Dear RN, I'm afraid I would agree with L.A. Kaufmann that it is an insult to have Bush, an "idiotic twerp and serial executioner installed as president". (cf. RN posting of Dec. 14) [Of course, I am not in the US but still, it is an insult to me too.] The two postings below give different perspectives on where responsibility for this disaster lies. It is important to look at this question of responsibility in order to understand better how to work to improve things. But it is also important to get beyond pointing the finger at others, and look always at what we can do... I mentioned in an earler posting this delightful practical joke Rick Mercer (sp?) of the TV program "This Hour has 22 Minutes" played on Bush, when he went up and asked him what he thought of our [Canada's] prime minister, Jean Poutine. the "idiotic twerp" replied that he knows Jean Poutine well and thinks he's great, or some such. (I forgot to explain that "poutine" is a French-Canadian dish which, in most regions, consists of French fries with melted cheese on top.) Rick Mercer has played other practical jokes too, like going to Harvard to ask people to sign a peptition to Chief Gordon Lightfoot to ask him to call off the rhinoceros hunt in Ontario. First he got people going on what a great university Harvard was... and then many signed, apparently even professors! (Gordon Lightfoot is a well-known Canadian singer and, obviously, there aren't any wild rhinosceroses in Ontario!) Anyhow, that little joke shows that there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done in terms of plain old education, eh? Good luck to us all; we're competing against mind-numbing media, drugs and human lethargy in trying to do this education work. all the best, Jan PS Just after I composed this, I found this lovely quote, which is pertinent: 'There is a quote from Raymond Williams, a British leftist who died some 10 or 15 years ago, that I very much like and so strive to take into my personal everyday life. I pass it on to you if you are not already familiar with it--"To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing."' ************************************************************** Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 16:53:52 -0800 From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> Subject: responsibility for Bush's "election" The first responsibility for Bush's election goes to those who voted for him. The second responsibility goes to Gore whose lackluster campaign failed to energize the 48% of the population who didn't vote. The third responsibility goes to those who did not count the votes fairly. The fourth responsibility goes equally to those Gore voters who failed to vote for Nader, because with the Gore votes, Nader would have won, and to Nader voters who failed to vote for Gore, because with the Nader votes, Gore would have won. But since so many people voted for Gore because they thought that they were being "realistic," lets look at how wrong they were: they neither elected Gore nor succeeded in bringing their own ideals into public discourse; whereas the people who voted for Nader failed to elect Nader but did succeed in standing up for what they believed in. Don't be so sure that years from now the people who voted for Gore won't be wondering why they threw their votes away for someone who neither won nor represented their actual beliefs. Rabbi Michael Lerner **************************************************** Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 18:49:21 -0800 From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> Subject: I Voted for Nader as a genuine protest. Published in the November 20, 2000 issue of Time Magazine Don't Blame Me I Voted for Nader as a genuine protest. If Gore loses, he did it all on his own. by Barbara Ehrenreich The death threats keep pouring in. There are rumors that Gloria Steinem wants me to turn in my "Sisterhood Is Powerful" T-shirt, that Jesse Jackson says my soul is toast. They didn't even notice us Naderites for months — until, of course, their candidate decided to prove he isn't "wooden" by demonstrating how fast he could sink. Then, quicker than you could say, "Florida's electoral college votes," that great, flabby, inchoate entity, the Democratic party, morphed into a disciplined Leninist organization, dispatching its leading cadre with the message, "Vote for Nader, and you'll never eat lunch in this country again." I know there's not much point arguing with a party spurned. Scapegoating is, after all, so much easier than thinking. But, dear disappointed Dems, why not vent your rage on, for example, the union guys who voted for Bush because of his easygoing attitude toward firearms? (Oh, yes, I forgot, they're armed.) And before beating up on the Democratic defectors to Nader, wouldn't it be a good idea to pause for a little numerical perspective? According to exit polls, Gore lost 11 pecent of Democratic voters to Bush, compared to only 2 percent to Nader, who also drew votes from Independents and Republicans. One of the major charges leveled against Nader voters is that we pretended — in some perverse kind of optical malingering — that we couldn't see the difference between the major candidates. Well, I'm capable of making fine visual distinctions. But a lot of people who probably never wandered near the Nader camp kept muttering, "Bush, Gore? Gush, Bore?" right up to election eve. This was, after all, the year the parties did their utmost to resemble one another. Recall that in August, after a Republican convention full of "compassion" and black gospel choirs, the pundits gave Bush high marks for making the Republican party look more like the Democratic party. But how hard was that? He wouldn't have been able to make the Republicans look like the Democrats if the Democrats had not already spent most of the past decade making themselves look like the Republicans — embracing capital punishment, unrestricted trade, welfare reform and the need to abolish the deficit. You call this a two-party system? I demand a recount. The staggering thing about the Democratic party's sense of entitlement — as in, "We own your vote" — is that it has made so little effort to hold on to its base. Labor, for example. Would there have been any worry about union members' defecting to Nader if the Clinton administration had spent even half as much time fighting to raise the minimum wage as it spent on pushing free trade with China? So back off, Democratic avengers. Nader didn't steal Gore's election; he just mobilized some of the mounting disgust for money-polluted politics, with its battery-operated candidates and look-alike, corporate-welfare-state policies, whether they're labeled Democratic or Republican. All right, maybe the Republican disguise worked for the Democrats in 1992. But if you go around long enough in camouflage clothes, you're eventually going to be mistaken for, well, a bush. Copyright © 2000 Time Inc.