that could have changed my mind.

Furthermore, I didn't want to challenge this belief. It took six months of intensive psychotherapy to get me to the point where I would keep a food journal, and even then I kept it for a few months as a fraud, to fool my therapist. I wrote down what I thought she would approve of me eating, and continued to eat in secret. For the next two years, I would resolve to keep it about every two weeks, then I would get sidetracked and "forget." I just closed the cover on the very first one I kept daily for any length of time. I have a record of every morsel of food that passed my lips from August 1 to October 29th of this year in one little Moleskin journal. I have another one going now, this is going to be a habit of mine long into the future now.

The point is, the food journal was a direct challenge to my belief that I was "special" with regard to obesity. It doesn't take long to go back and add up the calories in the days I kept in 2001, when I weighed 460 pounds, and see that I was eating about 3600-4000 kcals/day, which is enough to maintain 460 lbs if you're living the sedentary lifestyle of a computer geek who is adverse to exercise. My belief that my obesity was a special case was very important to me. It protected me from the hideously painful reality that the ongoing tragedy of my obesity was in fact something I was doing to myself, that it was something I could fix anytime I chose to do so, that it was in fact an alarmingly complex interaction of a bunch of little problems, not some single mysterious and cryptic mystery, and most of all, that this painful, painful life as a 450+ lb man was in fact a choice I was making daily, not an injustice unfairly visited upon me through no fault or choice of my own. If you asked me why I was overweight, my answer always started with the same two words: "I believe...."

I was greatly assisted in the maintenance of these beliefs by a billion dollar industry--the diet industry. The diet industry does not make it's money by supporting the belief that obesity is an enormously complex interaction of numerous personal lifestyle choices, any single one of which, taken alone, will not produce the condition. It is absolutely essential for the industry to assert that obesity is not the fault of the obese, it is rather caused by something simple and heretofore little understood, and the long nightmare can be ended with the intervention of something you can buy from them. The solutions they offer for sale are simple and straightforward: stop eating carbs/fat/sugars, use artificial sweetener, attend these meetings, eat this prepared food, read this book, take this pill, drink this potion, use this magic exercise equipment, get this surgery. The diet industry, in order to stay in business, needs for people to believe that there is a simple answer (something they can sell you), and that once you acquire this special item, your long nightmare will be over if you just believe.

The facts are out there. Obesity researchers have known for years how you lose weight. Go to this web site. It's all right there. I've reviewed this site--everything you need to know, exactly the advice I am following now to successfully lose weight is on this site. You don't need to buy anything, you don't even need to change the kind of food you eat. However, the remedy is not particularly straightforward. Recovering from obesity is not the easily understood remediation of a single, simple problem. People get and stay obese because of a complex interaction of a dizzying array of little problems, most of which normal-weight people share in some measure, just not in a large enough number or serious enough combination to put the pounds on. Each obese individual has this mixture of a bunch of little causes in different combinations and different levels of severity. Getting to the answer involves a lot of nuance, a lot of trial and error, getting to your own individual answers often involves a process of shifting of opinions and judgments that could be called "flip-flopping" by those inclined to believe the simple assertions of the diet industry.

Meet my inner Bush voter. As a dieter, he believed he was special, he listened to the diet industry. As a voter, he would be inclined to passionately believe the assertion that 9/11 made this election "a special time in our nation's history," he would be greatly comforted by listening to the Fox News Channel. His answers would be simple: support President Bush, invade Iraq, ignore the nay-sayers, dismiss meddling allies, keep the Faith, be strong, stay the course, drop bombs, hate the terrorists. The problem is not complex: it's not our fault, we didn't bring this on ourselves. The terrorists hate our freedom, they hate the fact that we believe in justice. The only answer is killing them. Don't worry about all these facts concerning the failures of the Bush administration at home, in Afghanistan, and Iraq, that will all be sorted out by history. Don't worry about Bush's blind spots, his lies, his massive miscalculations, just believe.

