The Loyal Opposition

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Yesterday, John Kerry said this about his phone call to George Bush:

"We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need -- the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together. Today I hope that we can begin the healing."

Then, in his speech, the President spoke of unity, too:

"To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

I spent much of the day raging against that sentiment - what the hell is so great about unity? is the thought that kept crashing through my head. After all, they're wrong, and we're right and it was making me crazy. The anger, the frustration...

But, I'm willing to give it a shot. Those of us in 'the game' often use battle metaphors; we talk of "air wars" and "ground wars" and "carpetbombing" with junk mail and "surgical strikes" with negative TV spots. But, when I think about our friend Josh Schertenleib and his pals trying to survive real bombs and real bullets, I remember that politics isn't really war at all.

It's not war, but it's desperately important. The fights we have are about the very soul of our nation. And they are big fights. That said, though, I'm willing to take John Kerry's lead and try to heal. I'll take some time to reconnect with real life. As Evan suggests, I'll "dance, flirt, make cookies, sing, play games, hug, make mad passionate love, and follow our dreams."

A friend sent me a link to this film, called "(Didn't Know I Was) UnAmerican". She told me it would make me feel better, feel that I'm not alone. Mostly, though, it made me sad. And still a little bit angry. Dissent is not un-American. Protest is not un-American. Organizing around our ideals is not un-American.

I'm willing to try and heal, but the right-wingers gotta go first. You got the power, you got the votes, it's your turn to be magnanimous.

Show me something, anything that hints at healing and unity.

So, bring it on. Or, before we know it, we'll be back to Bring It On.

  • pat hayes (unverified)

    Hi Folks...

    and while John Kerry is playing nice in the sandbox and sharing toys Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Richard Scaife Mellon, and the rest of the VRWC will continue to rip us new aholes at every opportunity.

    In the overwought language of sports we're in worse than a rebuilding year. The AD, the coaches and a majority of the players need to go so that we can add to our fan base.

    Think we can talk Paul Allen or George Soros into building a new stadium ?

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

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    Grover Norquist wrote in The Washington Monthly, September 2004, about the death of the Democratic Party. It's sobering because the roadmap for the Partie's destruction is outlined in his piece.

    Today's NYT business section laid along side of Norquist's predictions tell us what is coming. It ain't gonna be pretty.

    I see no sense of healing until radical right wingnuts leave the Whitehouse. If we were dealing with moderate Republicans I'd be the first to reach out.

    We've got to find a Democratic Gov in a RED state to be our next Democratic presidential candidate. Any suggestions?

  • Adam (unverified)

    Of course both parties have to say they are willing to work together, but for the most part I think it's an insincere offer on both sides. Each party's base won't allow for much collaboration and compromising.

    Besides, Bush has all the votes in Congress he needs. He doesn't really have to consult Democrats at all to pass one sided legislation.

    The religious right wants some red meat and they are going to get it out of this new Congress.

    As an environmentalist, I'm really afraid for what is going to happen to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and especially the Endangered Species Act. There's nothing to stop major rewrites of those laws now. It looks like we'll have a return to a war in the woods. Enviros aren't going to get a hearing on anything in D.C. The only option is to take to the streets and to the woods.

    Our best hope is that some of the more moderate Republican Senators from New England will keep the rest of their party from jumping off the deep end. Part of me hopes they talk some sense into their party, but another part of me hopes they take the plunge and over-reach, so people can finally see how extreme their environmental agenda really is.

    Bright spots include the passage of a renewable energy portfolio standard in Colorado, and the election of Brian Schweitzer in Montana, who is in favor of promoting renewable energy there. Combined with the rest of the world's implementation of Kyoto and carbon trading, it might be enough to accelerate the growth of conservation and renewable energy in spite of the Bush Administration's attempts to slow it down in favor of continued focus on subsidizing fossil fuels and opening up the Artic Wildlife Refuge.

    We should start collecting signatures for a renewable energy portfolio standard in Oregon. Activists need something positive and hopeful like that to campaign for, rather than just launching another defense of our main environmental laws that probably won't be successful this time.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    But Kari, you were "willing to take John Kerry's lead" that there were WMDs in Iraq, and he was wrong, and you were wrong, because TV lied to you all, and you did not dispute it and inspect Iraq and verify WMDs there -- and thousands upon thousands of people are DEAD over it. Where you were "willing to take" it.

    The TV is lying again. What part of you are hypnotized don't you understand?

    Okay, here's an suggestion for testing my hypothesis that you (all) are addicted to TV. Just quit watching. Addicted means you can't quit. 'Willing' or not.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    And, Kari, the "Bring It On" 'before you know it' has already happened.

    Bush to reporter: "Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people"

    From President George W. Bush's November 4 press conference:

    REPORTER: Mr. President -- thank you. As you look at your second term, how much is the war in Iraq going to cost? Do you intend to send more troops or bring troops home? And in the Middle East, more broadly, do you agree with [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair that revitalizing the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political issue facing the world?

    BUSH: Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions [laughter].


    REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. How will you go about bringing people together? Will you seek a consensus candidate for the Supreme Court if there's an opening? Will you bring some Democrats into your Cabinet?

    BUSH: Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people.

    Media Matters for America,, Posted to the web on Thursday November 4, 2004 at 2:31 PM EST

  • brett (unverified)

    There's nothing to stop major rewrites of those laws now.

    Other than 44 Democratic senators, Jim Jeffords, and Lincoln Chafee.

    Good post, Kari, but I'm a little confused at the underlying attitude among some around here, which seems to be, "You won, so now you have to govern as if you were us." I'm all for unity, peace, harmony, and baking cookies, but there should be a little glimmer of recognition that there are real disagreements between blue and red, and this time, more people agreed with the red side.

    Government is still divided; as long as there are at least 40 Democratic senators, filibusters will stop any major legislative initiatives or radical Supreme Court nominees. Roe is not going to be overturned, pollution is not going to be legalized, and life as we know it will go on. But, make no mistake about it, there will be movement to the right in tax reform, Social Security reform, and in other areas. That's what it means when you win an election.

  • Jenn (unverified)

    The will of the people? Hardly. It made me ill when I listened to that press conference this morning. As seen by the vote, the entire country is divided. Having half the people vote for you (many out of fear after they admit that they are not happy with your job performance) does not qualify as the true will of the people.

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    If Bush gets Iowa and New Mexico, he will have received the lowest percentage of electoral votes since Wilson. The popular vote shows half of the country voted against him.

    Half of the country isn't going to sit down and shut up!

    Stop with using the word mandate...there isn't one.

  • cab (unverified)

    Bush is using Faith based reasoning. This arrogant this early is chilling.

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    Nor does 'winning' on grievous election irregularities in key electoral states, qualify as the true will of the people.

    We're the most technologically-advanced country not only in the world, but in the history of the world. Somebody prove to me we can't run a fair election in that country, and then I'll think about healing, about reaching out.

    Until then, I survived 12 years of Reagan/Bush until I got the chance to thrive during the Clinton Era, so I can fight, and win, by any means necessary, for as long as it takes.

  • (Show?)

    Brett, you wrote I'm a little confused at the underlying attitude among some around here, which seems to be, "You won, so now you have to govern as if you were us."

    No, I don't mean that they should govern like Democrats. Rather, if they really want healing, there needs to be an understanding that it was 51 to 49. Not 60-40, not 70-30, and certainly not 90-10. Just 51-49.

    That means, if they want healing and unity, that they'd better govern like it. Otherwise, I'll just break out my baseball bat again. I'm pretty good at it.

    Prediction: Unity and healing will disappear instantly, when Rehnquist dies/resigns and Bush appoints a right-winger as chief justice. [If he wants healing, appoint Sandra Day O'Connor. But, he won't.]

  • Colin Boeh (unverified)

    Fuck "unity." I'm ready to riot.

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    (I was going to get into this precise subject in the comments to my post from last night, but I see there's an even better place for it now. Here's what I wrote over coffee this morning.)

    "The Republican Party is a permanent majority for the future of this country," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said Wednesday. "We're going to be able to lead this country in the direction we've been dreaming of for years. ... We're going to put God back into the public square."

    -- Newhouse News Service

    It's positively ludicrous to think that I or anyone else should engage in some kind of national "healing" ceremony with these people, or with anyone in the GOP who refuses to fight Delay and his ilk for a more reasonable party identity. There should be no expectation -- from Republicans or Democrats -- that our responsibility is to make nice.

    There can be no making nice with people who lie to go to war, exploit national tragedy to grab law enforcement powers waiting on the shelf for more than a decade, refuse to believe in the legitimacy of science (stem-call research, global warming, etc.), consider gays and lesbians to be second-class citizens, and conduct national policy in secret.

    Again, I must remind everyone: Fifty-five million people said "no" to all of that. Being on of them my responsibiltiy is to do at least my fair share to ensure that their "no" continues to echo -- resoundingly -- throughout the next four years.

    (I should say for the record, that Delay's comments prompted by first outburst in the wake of the election. It came in the form of repeatedly pounding the offensing paragraph with my first, upon the bar at downtown Stumptown, while yelling, "F*ucking Tom Delay!")

    While the editoral board of The Oregonian phoned in from Bizarro World to say that some for of making nice is even possible, let alone warranted, they are overshadowed (or at least should be) by Steve Duin's no-nonsense and outright rejection of any such reconciliation.

    Many in the GOP, I have little doubt, will to their damnest to call it some form of unpatriotic near-treason, but for the next four years the responsibilty of Democrats to see that everything they do and say is informed by one simply mantra: Fifty-five million saying "no" is not a mandate.

  • the prof (unverified)

    Mandates are whatever the winning party makes of the election. There have been many close elections in this country, and sometimes the ruling party is able to implement its program, other times they are not.

    My intuition, after reading the post-election spin and seeing the Democrats already starting the internal bickering is that Bush is going to roll over Democrats for the next year. So he does have a mandate. The main reason is that he has something that he won on, and the Democrat alternative was one big nothing.

    For those who say that 51% is not impressive, try a thought experiment. How poorly do you think Bush should have done (given the war, the economy, his approval rating)? Now, how well did he do? What do you read into that gap? Could it be that many voted for Bush even in the face of those many negatives. This may mean that his resevoir of support is far deeper than you realize.

  • ctrl-z (unverified)

    "I'm willing to try and heal, but the right-wingers gotta go first. You got the power, you got the votes, it's your turn to be magnanimous."

    You may as well ask a bully not to kick you after he's knocked you down. What is healing? Is it a finding of common ground? Where is it? Are we to agree that abortions should return to backrooms? Are we to share in the bigotry of discriminatory marriage? Gutting Social Security? Abandoning civil rights because of 19 hijackers? Torturing prisoners?

    These people are going to try to cram their agenda down our throats. Making nice or asking them to be 'magnanimous' won't cut it. We need to fight.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    Let's see ... try a thought experiment. How poorly do you think Bush should have done (given the war, the economy, his approval rating)? Now, how well did he do? What do you read into that gap?

    Bimbo Dubya should have done poorly. He was helped to do well, meaning, mainly, the media gave him thick favor-framed coverage keeping out unfavorable coverage, (e.g., he's a military deserter, no statute of limitations, and can be charged -- no coverage). Many voters voted for their media picture of Dumbo, a fictional person who should not do so poorly as the real Dumbo collecting votes -- if such a fictional person existed. The real Kerry should have done well, and even with many voters voting for (or against) the insulting media picture of Kerry he did do well, and collected more votes than Dumbo.

    But TV reported Dumbo collected more votes. What do you read into that gap? Answer: Vote fraud.

    Experimenting with my thoughts results in this question: What in that gap between reality and report is NOT vote fraud?, or, Why do you NOT see vote fraud in it?

    But then, my thoughts includes such knowledge units to work with as: 1.) Real paper-trail punchcard ballots exist which have not been counted, enough in Ohio to refute the false report and affirm the true reality that Kerry collected more votes in that state. So, I say, let's look at them and count them. The media does not say that. What do you say; the punchcard ballots don't exist? We don't have to argue values or media perceptions or personal psychologies to settle the question of whether 100,000 punchcard ballots are sitting uncounted in unopened boxes in Ohio. But we do have to have the media go there and send out the picture of the scene. 2.) The burden of proof is on the claimant to prove the vote count valid, not on the inert electorate, (balloting procedures are works of neutral bureaucracy, after all), to prove the counting fraudulent. Produce the ballots. If there is no paper trail to show claim with, that loss is the claimant's shortcoming to remedy. Not having a paper trail makes the winner's claim more illusory, it does not make the claim more veritable. 3.) The vote count is fraudulent. It is not a true count. This administration and today's media fictions have established a pattern of being fraudulent, and this false vote count fits in that pattern. From Dumbo's military service fraud, and cover-up, to the Fla.2K vote fraud, to the 9/11 hoax, to the unsolved anthrax letter murders and false cases elsewhere 'solved' with false arrests, to WMD lies, (You do know and agree that Iraq invasion pretenses were fraudulent, don't you?), to the whitewash 9/11 Commission report fraud, to the earpiece-assisted debate fraud, to the blocking of voters from polls and the boxing of votes that got through, which is, in my way of thinking, a fraudulent vote count.
    4.) In personal ways of life people each gathered their own sense, preliminary to the election, of what was abroad in their scope of the land. What their family and friends felt and thought of voting, what the scuttlebutt at work said, what the news reports they saw said -- and the photos of Kerry crowds compared with Dumbo crowds showed -- and memories everyone has of the idiomatic thinking of the people in the places where we have been. Human nature connects patterns of information and extrapolates those patterns beyond the personally familiar venue. With more or less accuracy in individual speculations, depending on personal circumstances, but overall a collective average accuracy. The false vote count disagreed with everyone's expectation. Those who expected to win cannot understand how they lost, and that hole in mental understanding is a debilitating, self-doubting, depressing condition. Those who worriedly expected to lose shirk any effort to understand how they won, and that elation thrill completely fills their mental space and thoughts, crowding out time to reason or think about why their forecast was wrong, (heck, crowding out the memory of even making their forecast, nevermind that it gave them faintheart and worry. The flimsiest 'I'm just lucky' or 'I deserve it because I'm greater than others' is about as much reason as they stand on.) So the fourth proof that the vote count is false is that it is impossible for everyone to be collectively wrong with inaccurate projections from whatever understanding they held. And conversely, there were many insiders 'in the know' who expected -- and made contemporaneous note, that the vote count was going to be a fraud, and so their forecast was accurate and came to pass. Further, they (and others) are delivering tangible evidences both from before and after the election which were the instruments and artifacts in place and used to commit the fraud in vote counting. The method of the crime left its evidence that now is in exhibit, (the latest updates 'at this point in time' appear to be collecting at the black box voting website and in its links).

    Could it be that many voted for Bush even in the face of those many negatives.[?] No. In a word. This may mean that his resevoir of support is far deeper than you realize. It is slippery to say what thought experiments can get me to realize -- 'deep' or 'thin' -- that's all speculative. It is more natural (lowest energy state, path of least resistance), to think you are deluded seeing things that ARE NOT in evidence than it is to think I am (we are) blinded not seeing things that ARE in evidence. I do not doubt, or, I do realize how deeply you keep a reserve of support for President Fraud and Gang Of Psychos (GOP) social engineering -- deep enough to sink and drown your common sense in, and only when that sense is deadened to be set to hear, or, disabled to not hear that Dumbo is a fraud and Republican imperiousness is clinical psychosis, (faith-based illogic or irrationality, so-called 'Napoleon complex'). Know that I realize the far depth you go -- criminal fraud and immoral homocide -- for the base of your support for 'Bush'. That doesn't change that fact that you are supporting a fiction and a fraud. The spirit that you support, and that supports you, is not who Dumbo is. Your ideal may be righteous. This actual Dumbo is not it. In your presents it appears you will take what you can get, even by theft, and will feggedabouddit any fanciful 'ideal' along the lines of liberty and justice for all, let alone any more perfect union, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, or securely blessed posterity.

    So many voices here say they cannot understand how Dumbo won, and go on saying they feel challenged to review and rearrange their understanding, perhaps needing to discard some thoughts being called into doubt. People, people, it is easier and it is true to add to your understanding that there are mentally deranged persons in the world -- miscreants exist -- who commit crime, and cheat, for their own advantage. Selfish persons especially often. Your understandings are true, people; now add an understanding that crimes exist committed by criminals, which are frauds, and that you encounter such things some times. If a thief takes your silver -- see the thief; don't imagine you could have picked a different pattern that was thief-proof. If a card shark stacks the deck and you lose -- see the cheat; don't imagine you lacked having the right lucky charm. And when election officials and this administration announces false vote counts, and has hidden uncounted ballots -- see the fraud crime; don't decide your gained knowledge fooled yourself.

    Finally, I have a parallel story with Randy Leonard's story of suicidal leaps to a conclusion. There was this nature boy in the country who visited the city and saw a stage magician saw a woman in a box in half. The audience gasped and applauded. Nature boy concluded the woman had been murdered in front of his eyes and for his paid admission. So he left the city and climbed a tall mountain and threw himself off it to die, rather than live with the thought that he had been civil and accessory to immoral sin. The moral of the story is that you and I know he saw a magic act, it was a trick, the woman was not truly sliced in half, Dumbo was not truly elected. But he decides to sacrifice our proud and brave young citizens to die as if he were. Somebody should have explained 'power crazed' to the naive.


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