Oh, goodie. MORE Bush.

So, yes, Bush won the election. People are angry, depressed, and confused, which is completely understandable – his approval ratings were below 50%, he oversaw an illegal and massively unpopular war, and is still overseeing complete chaos in Iraq, he has pissed off virtually every progressive group out there in some way shape or form, and the bozo still won.

In the course of the last three days, almost everybody I know has said one or more of the following: “I want to move to another country;” “I can’t believe people are so stupid/so right wing;” “What will it actually take before people realize how bad Bush is?”

I think it is important to note that almost ALL of you have said one of these things. Bush is AWFUL. You have all come to this conclusion. You are not stupid, you are in fact absolutely right. But I want to refute these as concisely as possible.

First off, yes, escaping to Canada does sound nice, not only to get away from Bush, but because they have things like, say, national health care. But we cannot stop Bush by running away from him. The Vietnam War was ended because people in the US were out in the streets demanding withdrawl and US soldiers were refusing to fight. The civil rights movement was won because people right here DEMANDED equality and an end to segregation. We have not become a more progressive nation (and believe me, it is actually more progressive than it was several decades ago) by people from other countries saying how bad the US is. We have fought in the past, and we have won in the past, and to keep from being completely defeated, we must mount the fight again.

Second, I do not believe Americans are stupid or inherently right wing. As I pointed out, virtually everyone I know hates bush. Although he won, we have to remember that first, across the country, the race was fairly evenly split and second, still only half of the eligible voting population actually did vote. Therefore it was only about 25% of the population who wanted bush, and some of them even voted for him because they thought Kerry was even more right wing.

Third, you can’t beat bush by running Bush Lite. When given a choice between the real thing and a copy, people are going to go for the real thing. Kerry went out of his way to appeal to the bush crowd, most of who were going to vote for Bush. It’s a losing strategy. If he actually had run a campaign based on platforms that were in direct opposition to Bush (as opposed to, say, giving him 18 standing ovations at that disgusting state of the union address), he could have won this election hands down. But the debates came down to back and forth and circular bickering about who was going to hunt down and kill the terrorists the best. And so people wonder what the point is.

I think people have more than realized that we need to stop Bush-ism. But an alternative is not clear. The Democratic Party used more of their resources to bash Nader and keep him off the ballot than to go after Bush. The media either ignored him or put him down. People who were not paying close attention to his campaign could easily draw the wrong conclusions.

Bush winning is absolutely the fault of the democrats and their “electability” strategy. They told the left to vote for Kerry, not build an alternative, and now are trying to blame society for Kerry’s loss. This is complete hypocrisy. If we actually had built a fighting alternative instead of channeling our efforts into the appeasement party, we could have won.

Most people have an interest in a livable wage. Most people have an interest in affordable health care. Most people have an interest in their civil liberties and human rights. Bush is in direct opposition to all of these things, and it’s hard to miss this. But Bush and Kerry don’t want us to think we can build our own alternative – that would challenge not only the two-party system, but would actually challenge the very nature of our political and economic system itself. If we thought we could run our own society, we might try to – and that’s a scary thought for them. How many people know that the Republican Party actually started out as a third party?

It was the party of Frederick Douglass and the Abolitionists. They refused to work for the populist, pro-slavery party of Democrats or Whigs, so they started their own party.I would argue never to give up hope. When in the past century, have we had the most success? When have we won the most? In the 1930s we won almost all of the labor rights we have today. In the 1960s we won out of Vietnam, the civil rights movement, women’s reproductive rights, the Environmental Protection Agency and Endangered Species Act, more labor rights, etc. And what time periods did these two decades follow? The 1920s with the depression, and the 1950s with McCarthyism! The best politics in this country over the last century directly followed potentially the worst two decades the American left has ever seen!

So it is not only that we CAN fight back and win, but that we MUST. And that starts right here, right now, with people like us. There are many of us all over campus currently organizing that fight. Come to a public meeting of the International Socialist Organization, entitled “How did Bush win? Where do we go from here?”Wednesday November 10th at 7:30 in Lafayette 100.