So, I can't claim any particular distinction from the Bush voters. I almost killed myself believing in "specialness" and simple, straightforward answers that relieve me of personal responsibility for the problem of obesity just as they believe in simple, straightforward answers that relieve the USA of any collective responsibility for terrorism. I spent thousands of dollars, bought hundreds of books, joined dozens of gyms, bought an impressive array of exercise equipment and ate several different restrictive diet regimens. When I failed, it didn't matter, there was another thing to try, the next big diet thing out there, always on the horizon. I would passionately swear with every fiber of my being that I would (eventually) prevail, no matter how hopeless things may have looked at any particular moment. We'd all look back and understand in the future why this next idea was finally the right one and why all the others had fallen short before. I just had to stay the course. I just had to believe.

I was wrong.

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My inner Bush voter.

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  • Let me summarize: "People vote for Bush because they are in denial. If they were thinking rationally, they would not do such a stupid, self-destructive thing." Can you get any more presumptuous and elitist?

    This is the EXACT attitude I was talking about in my recent JE. No consideration for the possibility that rational, thinking, informed people could come to a *reasoned* decision different from yours, because, after all, "all reasonable people agree..."

    This JE drips of contempt for those who don't agree w

    • Liberals trying to understand why conservatives take the positions they take is like men trying to understand women. And vice versa(switch the relevant words above into order depending upon gender and political affiliation).
      • Be that as it may, would it be appropriate for me, as a man, to say "Don't worry your pretty little head about it. Politics is way to complicated for the female mind. Get me a beer would ya, honey?" or "Women they can't be put in positions of responsibility. They are irrational for a week out of every month."?

        If Richard, or you, just wants to say that he doesn't understand conservatives/republicans, that's fine. To claim that they are (all or a significant %) merely irrational, in denial, ignorant, etc. is

        • No, it tends to piss the opposite group off when you reveal your theories or predjudices. I think I've got a good analogy going here. :-P

          If Richard, or you, just wants to say that he doesn't understand conservatives/republicans, that's fine. To claim that they are (all or a significant %) merely irrational, in denial, ignorant, etc. is offensive.

          Yes, yes it is, very offensive in fact, it'll really raise your hackles. This is why Ann Coulter irks me most of all out of any pundit.

          I try very hard to be
        • There are very different meanings for belief.

          "I believe in protecting the environment," is a statement of values or ideals.

          "I believe I can fly when I jump off the roof," is a statement of desires and wishful thinking. It is irrational.

          Many or most who voted for Bush believe we're safer with him as President. I and I presume rdewald say they wish and desire that he kept and will keep them safe. That's what they've been telling themselves and been told over and over again.

          Your men and women analogy d
          • As many problems as I'm sure I'm going to have with this administration over the next four years, I really don't want to put myself into the position of hoping they fail to keep us safe just to prove a point on the internet. I actually hope that, no matter how whatever segment of the electorate that voted for Bush on the safety issue reached their decision, that they were right.

            As I said in a little rant the other day. You've got 4 years. Prove me wrong and do good.
            • I believe the US is in danger with Bush in charge because, among other reasons; he and his commanders botched many things in Iraq, helping Al Qaida recruitment; he and his commanders didn't commit enough troops to Afghanistan to secure and restore peace and government to the country, and there wasn't a high enough priority placed on OBL and Al Qaida, instead the focus was on Iraq, which could have waited until autumn by which time perhaps Hans Blix and the intelligence community would have found even less e
          • I agree that there are different meanings for belief. Richard's (and your?) presumption that when Bush voters use the term it means "is irrational" rather than "a statement of values or ideals" presumes overmuch.

            More importantly, it gets you (generic you) to a point where you dismiss the other as not having valid beliefs (in the first sense). Doing that means you will fail to understand where they come from. You make reasoned discussion and understanding impossible.

            Your men and women analogy doesn't work

            • every time the Republicans run on thier principles (i.e. the things they believe in) they win.

