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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™


NOV 2004, Sec. II

 


Main Essay:

Readers' Post-Election Reflections


Here are some post-election responses from readers of my newsletter after I had sent out an article by the NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman who expressed concerns about the evangelical drift of the country.  (Email me if interested in his column.) The range of perspective is quite broad and thought-provoking, and even international:

Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Good morning my friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don´t be sad. May be sometimes there is a way out. I hope so. Why you don´t come to
Europe. Afraid? There is nothing to be afraid or something else. Believe  me, peoples like you are everywhere welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you need a cover for some books of you, ask me I send you some pics from me and you can try this.

A lot of warm hugs

Servus from rainy
Vienna

Christine
 


Hi Mark,
 
Odd you should send this to me. And I'm glad that you did.   I had/have ambivalent feelings for both sides' remarks on so little an amount of issues  Neither party said what they intended to do.  This Election was all about personal issues as you know.   I, frankly, got tired of hearing it.  I could see, years ago, that we had no one polishing for the event.  I feel this Country was in a mess long ago.  Morale was low.  Education (which I'm in) was declining.
Heroes were no longer available. 
 
My life has seemed to be all "spaghetti stringed" in a very complex manner such as this Nation.  And I know there are millions more like me.   I listened intently to Bush's answers, comments, saw his anger when he was so overwhelmed w/criticism about killing so many.   I could feel my own rage, in a battle such as his, when you are dealing w/an opponent who "doesn't know the rules of the game."  I honestly don't think that John Kerry is as astute in war tactics as he professes. I heard/saw the early interviews of the men who hated him.  Funny how they all disappeared.
 
I have ambivalent feelings about what I truly think, Mark.  Both sides are right.   When I heard Kerry say that he would solicit the opinions of world leaders....that's the New Way.  I valued that in my first Mid-Life crisis.  Bush's views were the Old Way.  Kinda like a father of a household.  Now, since talking to my former husband & two divorcing children, I have changed my beliefs again back to the Old Way.  I don't know WHAT to believe anymore!!
 
Heaven forbid that we should change Generals & have this Country turn into the 60's again!  That's the only reason why I felt Bush should get in again.  Let him finish what he started.  He isn't a total idiot.
 
That era was good for our Country & opened a can of worms that we are still untangling.  The personalities of both candidates shone brightly in this respect.  I, too, felt that our rights will be compromised w/our current President.  And I wondered how? does a person (Bush) come up w/an answer when there is no guide or role model....do what psychologist's do....make your own rules.  Take action.  Take control.  Mark, these words are only from my deepest self (today)   When I was a Liberal, I had the same thinking patterns as John Kerry.  I see now it was a growth phase.  I'm glad George Bush will get to finish what he started.  ANd I don't see any decline in my life since he's been President.   I would feel the same way if my sons were in combat.  Bush/Kerry reminded me of the men out here who either "let it happen or make it happen."  ANd how much do we (citizens) know of what goes on behind closed doors???  Opinions/judgments abound.  I have a brother-in-law who was living w/the Shah of Iran in the eighties when this all began -- called me almost everyday, just to picture us all around the dinner table, like normal people.  Ernie was a Logistics Technician (spy?) for America;  My long-time Doctor was an Undercover Agent for NASA; -- he told me that if I "really knew" what was going on, I'd collapse!; and a life-long friend was a career DEO.  So, again I say, how much does the public know about anything???   I really don't have any hope for this Country's cohesion.  Seems to me the same as the demise of the family.  People need stability; you know that.
 
I felt the division in this Country long before our President ever was known.  Perhaps Terrorists started their quest long ago when it was published that we would destroy ourselves from the inside out.  Think they're still doing it???  I do.
 
I've told you that I had a dictatorial husband, very kind & gentle, nontheless George W. reminds me of him. His beliefs are 'written in stone' & don't ever cross him.  For over 25 years, I've vascillated between the "old way" & the "new way" - never coming to a final decision, always straddling the fence - using both ways for survival.  President Bush's religious counters from Kerry made me feel I had finally come to an end w/this - Faith is all that ever brought me thru too!  I am not a fanatical Bible toter nor do I preach anything about it.   I do think, however, that Bush personally did not bring this subject up (I could be wrong.)  I only remember the attacks from his opponent, when the other side started talking about his alcoholism.  I followed this race every day.  Don't forget: Teresa K. is from my home town. ;-)   I like her; I like him. 
 
Thomas' opinions were succinctly stated & w/my own personal daily discussions that wear me out, I am speaking to you as a friend here....not Toastmaster writing.  Just trying to unsift my own shit -- tying it into all the things that come down the pike.   I find it exasperating that people discuss the issues when we really have no input.  We have a voice but not a choice.  We had no good candidate to vote for.  We would have the freedom & choices w/Kerry but we have security & stability w/Bush.  He's just doing what we all asked & that is to "take care of THIS country" first.  Maybe dictatorship is better.  Who the hell knows. 
 
