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An election postmortem, or, more compassionately, an election reflection
By RICHARD AMRHINE
Looking at that sea of red states on the electoral map, the Bible Belt appears to be holding up its Bible trousers, and the country looks to be wearing a Bible vest.
But don't be deceived. The popular vote ended up 59.5 million to 56 million. The map is merely a lesson in population density. It's the number of people per square mile that matters, not the square miles.
The president got off on the wrong foot by promising to bridge the divisiveness in America, then claiming a mandate to pursue his agenda of moral ideals. How do you promise unity by deliberately ignoring the convictions of 56 million Americans? This is a recipe to turn our simmering melting pot up to a full boil.
Then he refers to his second term as a "season of hope." Is he referring to the hope that America isn't sold to the highest bidder? Hope that we're able to breathe the air and drink the water? Hope that we won't be subjected to illegal searches and surveillance under the so-called Patriot Act? Hope that America's poverty rolls don't explode over the next four years?
With the departure of so many Cabinet members, especially Secretary of State Colin Powell, the president is tailoring for himself a very like-minded inner circle. The opportunity for moderation is lost, and any remnant of "compassionate conservatism"--remember that?--is out the window.
Let's have a season of hope in which reason is alive and well.
RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.