              The problem is, they rarely ever seem to live up to those principles. I can point to medicare "reform", no-bid contracting, "nation building" after saying that doing so was wrong, etc. as a number of ways that GWB has betrayed what I see as the positive aspects of the principles that are usually espoused by conservatives. It's great to run on principles, but how principled is the candidate really, when it seems

              • Yeah, well that's a separate issue. (and I agree, btw)
                • So I think that's part of the point that rdewald is trying to make. "The facts on the ground, historical performance of your candidate, don't support the idea that the principles you want to vote for are actually going to be applied." That takes out the whole "my values are better than your values" argument.

                  Of course, I suppose the obvious reply is "at least my guy says he agrees with my values".

                  • So I think that's part of the point that rdewald is trying to make. "The facts on the ground, historical performance of your candidate, don't support the idea that the principles you want to vote for are actually going to be applied." That takes out the whole "my values are better than your values" argument.

                    Thank you for making sense. :-)

                    Of course, I suppose the obvious reply is "at least my guy says he agrees with my values".

                    There was a fascinating segment on This American Life last week, where the h
          • There are not 2 definitions. It's just that some beliefs are correct and some are wrong. It's just the way that it is.
            • What the hell? Why you gotta argue with Websters? [m-w.com]

              1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
              2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
              3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

              I believe in protecting the environment. That fits definition number two. It is not right or wrong. That kind of belief is subjective, not objective.
              • Not to be smartalecy, but I think that I do disagree with Websters and I definitely disagree with your interpretation of Websters. You and others seem to classify beliefs into wrong and factual.

                "I believe I can fly when I jump off the roof," is a statement of desires and wishful thinking. It is irrational.

                I know what you mean by this, and you are right in that it is wishful thinking and irrational, but I don't think that it is fair to classify it as a seperate kind of belief. It seems to fit very well with

    • This was precisely the reaction I thought you would have. This is precisely the reaction Atkin's dieters have when I tell them their beliefs are not going to give them the results they seek.

      Just note that I was talking about myself. I do have a right to that expertise.

      Be well.
      • This was precisely the reaction I thought you would have.

        Not surprising, since you'd just participated in my journal where I said that the left should consider that those they disagree with just might have actual reasons for it, and that the reason that they have so much trouble understanding why so many people voted R is because they are elitist/out of touch with large swaths of the country.....

        This is precisely the reaction Atkin's dieters have when I tell them their beliefs are not going to give the

        • For the record, the advantages of the Atkin's approach to weight loss seem to vanish after about a year, which has also long been the case with every other product of the diet industry. I suggest you get your information from here [nih.gov] rather that the mouth organs of the diet industry (which includes some medical journals).

          The point of the JE, which you seem to have singluarly missed, again for the record (I don't expect to change your mind), is that any criticism that I might level at Bush voters I would also
          • The point of the JE, which you seem to have singluarly missed, again for the record (I don't expect to change your mind), is that any criticism that I might level at Bush voters I would also have to level at myself. That is, the thing that it seems to me that might explain why 59M+ rational, patriotic, reasonable people voted for Bush might be attributable to a human characteristic we all share, which can be considered a strength or a weakness, depending on the outcome of the decisions made thusly.

            Oh no,

            • Before you go, let's make some things clear. Here are some terms I did not use in the text of my JE:
              • denial
              • fear
              • mental illness
              • irrational
              • defective
              • superior

              I would appreciate at least an effort to not put words in my mouth.

              People do desire simple solutions for complex problems. What's wrong with that? Why would anyone prefer a complex solution?

              No sir, my good friend, it is you that came to all these conclusions about what I was saying in between the lines here. I never asserted that I was doing anything o

              • I would appreciate at least an effort to not put words in my mouth.

                Your sophistry is breathtaking. Whether you used those exact words or not in this JE, your intent was clear. Especially in comparing "you the dieter" (in denial) to "you the Bush voter". And you have used those very concepts (with the exception of "mental illness" and "defective") in the last 3-4 days repeatedly. You have claimed that Bush voters are in denial (they ignore the facts), they vote from fear (they want bush to keep us safe from

          • Oh, and as far as your link to the NCBI, would you care to tell me exactly what I should look at that would disprove my statement that the Atkin's approach to wait loss and maintenace? Rememeber, I said "people who actually follow, *and stick to*"

            Therefore, pointing out that after a year or so, people quit following the Atkins approach, which INCLUDES a lifetime "maintenance" diet is irrelevant. My claim was limited to those who stick to it. If, after a year, you stop what you are doing, and return to you

            • There is a study published this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine that seems to suggest the once a year passes, the usual measures for success in weight loss--maintenance, blood lipids, compliance--between a low calorie diet and the the low-carb diets are at best indistinguishable. In fact, some data suggest that the low-calorie option provides a more robust defense against the yo-yo.

