We have always had to make a choice come election day. And American's have historically been very quiet about that choice until shame was heaped upon them by the Bush campaigns and his religious right supporters. Suddenly whether you were Republican or Democrat became about whether you believed in Jesus or Darwin. Whether you were educated and snobbish, or Christian and for the people. Whether you were bad or good.
Political debate is a long standing tradition in the United States and we have been known to carry it on long after the election but almost always in a good natured way. Following the Supreme Court appointment of G.W.Bush as president in 2000 there was a deafening silence. And a real fear. Which was only magnified after his actions following 9/11. Those whispering in the corners were seriously afraid they would be sent to Gitmo for any criticism of the Bush policies.
So when the 2004 election rolled around those opposing him were virtually silenced in the media and in all conversation. To vote for Kerry and against GW was to vote for the terrorists and for the Muslims that want to "destroy our Christian Nation." I kept thinking of the Salem Witchcraft trials. Something inside of me was literally scared I would be burned at the stake. I cut off all contact with my Republican friends and with anyone that attended a Christian Church. Yes, there were and still are people that do not fit into these two categories. Bush really lost the 2004 election. The majority of the people of the United States voted for Gore. And there are those that believe because of electronic voting machines with no paper trail that Bush cheated himself into office in 2004.
The result was that most of us believed we were powerless over his machine and those backing him. We were suddenly not people with a different opinion but WRONG, BAD, WORKING FOR OUR ENEMIES. The list goes on. Bush has succeeded by the end of the 2004 election in complete polarization of the United States (assisted by our electoral college - winner take all system) and divided it into Red States and Blue States.
po·lar·i·za·tion (plr--zshn) KEY
- The production or condition of polarity, as:
- A process or state in which rays of light exhibit different properties in different directions, especially the state in which all the vibration takes place in one plane.
- The partial or complete polar separation of positive and negative electric charge in a nuclear, atomic, molecular, or chemical system.
- A concentration, as of groups, forces, or interests, about two conflicting or contrasting positions.
And some positive things are being done:
- Electronic voting machines with no paper trail are being replaced.
- Many organizations like CNN are holding many open debates with the candidates
- 87% of the American people are really upset with the political process
- More voters are getting involved in the primary voting process
- Candidates are standing up and demanding a positive and not a negative campaign
- The clamor for change is building