Peace!            (I'm sorry I couldn't back you on this one)
Barbara
 


Not everyone who practices a religion is a fundamentalists whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. The freedom to practice the above religions is guaranteed under the constitution. I fail to see your point about corrosion of some cherished beliefs in constitutional liberties. These freedoms apply to everyone irregardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs. I dont see any fundamentalists in the White House now. I see a Christian as a President and a leader.
 


Hi, Mark! Thank you for forwarding this article to me. It seems that we are on the same wavelength. I have been thinking about this constantly since yesterday's election, particularly while I was writing to Kerry and Edwards to express my condolences and to thank them.
    What I said in my letter is that I don't think they could have worked any harder or, ultimately, done anything different to bring about another ending to this campaign. I have a feeling that this election was decided before they were even nominated. When you look at the electoral vote, almost nothing is different from it was four years ago, which leads me to believe that we have split as a people along deeply ideological lines.

Thomas Friedman is right when he says that there are now two
Americas. There is the America of the Bush camp, which is basically composed of the wealthy and the born-again, and then there is the America of the Democrats, which is mainly composed of the educated urban elite, who have become a disenfranchised minority.
In short, there are simply more of them than there are of us, and that's why Bush won.

I think that Friedman is also right in saying that this was not an election in the conventional sense, but a showing for the home team. After four years of this  economy and the war in Iraq, it is hard to believe that no significant electoral votes changed hands, but they didn't. This election was not about issues, but about values. I have an article to forward to you in this regard.

I think, to a large extent, that this election was also about where you live. The Kerry supporters are generally northern and far western urban folks who know the value of diversity and who live and work in extremely heterogeneous surroundings. The wealthy and/or born-agains/evangelicals who voted for Bush generally live in much more isolated and homogeneous surroundings.

No amount of campaign stumping, friendly doorbell ringing, or perky campaign calls is going to change that for either camp. We are talking life styles here, not issues. What's scary is that the Bush camp seems to be proliferating. This has been in full swing since Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell in the early 80s.

I'm not sure how we're going to deal with all of this, but I can't recall the country ever being as deeply divided since Vietnam, but even then we were polarized largely around one major issue and the lifestyles, i.e., hippies, that evolved with it. This time it's all about "morals," God and America. I don't know if the Democratic Party can or should play into that base unless it wants to totally change what it stands for.

If that happens, it will be time for me to go somewhere else.  dd
 


The truth seems to be that society's pendulum has currently swung far to the right; after all, these "holier than thou" politicians are able to get enough votes to be elected. However, it is my experience that, when you get to the individual level, most folks are able to see other sides of issues - still, they may just not agree with you! I have learned the hard way that there are some subjects that are just not debatable, such as abortion rights. These opinions are too personal and too closely held to allow for purely intellectual discussion. And, no matter how many utterly-and-completely-indisputable-and-rational arguments I think I am offering, no one's opinion EVER changes.
 
I also firmly believe that life as we know it is not approaching a rapid end. The doomsday sayers have been predicting society's destruction for years now, and the form of that destruction depends on who is in political power at the time. Perhaps a positive result from all of the campaign vitriol will be working toward compromise in the name of "healing." Or, if compromise is not forthcoming, then maybe the more moderate thinkers will begin to realize the necessity of coming together with a practical and realistic agenda.
 
And, as for gay marriage, to be honest I don't care if gay people are married. Individual churches and religions would have to make their own decisions regarding the sanctity of these marriages, of course. My opinion about who is having sex with whom is that I don't care; just keep it private. I really don't want to hear casually-told details of anyone's sex life!
 
Anyway, for tomorrow, my prescription for you is to find something that you love to do and spend a lot of time doing it. Make sure it is something that restores and nurtures you, and preferably has an element of fun to it! General silliness is always helpful.
 


Thank you for sharing, "Two Nations Under God."

God isn't owned by the Republicans (even though they think this is the case).  I can appreciate waking up and feeling troubled.  The only saving grace (if that is the correct terminology here) is that he can only be in office for four more years.
I don't mind sharing my thoughts with you, but please not to anyone else.

911 was the best thing that happened to George.  As a student of journalism in earlier years, even negative press is good press.  The most astounding thing I witnessed prior to the official beginning of the war was the way the press covered the preceding war events.  A CNN reporter during the final hours of the election stated (in question form) that it would be best if JK conceded so that the country would not be dragged into another bout of what we went through last year (in spite of conflicting information regarding provisional ballots).  What ever happened to the watchdogs of the government??  The whole scenerio is just plain off.