              Anything the diet industry has to sell will produce short-term weight loss if one "sticks" to it. There's an old Tex
              • OK... I don't see what that has to do with the link, unless the survey is linked to there somewhere.

                seems to suggest the once a year passes, the usual measures for success in weight loss--maintenance, blood lipids, compliance--between a low calorie diet and the the low-carb diets are at best indistinguishable.

                That would indicate that a low-carb diet is somewhat equivalent to a low carb diet. Without the link, I can't examine the "defense against the yo-yo"

                Anything the diet industry has to sell will prod

          • For the record, the advantages of the Atkin's approach to weight loss seem to vanish after about a year, which has also long been the case with every other product of the diet industry. I suggest you get your information from here [nih.gov] rather that the mouth organs of the diet industry (which includes some medical journals).

            Interesting... A friend of mine living down in LA started the Atkins diet about 1.25 years ago (I think). According to his sister (who saw him recently) his clothes are hanging of
        • the reason that they have so much trouble understanding why so many people voted R is because they are elitist/out of touch with large swaths of the country

          Of course one could make the converse case that the reason the R's think we're elitist/out of touch is because they're anti-intellectual and out of touch with the part of the country we live in, which is just as much a legitimate environment as the vast farmlands. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the right talk about "stupid idiotic liberals

          • think we're elitist/out of touch is because they're anti-intellectual

            They could make the claim of anti-intellectualism. But only if they don't pay attention to to conversations on the right. Sooo... Since they don't pay any attention to what the right says, I suppose they can make the claim. Most of the new ideas of the last 20 years have come from the right. Check out the American Conservative [amconmag.com] as a jumping-off spot. One of the first things you will notice is actual discussion of ideas, not just attacks

            • They could make the claim of anti-intellectualism. But only if they don't pay attention to to conversations on the right. Sooo... Since they don't pay any attention to what the right says, I suppose they can make the claim. Most of the new ideas of the last 20 years have come from the right. Check out the American Conservative as a jumping-off spot. One of the first things you will notice is actual discussion of ideas, not just attacks on the left. One of the next things you will find out is that the right.
              • I'd add that there definitely is a significant segment of the conservative crowd that, while not "stupid" are definitely anti-intellectual. A very talented and smart coworker (I'm in Sun's support organization), when I pointed out that his rhetorical style (copied, consciously or not, from several notable rightward talking heads) had a clear signal of disdain for those of us on the other side, he promptly questioned what "rhetoric" was. When explained to him, he thought I was accusing him of consciously m
              • As for "hicks" I think you need to stop projecting attitudes on me.

                If I did so unfairly, I apologize. That's how I read the "vast farmlands" comment. And that is the same characterization that I have seen over and over of Bush voters, especially when tied to the whole "anti-intellectual" claim. But I apologize for reading more into it than I should.

                I agree that the "MEGAfreaken'opolis vs NON_MEGAfreaken'opolis" division is notable, though. ;-> But notice that Bush even took sizeable chuncks in the MEGA

