Eating crow is actually not that bad, provided you grill it and slop on a lot of kick-like-a-mule barbecue sauce. I had my crow breakfast this morning because I had foolishly predicted that (1) the tight presidential race would break decisively one way or the other, and a landslide didn't happen; and (2) that it would break in favor of John Kerry, and it definitely did not do that.
So, mea culpa and pass the Alka-Seltzer.
Now you know why I'm not a professional gambler. To be a successful gambler, you not only need to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, as the song says, but you must also always retain the ability to see the world as it is without regard to how you wish it might be. In this instance, I clearly forgot the lessons of my childhood.
My father had a unique way of saying "no." When I asked for something he wasn't going to buy for me, or when I wanted to do something he wasn't going to allow me to do, he would always say, "You're old enough for your wants not to hurt you." In short, understand the difference between reality and desires and be guided by reality.
I so wanted President George Bush not to be re-elected, I shut my eyes to reality. The reality is that a majority of Americans like, or at least don't mind, killing foreigners, provided the cost is not too high; they don't give the flip of a middle finger about the opinions of the rest of the world; they don't understand deficits and the dangers they pose; they prefer simplicity to complexity; and they would rather believe than think.
Well, we owe the president congratulations for his victory, and to each other, a prayerful "good luck." I don't intend to spend the next four years hammering the president. His faults will eventually be plain to all. He will not move to the center, as some of the chattering class are predicting. When the president said he had not made any mistakes, he was being quite sincere, not being mule-headed. He will not change his policies one bit. Why should he? In his own mind, he was right, and now the electorate has validated that belief.
As for the Democrats, they will have to decide if they wish to be the regional party of the Northeast and the Left Coast, or if they would rather win national elections. It should be clear to them that if they are going to write off the South, they are going to write off ever winning a national election. The last non-Southern Democrat to win the White House was John F. Kennedy, 44 years ago. As Dr. Howard Dean told them back during the primaries, they are going to have to find a way to appeal to those of us who are proud of the Confederate flag.
For starters, they need to dump that urban fixation on gun control. I was willing to overlook Sen. Kerry's dismal record on that issue in the interest of war control, but a majority of Southerners were not. They also need to dump the homosexuals. The South is the last outpost of Christendom, and a majority of Protestant Christians are either homophobic or at least uncaring about the agenda of homosexuals. They are going to have to recognize that, despite the distortion of television, blacks are only 13 percent of the population, and kissing the backside of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is not going to save them from electoral defeat. They are going to have to accept the fact that what flies in Massachusetts usually crashes in the rest of the country. Finally, they should recognize that what goes for the South usually goes for the rural areas of the rest of the country. In other words, the divide is not so much regional as it is metropolitan and rural small town.
There is justice in the universe. At least now President Bush will have to clean up his own mess. He will have to find a way to get out of Iraq and avoid wars with Iran and North Korea. He will have to find a way to get his own deficit spending under control. He will have to find a way to fix Medicare and Social Security. And he will have to take responsibility for the next terrorist act inside the United States.
As for the rest of us, we'd better see to our own affairs and try as best we can to prepare for the economic problems that will engulf us.
November 8, 2004
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.