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Bush's victory: The triumph of the simplistic evangelical agenda
An election postmortem, or, more compassionately, an election reflection

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 11/21/2004

By RICHARD AMRHINE

YOU DIDN'T THINK I could just let it go, did you? It's nearly three weeks after the election, and along with tens of millions of other Americans, I'm still trying to sort it all out.

Those who voted for the president, including those who were casting ballots against Sen. Kerry, don't seem to understand. For them, it's simply: "We won. You lost. Get over it." At least that's what I'm getting from my e-mail.

But getting over it will take awhile, because those of us who voted the other way think the nation and the world stand to suffer as a result of the outcome.

George W. Bush took office four years ago after a tainted victory, and we viewed it as a fluke that the voters could and would choose to undo four years later--especially when he turned out to be the lame leader we expected him to be.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001, and over the ensuing three years the president did all he needed to do, in the eyes of many Americans, to assure himself a one-term presidency. Americans, however, are reluctant to change leadership in the middle of a war, so it's a good thing for him he started one.

Today, Americans are dying in Iraq (the current month is the second deadliest for U.S. troops since the invasion) either because George Bush lied, or because he was horribly misinformed. Period.

So why, after failing miserably at his job, was he re-elected by a majority of Americans? Has America been brainwashed?

In a way, yes. For one thing, the nation's conservative extremists, the evangelicals, have managed to blur the distinction between church and state to the point that many Americans favor the candidate they believe God would endorse. As columnist Leonard Pitts put it, these are Christians "whose Bibles are so long on judgment yet so short on compassion.

"They give God a bad name," he adds.

It is difficult for those of us better defined as progressive than liberal to understand an agenda that puts homosexuality and abortion above the basic needs of families and the well-being of children who have already been born.


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