Now that the dust has settled and our lame duck President has been re-elected, it is not only vital but essential to reflect over this past election and move forward. A couple of lessons can be learned from this past year that will definitely galvanize the youth and the disenfranchised citizens of the U.S.
The most important fact to remember is that John Kerry is not a savior to the problems caused by the Bush administration. At most he brings a sense of relief and hope — that in the midst of the current debacle (both domestically and internationally) caused by Bush and his group of bandits — there stands a candidate that has the possibility of triggering the start of a new era in the U.S. state of political affairs. By no means is Kerry the answer to all our problems.
The most important lesson to be learned from this election is the success of mobilization by both sides of the political spectrum. Republican or Democrat, Nader or No Nader, and Left of Right, everyone is talking politics. Conversations in and around Boston revolved around the incredible Red Sox comeback against the Yankees (sorry New York!), their ensuing victory over St. Louis, and the presidential election. It is now cool to talk politics. If you are not a registered voter you are branded as “that kid”.
Scores of students across campuses gathered together to watch the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Boston University hosted all four debates despite being notoriously known for being apolitical. The Vice-Presidential debate fell on a Friday (a typical party night), yet many students doffed their fiesta tendencies and instead engaged in political debates. For the first time in recent memory, politics is on the forefront of everyone's mind.
With a Kerry loss, I hope the energy and discussion of politics does not die away. It is now even more important than ever to talk politics. Bush did not have a mandate from the people during his first term and he led one of the most deadly and least successful presidential administrations in history.
Bush was the first president since Truman to actually lose jobs. He is directly responsible for the deaths of 15,000 Afghanis, over 100,000 Iraqis, and over 1,000 of our soldiers. And now as he begins to embark on his second term, he has the mandate of 52% of the voters. Allow me to repeat myself; it is now even more important than ever to talk politics.
Movements should not and will not wither away because of one candidate's loss. Instead we need to build on the momentum created in this last election and move forward. I suspect many on the Kerry base feel disheartened and hopeless because their candidate lost. I beg to differ!
A year ago, the Democratic candidates were seen as having an outside shot of challenging the President. Over the course of the past year the President's popularity and credibility has dwindled. He is not the evincible and untouchable man he once was. This is a result of the relentless work put in by ordinary citizens during the campaign.
Creating change in a society takes time…lots of time. Slowly but surely the U.S. will see change if the citizens who took part in this election remain politically active. Nothing happens over night. The Bush administration seized on the 9/11 attacks and instilled a cultural dominated by terror alerts. They were successful in preemptively invading and occupying Iraq because of their tactics and their use of scaring American families. At the start of the war, an overwhelming majority supported the President's lies. Now, as evident by the close election, that number has dropped. That is change!
It is best to compare the events of the past year and the ensuing events of the next four years and beyond to a heavy weight bout. Every round consists of hard nosed hitting and dodging of punches. Some cheap shots are taken here and there, and rarely an ear may get bitten. Kerry's loss is only a first round knockdown. But instead of it being a TKO, we must get up, finish the round, and then regroup. There are 11 more rounds left and many more Bush blunders to capitalize upon.
Bush will be sworn in again on January 20, 2005. We must remind him EVERY DAY that he does not represent 48% of us. We took a back seat and remained passive to his policies until it was too late. In essence, as a result of the 9/11 attacks, we gave him a blank check to do whatever he wants. I urge everyone not to sit back but instead MOVE FOWARD and remain active. Kerry's loss is only that on the surface. Below, the echoes of people marching onward can be heard. Until victory, always!