                • I think the "elitism" claim is just as bogus as the "anti-intellectual" claim. In other words, some of each side fall into the stereotypical attitude, and many do not. And in any particularly heated argument online between conservatives and liberals, I can usually spot both behaviors right away, and neither side will cop to them if confronted.
                  • I disagree. I think the elitism claim, especially among the PTB of the Democratic "thinkers" is very real and pervasive. Does that mean that a Democrat id Detroit shares it? Not necessarily. It does mean that the opinion makers in the party do. It is exactly what Richard has been demonstrating in his recent posts.
                    • Um, where did I say it wasn't real? You haven't contradicted me at all. And I have not expressed any opinion on Richard's comments, have I?
                    • "real and pervasive". I don't think the two (leftist elitism and conservitive anti-intellectualism) are in anywhere near equivalent supply. No, you haven't expressed an opinion on Richard's comments. I have, though. ;->
                    • Go re-read my comments about each side not copping to their own failures. I would say that from where I sit, I can see just about the same amount of both behaviors on each side, but each side exaggerates the failing of the other and ignores their own.
                    • I read your comments. I have seen *few* examples of the Republicans being anti-intellectual. I pointed you to one of the conservative magazines focusing on intellectual discussion of political ideas, btw. I have seen MANY examples of the left being elitist, including this JE. Now, I admit being more prone to notice failings among the Democrats (and yes, I know I'm using some terms interchangeably), but I would think that someone would be willing/able to show me some pretty fair examples. What say we take th
                    • My opinion, RedWarrior, is that conservative anti-intellectualism is more prevalant than leftist elitism. It's certainly prevelant in your attempts to keep me from commenting on your journal entries. When you called me a "Bush hater," it became so obvious that you will not argue with me because you know that you can not win.

                      There are plenty of people on Slashdot to the left of me, SNJoseph and all the other Nader supporters for example. I was an associate member at the 2000 Republican convention in Sac

                    • certainly prevelant in your attempts to keep me from commenting on your journal entries.....
                      The trouble that you have with me, and the reason that you feel the need to exclude me from your journal, is that my skill in debate is far superior to your own. You are a coward when it comes to facing the truth.

                      Bzzt. You loose. You are banned from my journal because you are a personnally insulting jackass (Lots of people who comment in my journal dislike Bush. They argue better than you, too) , and therefore u

                    • You are banned from my journal because you are a personnally insulting jackass (Lots of people who comment in my journal dislike Bush. They argue better than you, too)

                      You mean that you like the way they argue because they act as meek and subservient to you as you are forced to when faced with my logic, research, and debating skills. You have agreed to send others into battle on command, yet you are so unskilled at debate that you are forced to deliberatly exclude me from your journal so that you will n

    • Let me summarize: "People vote for Bush because they are in denial. If they were thinking rationally, they would not do such a stupid, self-destructive thing." Can you get any more presumptuous and elitist?

      Hey, he's calling it as he sees it. I noticed much the same thing, the whole "I believe" thing, the degree to which justifications of Bush were based upon the ultrasubjective and irrational, the "we finally have God in the Whitehouse" thing.

      I'm sure there were a handful of rational Bush voters. But i

      • I noticed much the same thing, the whole "I believe" thing, the degree to which justifications of Bush were based upon the ultrasubjective and irrational, the "we finally have God in the Whitehouse" thing.

        Ah! Another fine example. :-) Nah, the Bush voters don't have any principles or ideas they believe in, they're just a bunch of ignorant boobs. Maybe if you actually tried to converse with them, you might find out that they TOO might actually have ideas which they believe in, which are different from your

        • Nah, the Bush voters don't have any principles or ideas they believe in, they're just a bunch of ignorant boobs.

          Well, the "I believe", the "We finally have God in the White House" ones, the ones we're talking about, certainly do come across that way.

          And you'll keep failing to understand why they vote the way they do. And you'll keep failing to convince them that thier values are wrong or that yours are right.

          I see. So when they say "I believe", and talk about their support for Bush being based upon f

          • and talk about God being in the White House... they're lying?

            No, actually, I'm saying YOU are lying when you claim that anyone says any such thing. As far as thier support for Bush being based on thier faith, that's the same thing as saying "we have common values". I would HOPE that people would support people who have the same value system.

            And as long as you keep distorting what the other side is saying, you will keep not understanding why you loose.

            BTW, FWIW, you're a case in point in terms of the co

            • No, actually, I'm saying YOU are lying when you claim that anyone says any such thing.

              Well, then you boggle my mind, because I saw people interviewed and read of people and heard people personally and read people writing for themselves who said exactly what I've said they said, and now you're saying I'm lying to myself. Wow. Is this my left brain lying to my right brain? Or the other way around? Or was it all staged now, were all these people actors?

              And as long as you keep distorting what the other sid

              • And this is because I keep distorting what the other side is saying, by listening to them and repeating exactly what I heard?

                I sincerely doubt that you have heard people say that Bush is God. Yes, I claim you are lying.

                What we wouldn't be doing is telling all the Republicans who were trying to figure out what went wrong that they're wrong to do so

                And that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that the left SHOULD try to figure out what went wrong. AND that claiming that they only lost because Bush voters th

  • Look, as a Bush voter, what I believe or don't believe about him is irrelevant. Kerry would have been, without a doubt, bad for this country on the issues that I care about. Period. If the Democrats had nominated a candidate that had opinions I agreed with, I would have voted against Bush.

    Kerry never said anything that I agreed with. So I didn't vote for him. I did what I could to ensure he lost. And he lost.

    • Would it be fair to say that you were an "anyone but Kerry" voter, then? I'm not going to try to change your mind, I'm just curious if you're comfortable with that description.

      Thanks for reading my journal.
      • To a large extent, yes. I don't actively dislike Bush, although I definitely do disagree with some of his stances, and agree with others.

        My intention was to vote Badnarik. However, Kerry was such a terrible choice to me that I could not vote for Badnarik knowing that every Badnarik vote increased Kerry's chances.

        • Ok, is it fair to put these words in your mouth--"I voted for Bush because I believe Kerry was a worse choice, and further, I believe a vote for Badnarik was tantamount to a vote for Kerry?"

          Some in this JE have suggested that my mention of the prefix "I believe" is singularly aimed at religious convictions. It's not. I heard just as many people say "I believe Bush will keep us safe" or "I believe John Kerry is a flip-flopper" or "I believe we have to show strength in the war and changing the President wo
          • Well, to that extent, any political vote is going to be based on an "I believe," as in "it is my opinion." All elections are based on the opinions of the voters. From Kerry's record, I believe Kerry was a worse choice. In my mind, that's a fact, because I have seen Kerry's voting record and I know that it doesn't mesh with my opinions about government.

            There was a lot of "I believe Bush did a good job in his first term" which is tantamount to saying "I am voting for Bush because of his accomplishments i

            • Well, I voted for Clinton in 1996 because of his record even though Bob Dole was more to my tastes as a man and a leader. There's a point beyond which it becomes useless to parse what "belief" means in this context, and I think we've reached it. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.
              • Thoughtful discussion was my intent. There's been a lot said in a lot of journals lately about this election, but degenerating into a flamewar doesn't prove anything.

                Politics are one of those divisive issues that get a lot of people worked up-- we've seen that here and in lots of other places the last few days.

                I hope we can all get back to normal, but I also hope people aren't afraid to bring these subjects up-- I've gotten a lot out of all of the recent entries.

  • 1: You get a SLAP for equalizing clynical denial with support of George W. Bush. While no doubt SOME right-wingers suffer from an obtuse level of denial, the proportion of them to the whole is nearly identical to the same proportion within left-wingers.

    2: To the extent that the people around you voted based on misinformation, by all means correct them. Just because someone rationally assigns trust to a political party doesn't mean that they are unwilling to consider facts from neutral or other-party sour
    • Do you really mean to suggest that I think Gandhi and MLK advanced their causes via denial? I said no such thing. Please read the sixth paragraph after the disclaimer, the one that begins with "11/02/04 was...." again. Consider my entire argument, not just the portions that suit your remonstration.
      • Do you really mean to suggest that I think Gandhi and MLK advanced their causes via denial?

        Neither one was a Republican, so, no.

        Your argument's premise--that support of Republicans by those that do not directly benefit from their policies is equitable to a mental illness--is faulty.

        If you think I misread you, please correct me. And don't forget that, after the remonstration, I encouraged you to correct what misunderstanding and non-factual statements you do encounter.

        • Nowhere in my JE do I ever use or suggest the term "mental illness." Neither do I use the party designation "Republican." I don't think the facts support Bush's assertion that he is true the values of the Republican party as I know it.

          It is you, and RW, that are equating my discussion of human frailties, which I believe we all share, with mental illness. I do discuss my psychotherapy, but let me tell you something, there are two kinds of people who see psychotherapists--those that are unusually burdened
  • Is why no Democrat can admit that rational voters could not vote for Bush. TMP said it yesterday, you said it today, but we're seeing it other places too.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2109218/ [msn.com]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/04/nyregion/04york. html [nytimes.com]

    The prevailing attitude right now from the Democrats is that everyone in the red states is an ignorant fool. Apparently they feel that we're too ignorant to read these opinions, but they're wrong. The way to win voters is not by insulting them, and this will be

    • Is why no Democrat can admit that rational voters could not vote for Bush.

      What I don't understand is why someone reacts to an unfair generalization with another unfair generalization.

      I happen to disagree with many of the positions that Bush takes, and with many of the things he and his supporters believe in. Most Bush voters had one or the other (or many) perfectly rational reasons for not liking Kerry -- his Vietnam record, his Senate voting record, his record on fiscal policy (some on the right believ

    • Ye GODS, the nytimes column makes me so upset. Asshat New Yorkers thinking the rest of the country (rather, the "red states" in particular) is made up of a bunch of uneducated hicks. Why do people who live in cities think that they're so much better than those who don't?

      "We need to bring our way of life, which is honoring diversity and having compassion for people with different lifestyles, on a trip around the country."-- Ms. Camhe

      Just because someone doesn't live in NYC or San Francisco or LA doesn't

      • I don't defend them much, but they really aren't as bad as all of that.

        Their heads are up their ass about a lot of things, and they have tunnel vision, and they think the world ends at the borders of the city. That said, they aren't horrible people. Just misguided and too enamored of their own intelligence. I've often wished a firm slap to the back of the head on many of them. Nothing more, though.

        On another note:

        It's ironic that many of the best people you find in NYC don't live in it. Also, most o
      • Since Richard decided to make his latest screed [slashdot.org] refer to me and no comments, and linked to the above post.
        1. I agree completely with the above post.
        2.

        11/03/2004 was a very quiet day in the City, most everyone was frankly stunned. I honestly don't know anyone here who voted for Bush. Not a single solitary soul. Not any of my friends (not even the uber-conservative multi-millionaire investment bankers I count as friends), not the Pakistanis at the Deli, not my Sudanese dry cleaner, not my Jamaican super, no

        • oops. an unclosed italic tag. Sorry.
        • When I read "similarly afflicted", I thought he was talking about people like me who don't quite understand [slashdot.org] how people vote for Bush either.

          In my JE I never said that I was better than anyone, that I was a more educated person than a Bush voter. I even mentioned to TheConfusedOne that I do know plenty of people who voted for Bush, and most of them are like me - thoughtful, educated people. But I, like rdewald, do not understand how they could vote for him in the face of the facts of the last four years.

          • When I read "similarly afflicted", I thought he was talking about people like me

            I can see how you can draw that conclusion when he says he's trying to help people who a similarly afflicted. Any that may be the correct interpretation. That doesn't change his charactization then, in prior, and now in subsequent JEs.

            In my JE I never said that I was better than anyone, that I was a more educated person than a Bush voter. I even mentioned to TheConfusedOne that I do know plenty of people who voted for Bush,

            • I don't have much time to reply, but as far as this part goes: Listen to why THE BUSH VOTERS think they voted for Bush, rather than listening to the left tell you why the Bush voters voted for Bush. , I will definitely look into that. Much the same way that I don't believe Bush telling me why the terrorists hate us. :)

              I'm trying to sort things out for myself and reconcile my beliefs with those of others who don't believe like I do. But it's difficult, as I said, when opening yourself up to people who just

              • Oh, I don't "just" want to gloat... :-)

                And I probably wouldn't gloat quite so much if there weren't so much bile and "you're all a bunch of ignorant, in denial, fools" coming from the left.

