"The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America, and the God-fearing underpriviledged minorities who voted George W. Bush back into office," Karl Rove, senior advisor to Bush, told reporters at a press conference Monday. "You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you."
I love the Onion and the Daily Show not simply for their wit but for what else they bring to the table: an insight sharper and more telling than conventional news outlets. Most everyone has seen the electoral map of the United States showing the Red Zone. The interpretation of this map has frequently suggested a rift between middle America and the East and Left Coasts. But this state-by-state map obscures where the true schism lies: between rural and urban America.
Check out this map from USA Today showing how the voting went county-by-county to get a truer picture of the two Americas:
Compare this map with a US Census Bureau map of population density by county. The vote by county map is a sobering reminder that the Republicans, with a Cabinet full of petro and defense company directors, with a track record in the current term of tax cuts to the richest Americans, and of allegiance to corporate interests, has persuaded rural Americans of their fitness to lead primarily by running on a platform of moral superiority--the moral superiority of an Executive lying to fight an unjust and illegal war, showing contempt for the lives of Iraqis and indifference to the lives of its soldiers.
As the inauguration draws near, I still have trouble reconciling myself to the election result. The young Mr Bush elects not to go overseas to join his compatriots in Vietnam. Perhaps that's sensible. So he pulls a few strings and is stationed with the National Guard, but he doesn't even show. His opponent chooses to enlist, fights bravely overseas, is decorated for his conduct, then returns home to testify on the immorality of the war. The Bush camp has the audacity to criticize the manner in whch Kerry was awarded his three purple hearts. And it sticks!
As Stephen Colbert 'reported' on the Daily Show regarding Rathergate, CBS committed two critical errors in breaking the story on Bush's questionable National Guard service record: one, they presented dubious evidence of that spotty record, and two, they bothered to present any evidence at all. The new paradigm for news reportage is presentation of mere opinion and innuendo rather than evidence and cogent arguments.
For a credulous populace that seeks guidance from religion, arriving at the truth requires only a leap of faith, not an act of reason.