There is a kind of despair, a glamorous pessimism, that liberals must at all costs avoid. The cartography of the electoral college may show a continent of red with some blue lesions at the extremities; but the popular vote in the election of 2004 was 51 percent for Bush and 48 for Kerry, and those are not the numbers of a political or philosophical rout. Fifty-one to forty-eight: Those are the numbers, rather, of a conspicuously unclear and unthrilling Democratic candidate, whose advantage in money did not offset a disadvantage in authenticity. But the important point is that, all the healing pieties of the morning after notwithstanding, this is a country divided against itself about many matters of first principle. The diversity of worldviews upon which we pride ourselves is haunting us. In such a welter of fundamental differences, the work of argument and organization becomes even more necessary. American liberalism did not die on November 2. It merely lost an election.Can I get a witness?
Friday, November 05, 2004
From Despair Towards Hope
The cover of this coming week's New Republic maybe another gutpunch, but there are some encouraging words to be found in their post-election editorial: