After four days of devotion to accurate coverage and a desperate hope for a Kerry victory, foregoing sleep to both work and worry, the blow delivered yesterday was suffocating.
Strung out on caffine and adreneline after a night spent in nervous anticipation, highlighted by sporadic moments of joy as Wolf Blitzer added blue states to CNN’s electoral map, we were brought near tears, huddled around the tiny T.V. in our less-than-tidy production room as John Kerry delivered his heart-felt concession speech.
Then, as shock and depression gave way to anger and revulsion directed toward the 51 percent of voters who made their mark in Column B, we were struck by the horrifying implications four more years of Bush has brought to the surface.
Not that we didn’t consider them before – why else would we have so vehemently endorsed Kerry? But to the bitter end it was essential to maintain the belief that Kerry would be victorious, prompting change where Bush was lacking and a dedication to maintaining the status quo of our civil liberties.
Despite the loss suffered by Kerry and his supporters, we were inspired by his continued faith in the American public and the political system to which he had just succumbed.
“Whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans,” Kerry declared, reassuring the damaged Democratic psyche.
Our fear: One day, a portion of the population may wake up as Americans with significantly fewer basic rights and civil liberties.
Let’s be honest with ourselves folks – we are involved in Iraq whether we agree with it or not. There is no change either candidate could have made that would significantly lessen the strain this unjustified campaign continues to have on our economy, our morale, our foreign relations and, most importantly, on the peers and sons and daughters and parents that Bush has sent to die (in what any responsible American should recognize as a direct contradiction to his ‘culture of life’).
Domestic policy deserved significantly more consideration than it received. That is the area in which we, as a society, had the most to lose by allowing an incumbent victory.
With this shocking realization foremost on our minds, we began a heart-wrenching diatribe, projecting the potential disaster now that domestic policy lies in the hands of a president with nothing to lose.
In his pre-empt to Kerry’s concession speech John Edwards promised, “We will fight for everyone who stood in line to change our country.”
Unfortunately, that promise can no longer ensure that women in this country will never have occasion to buy stock in coat hangers.
High school seniors will receive no relief from the stress of worrying whether they will be able to pay for college and how the possibility that they will not could potentially affect the rest of their lives.
College graduates have four more years of fighting for limited spots in graduate school or law school because the struggle seems so much more hopeful than the prospect of their future jobs being outsourced.
The GLBT community will remain in a near-hopeless purgatory, at the mercy of individual states and with no measure of support on a national, federal level.
Edwards rightly proclaimed, “John Kerry is a great American.” What can Dick Cheney claim about his president other than that he is a Christianity-driven, quasi-facist danger to the American way of life?
There is no legitimate way for a room full of student journalists, albeit dedicated student journalists, running a campus paper to predict what will happen over the next four years. We can only continue to do our jobs to the best of our abilites and hope that we will not have to end our time at the College and proceed boldy into a society ravaged by the cowboy tactics of our 43rd president.
We wait with bated breath for a hint of the direction Bush’s second term will take, as women whose reproductive rights are threatened, as men who see no clear end to the war in Iraq, as students with ever-increasing loans and a shaky confidence in their ability to quickly obtain employment.
We are citizens of a United States that is no longer respected by our international peers, a nation so severely polarized that all the values we have, since our conception, held dear, hang perilously in the balance.
We supported John Kerry in Election 2004. We will continue to support his ideals, no matter the direction in which a re-elected President Bush’s quest for American superiority drags our great nation.