OPINION

Democratic loss

As a Greek-American who grew up in Greece and now works in the USA, I believe I can offer some explanation to my brothers and sisters in Greece as to why George Bush was re-elected. I, like most people in Europe, was certain than John Kerry would win on November 2. But somehow it didn’t happen. Why? It’s very simple. The USA is far too socially conservative to elect a «Massachusetts Liberal» or «filelefthero» in the Venizelian mold. Since the late 1960s pro-segregation Southern Democrats, the religious right, gun enthusiasts, and the corporate lobby «got married» and formed an awesome political machine. They kept telling the American public that «these liberals won’t protect the country; they’ll take your tax dollars and give them to poor people (most of whom were people of color), etc.» The American public has been fed the words «values» and «morals» in a classic opium-of-the-masses method. It’s hard to believe that unemployed and exploited blue-collar workers in Ohio, Florida, Indiana (and all Wal-Mart employees) made a conscious decision to vote for Bush, but it happened… again. Never underestimate the power of demagoguery is the lesson here. The Democrats needed a better candidate. John Edwards would’ve probably lost because of his lack of «leadership» experience. Wes Clark was good but not a seasoned politician; his involvement in the Bosnia/Kosovo war would not bode well with many European countries. Howard Dean never stood a chance. Kerry was the best of the lot. He had a good war record, a solid political resume, and more experience than Bush in both foreign relations and domestic legislation. If he was a senator from Texas, Alabama or Kentucky he might have won last night. The next time out the Democrats need to do some very careful scouting; that means that Hillary Clinton should not run. She’s very qualified, bright, and would make a great president. She’s also a polarizing presence; for a Democrat that’s a death wish, given the cultural dynamics at play. A new US Supreme Court will very likely tamper with abortion rights; racial discrimination safeguards, and will extend litigation shields to health maintenance organizations, industry and other Republican Party contributors. The religious right is trying to turn America into a faith-based economic oligarchy, and it is succeeding. Internationally this Bush win means isolation from Europe and Asia, and more pre-emptive attacks on countries that may or may not threaten us. Another terrorist attack is more likely simply because Bush is the best recruiting tool Al Qaeda has ever had. A military draft of course is coming soon; there is no way the US Army can handle this type of long-term deployment(s). God help us. With many wishes and hopes for peace. GERASIMOS POLAKIS, Modesto, California.