Off The Record: How to beat the post-election blues

November 08, 2004|HERB BROCK

Last thoughts on the 2004 election, written on the back of a tear-stained Kerry for president bumper sticker:

KERRY BACKERS BLUE IN RED STATES, TOO... As it became obvious to the major TV news organizations late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning that George W. Bush had won re-election, cameras captured faces of John Kerry supporters that were longer than the candidate's. (A lot of the anchors were just as sad, but that's a whole other column or 10.)

The pictures came from the blue states. But there were a lot of long faces among those of us in the red states who also voted for the Massachusetts senator. And for us, it will be much more difficult to rebound. At least the folks in the blue states have millions of friends and neighbors to lean on. A lot of us in the red states have to go blocks, even miles to find another like-minded liberal.


But there are ways we blue people in red states can treat our malaise. Here are just a few:

* Realize that Kerry did carry Danville High School. He won 61 percent of the vote in a mock election.

* Send DVDs of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9-11" as Christmas presents to conservative family and friends.

* Send copies of "Pinnochio" as birthday presents to Bush-loving family and friends.

* Watch videos of Bill Clinton's 1992 and 1996 inaugurations.

* Volunteer to work in the "Hillary in 2008" campaign.

* Break the sadness by humming the FDR campaign theme song, "Happy Days Are Here Again."

* Install a chip in your TV blocking the Fox news channel.

* Send e-mails to Rush Limbaugh telling him how you strongly support his personal prescription drug plan.

* If none of the above or other efforts to break out of the blues work, ask George Soros to establish a 527 to pay to move us to a blue state.

FLAWED EXIT POLLS OVEREMPHASIZE POLITICAL STEREOTYPES... When I was scurrying around Danville Tuesday morning checking on turnout at the polls, I stumbled across an exit pollster at the First Christian Church. The woman was asking people who had just voted if they wanted to participate in a poll that a polling company had been commissioned to do for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and The Associated Press.

I thought it was kind of neat that two Danville precincts were among thousands across the country that were part of the national exit poll. It became less neat when I learned later in the day that the poll results or how they were being reported was very misleading, if not totally flawed.

For one thing, most of the polling was done in urban areas and the majority of participants were women. No offense to city residents or the smarter gender, but a lot of people live in small towns and rural areas, and about half of us are male.

But the main objection I had to the poll and its reporting was the emphasis placed on how many participants selected moral values as their No. 1 issue or concern. This immediately was interpreted by the major media as the reason why Bush was re-elected. They didn't use these words but their remarks could easily be translated as: "right-wing, homophobic, Bible-banging evangelical Christians were the major force behind the re-election of the empty-headed, messianic idiot who thinks he's on a mission from God."

This spinning of the exit poll results just reinforced our national obsession, fed daily by the major media, with stereotyping different political constituencies. Stereotypes are based on some truth, I agree. But they tend to put people who are more complex than their stereotypes into boxes - boxes political pundits and media types want to keep us in.

For instance, there is a perception among more than a few straight people that all a gay person does is have sex with members of the same gender 24 hours a day. By the same token, there is a perception among more than a few liberals that all an evangelical Christian does is roll in the aisles of his or her church 24 hours a day.

There is more to a gay person than his or her sexual orientation, and there is more to an evangelical Christian than his or her religion. Believe it or not, there are many gays who vote Republican and even a few evangelical Christians who vote Democrat. There would be a lot more in either category if Republicans didn't seem so hell-bent on bashing gays and their issues and if Democrats didn't seem so hell bent on bashing evangelical Christians and their issues. Many of them share the same concerns on many issues of the middle class, including the economy and war.

To put this stereotyping matter another way, conservative Republicans seem to view all liberal Democrats as pointy-headed intellectuals, while liberal Democrats seem to view all conservative Republicans as empty-headed religious zealots. The conservative Republicans believe they are morally superior and believe liberal Democrats can't get into heaven, while the liberal Democrats believe they are intellectually superior and believe conservative Republicans can't get into Harvard.

Central Kentucky News Articles