The truth of the matter is, I voted for the lesser of two evils.  Unfortunately, this is more common in our country than voting for someone who is right and true and cares only for the best interest of the people....otherwise, we both know for sure, a social worker would win and do it the right way....ask me though, about Harry Hopkins sometime -- I had the pleasure of speaking to his son (by his first marriage).
Anyhow...it is enough that television is our worst enemy both in the political arena and in the family arena.  Television is "god" in our country as are material possessions and the almighty dollar.

I actually have considered moving out of the country though I know that is not the answer.  Did you see 911?  Watch Allezzah (or however you spell her name) -- she shakes her head in the negative while saying that there is definitely a link with Bin Ladden and Sadaam Hussein.  Who are the real perpetrators of terrorism?  Me thinks it's the blue suits who were re-elected.  Fear, fear, fear -- the all great and powerful motivator won again.

There will always be the right wing radicals who are judgemental and self-rigeous and yes, even dangerous.  However, when the pendulum swings in the opposite direction, what are the ramifications?  I am a believer that anything which is radical is radical (how is that for a Yogi Berraism??).

George W. does not belong dealing in moral issues as I believe him to be highly immoral as well as unethical -- but maybe he is no different than any other politician.
 


Marko:
 

I'm actually quite shocked that you've chosen to see only the negative side of what is truly happening to our country and the world.  I guess that must sound like a really "harsh" statement, but I see so much more in my line of work for National Security...In fact, so much more than most people ever see!
 

No, I'm not a hard-liner, but I do feel like we need to make a strong stand in the world protection of freedom and the protection of our country! 
 

John Kerry was a liar and in my mind a treasonist because of the things that he did and said to the detriment of our country.  Yes, I believe war crimes were committed in Vietnam and also in all of the other wars that we have fought.  But, I also believe that the vast majority of the terrorist related situations that have happened and will continue to happen have caused more harm than anything that the US has done to try and offer "freedom" to countries that have mass and destructive practices to their people.
 

I truly believe that everyone should and deserves the "right" to make decisions that they feel are right -- in that instance, I don't truly agree with the ultimate decisions of abortion, gay marriage, etc.  I don't have to agree with them, but I do ultimately believe that having an abortion at the point and time that a child can be viable is a sin and I also believe that a marriage between a man/man and a woman/woman is not what God intended, but should be legitimate if that is what they choose.  I don't and would never condemn people of that thought...after all, it is their right to live as they choose.
 

The Catholic religion has vastly different views on this, and as a Catholic, I must agree, because that is what I truly believe is the right thing.  I, however did NOT vote for Bush because of those issues...Those issues would not have swayed my opinion when voting.
 

However, one of the things that did touch me to my very core was an article that I read, not too long ago... (And it is legitimate - I'll send it to you from newspaper postings!)  Iranian and other Middle Eastern women were and are to this very day, soaking themselves in gasoline and setting themselves on fire to die in an effort to get away from constant rape and emotional destruction from the people that have proclaimed and do proclaim to love them...their husbands, current families and new married families.  These were family arranged marriages - Oh, My GOD - this makes me sick to my very core! The practice of "Marriage Arrangements" to better the family standing and encourage the political beliefs of families is prevalent in 80% of the families.
 

After viewing pictures of the thousands of women and children and women/children of families where women have fought against the destruction,  that would rather die from such a terrible fate as to set themselves on fire, compared to a continued life in the current situation of their marriages.  I can't tell you how much I believe that "we" as the United States are doing the right thing, even though it seems very costly, are DOING the best thing for the humanity of these people and especially the women and children of the world. 
 

I don't see any of the rulers dying for their countries...Only the women, children, young impressionable men and brainwashed people blowing themselves up in the name of Allah and in support of countries that only rule by destruction.
 

I really hate that we obviously have such greatly differing opinions in this, but honestly think that you are a gentle and loving man that wants to help people.
 

I hope that you will truly appreciate my views and also agree that we live in the most wonderful country on Earth - besides, if you didn't/don't, I could be submitted to a "nonjury" counsel that would ultimately submit me to rape, torture and death for my beliefs.
 

I am extremely passionate on my beliefs that the United States has an obligation to protect people that are less fortunate and are not able to live a life that is without certain death and destruction because of their beliefs.  I also believe that the vast majority of the people on Earth do not have a clue about the rights that they deserve!  But, they should and I believe that we "OWE" them the right to know how life can be in a truly democratic world...and I do NOT mean "DEMOCRATIC" in the Presidential sense of the word, but in the sense of a truly FREE world!
 

I guess I should say goodnight after this, because I am exhausted and quite spent of energy to say more.
 

Take care,  Donna 
 


Friends, here are some prophetic and comforting words written by Thomas Jefferson in 1798 after the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act that are amazingly prescient for our times some 200 years later.

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over,  their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt....If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."