                Oh, and if Bush hadn't won. He did, btw.
                /me ducks

        • Hitler wasn't elected Chancellor. His party got 32% of the vote in the last free election in Weimar Germany. Weimar Germany had a system sort of like the British one where the Prime Minister is selected by some authority figure. Technically, the King does this in England, but realistically it's the person the Commons want.

          He was selected as Chancellor by Hindenberg, who thought he was a weak person and would be easily controlled as part of a coalition government. A Reichstag fire and then you have an "
      • I agree that the article generally chose quotes that were astonishingly vapid and self-centered. But there was one that I thought was very insightful:

        "None of the people who are likely to be hit by a terrorist attack voted for Bush."

        Obviously this is an exaggeration, but it has some basis. The by-county results map [electoral-vote.com] shows that nearly all of the major coastal cities went against Bush.

        It seems to me that if a terrorist got hold of a nuke, the best way to deliver it to the "evil empire" is to buy a standard
        • That's the non-story of the election. I guess that doesn't make for happy readers /listeners in the mass media, though.
        • "None of the people who are likely to be hit by a terrorist attack voted for Bush." Obviously this is an exaggeration, but it has some basis. The by-county results map shows that nearly all of the major coastal cities went against Bush.

          You'll find hostages and their families often disagree with the essential principle of not negotiating with terrorists, too - too much at stake to see the big picture, in essence a "vested interest". It's a common refrain: "just give in to [insert terrorist group]'s demands

          • The other point, of course, is that OBL specifically threatened [memri.org] Bush-supporting states: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al-Qa'ida. Your security is in your own hands, and any [U.S.] state [wilaya] that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

            The quote does not support the assertion, indeed it directly contradicts it. OBL says, directly, explicity, that it doesn't matter which of the candidates you vote for. Aside from the classic right-

            • The quote does not support the assertion, indeed it directly contradicts it.

              This claim seems impossible to reconcile with his actual words.

              OBL says, directly, explicity, that it doesn't matter which of the candidates you vote for.

              Untrue. He states the outcome will be determined by US states rather than by individuals or by his own organisation. Did you think US states suddenly started having their own foreign policy, or that he was referring to the only way in which states can and do affect such matt

              • He states the outcome will be determined by US states rather than by individuals or by his own organisation

                No, he did not. He said "state" (in the translation). In this context it would mean "nation-state".

                • No, he did not. He said "state" (in the translation). In this context it would mean "nation-state".

                  No, the link I posted explains the meaning of the specific Arabic word used. To translate the word he used as "nation state" is simply wrong: it does not mean that. As the link explains, there is a completely different Arabic word with the meaning you are trying to ascribe; the word actually used refers very specifically to states in the US sense.

                  • *looks it up* Yes, you are correct. Our (Swedish) translators seems to have messed up, possibly because it doesn't make much sense in the context of the sentence while "nation-state" does...
                    • *looks it up* Yes, you are correct. Our (Swedish) translators seems to have messed up, possibly because it doesn't make much sense in the context of the sentence while "nation-state" does...

                      It does make sense once you consider the nature of the then-imminent election, whereby those states would be voting - as states - in a choice between what OBL regards as "interference in the Muslim world", and a reversion to the Clinton "law enforcement" approach. Not a distinction I'd expect the average foreign transl

                    • a native Arabic speaker, of course

                      I seem to recall him mostly speaking some dialect... Let's see... Oh. There's references to him speaking in a weird Saudi dialect [rense.com], Modern Standard Arabic [wizbangblog.com] and old skool qur'an arabic [the-tls.co.uk]. At the same time. And they can't even agree [copts.net] on if he said 'abid', 'ajam' or 'zingi' when referring to blacks...

                      Was it a direct independent Arabic-Swedish translation, or could they have used the English translation and copied this mistake from there?

                      I'm not sure, but I'd guess they were

                    • But as someone pointed out, the US states don't have their own foreign policies and it would have made more sense to either threaten the US as a whole or individual voters instead of using the arbitrary division into states. He might as well have used counties or voting precincts.

                      No. Voting precincts are arbitrary and irrelevant, as are counties, but states are fundamental to the whole election mechanism (as well as the US legal system). Individual voters do not vote for President, nor do counties or prec

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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