Sunday, April 04, 2004

Time for self belief.

The missus and I were at a wedding of a pair of close friends this weekend. It was a wonderful affair and I was able to catch up with some old friends and meet some cool new people. The tenor of the group was decidedly liberal (most were graduates of the College of the Atlantic, an environmental and human ecology school on the coast of Maine) and many folks there are active in some way in efforts to make the world (or our interactions with it) more benign. This was a collection of intelligent, interested, and motivated people. The men wore their beards with conviction, and the women wafted an aroma of cruelty-free beauty products. With my George Orwell haircut and geography teacher duds, I did not externally resemble these later-day flower children and back-to-the-landers, but my values were the same. This made it very easy to talk politics. With each conversation I had with any of my fellow guests, everything was going swimmingly until the November election was mentioned.

Without fail, my conversation partner would say; "I am afraid about the presidential election."

We are eight months out from polling day. John Kerry has survived a potentially bruising primary season and is breaking Democratic fundraising records. The Democrats are united and energized like never before. We have a sitting president who couldn't win without cheating the last time around, ensuring that this will be the most scrutinized election in history. Bush seems to have joined "The Scandal of the Month" club, and rather than using the presidential bully pulpit to set the agenda is having to run damage control on his National Guard service, Richard Clark's testimony to the 9/11 commission, Condi Rice being coerced into testifing this week to said commission, Enron, the economy, the war in Iraq, WMDs, Haliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root, VP Cheney duck hunting with Supreme Court Justice Scalia, lies about medicare, bungled campaign ads about 9/11, and the refusual of NATO to go into Iraq under US supervision to name but a few. Supposed spoiler Ralph Nader is having a hard time getting traction. Even Republicans in Congress are having a hard time dealing with the administration, hinting at splits within the usually lock-step, goose-step GOP.

And yet, lefties of all stripes are quivering in their birkenstocks, expressing doubt that Bush can be swept from office, and ignoring the wise words of Yoda. "There is no cannot, young Skywellstone, only will not." I'm no Tony Robbins by any stretch of the immagination, but I think that there are more than a few hints that 2004 might, just might, be as big a year for progressives and pinkos as 1932.

Why 1932? Because that was the year Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected. And as the great man himself said in his inaugral address, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

So bear that in mind as the election approaches, and talk to friends, aquaintances, and even political opponents with optimism and self-belief. If floating voters are to be convinced that Kerry can win, we need to believe it too, with all our hearts. If the unthinkable does happen, the pain of being wrong will be no worse if it comes unexpectedly in November than if we half-expect it beforehand. Be a happy warrior and you'll be surprised how infectious it can be.

Besides, nothing unerves a conservative more than an up-beat, confident, and dynamic opponent, and there are few things more gratifying than a freaked out Republican.

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