Luke Melia


November 4, 2004

Standing. Fighting.

From The Nation’s website, Katrina vanden Heuvel says “Stand and Fight”:

But this morning, we woke to a country at war with itself–as well as Al Qaeda. As America fights Islamic fundamentalism abroad, progressives are re-fighting the Enlightenment here at home. (The two new Senators from Oklahoma and South Carolina are leaders of our homegrown Taliban.)

And we should be thinking about the indispensable work of resistance. We need to identify legislative and administrative choke points where Bush’s initiatives can be blocked, and make clear to both legislators and their constituents that the days of go-along in the interest of non-partisan comity have to stop.

A tip of the hat to Snappy the Clam for pointing me to this piece.

The strength of the resistance should not be misunderestimated. More votes were cast against George W than against any sitting president in history. His first administration saw the largest anti-war and anti-convention marches in our history.

The urban vs. rural breakdown of this election could not be more stark (see this county-by-county image from USA Today). It’s striking to me that the vote breaks down like this despite there being no true rural/urban difference on bread and butter issues. (The only exception I can think of is that urban centers are far more likely to be the targets of a terrorist attack.)

That the electorate breaks down along these lines is encouraging to me. It suggest that the war at home is truly is about enlightment and education, about tolerance and exposure. Another way of expressing the breakdown might be cosmopolitan vs. provincial. Cosmopolitan (defined as “pertinent or common to the whole world”) is the most likely direction for the mind of every American. The world is getting inexorably smaller. Martin Luther King said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” (speech, “Where do we go from here?”, August 1967)

I’m still not what best way to react. I tried some escapism yesterday. Messed around with WordPress, played some beach volleyball, went to see I Heart Huckabees. Those were refreshing diversions from the pain. But the hours wear on, the pain is less, and the fear for our future grows. In the face of that fear, it becomes clearer that I have no real moral choice. I can’t run from a fight I know we can and will win. My part in this history is to stand and fight.

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