AMERICA—THE TIE THAT BINDS
The purple-faced partisans are hopefully beginning to morph back to looking normal. Ideology aside, the American people won during this election. The cordial telephone exchange between the President and John Kerry, and Bush and Kerry’s rallying speeches directed to all Americans, should serve to make people proud to be an American and proud of the process.
It seems that in the end, the rhetoric-makers and dirty tricksters, all part of partisan politics, lost, and democracy won. Of course, that’s easy to say, since our guy came out ahead.
And, it wasn’t just at home that the rhetoric was turned up. The rallying cry heard round the world was ‘defeat George Bush.’ Yet, an overwhelming majority of Americans, the largest in U.S. history, voted him back into office.
John Kerry, in his concession speech, said, “In an American election there are no losers because we always wake up in America.” And, the President said, “We have one country, one constitution, and one future that binds us.”
We are Americans first and Democrats, Republicans, and Independents second, or maybe fifth, or tenth, if you consider spouse, parent, sibling, employee, etc. How far down the list is our partisanship, really? It defines such a small part of who we are. We are Americans—first and foremost. Evidence— 9/ll.
Did John Kerry lose? He may have lost the election, technically, but many of the issues his supporters believed in and fought for are well noted, no doubt. But, clearly, Kerry was disconnected from the heartland. When you saw the sea of red covering the U.S. map, it was hard to believe the President could lose. Then, it all came down to one state, Ohio. The pulse of the heartland, where the majority of consumer products are tested, I suppose, because Ohioans are typically so, well…….American.
The pollsters were pretty dead-right on Ohio being THE swing state. But, what about those exit polls? Examine them, beat them to death, sue them, examine them, heck, do whatever you want with them. The fact is……. polls aren’t an exact science. It didn’t take a pollster to tell me Bush was going to win West Virginia. Every car positioned in front of me at a stop light had a Bush sticker!
Then, two days before the election, we were told West Virginia was deadlocked. Still there was no sign of people ripping signs off their cars or tearing them out of their yards. Outcome—West Virginia chose the President by 13 percentage points, ahead of Virginia, even! And, this, in a 3 to 1 Democratic state.
Although pollsters aren’t exactly on people’s “most trusted” list, they probably go with politics like peanut butter goes with say, bananas. Still, even though the exit polls were totally skewed, and the liberal bloggers jumped the gun on them, they have value in an election.
I suppose if the American people were the winners in this election, the media were the losers. To say the mainstream media has lost credibility with many Americans is an understatement. Their biased reporting was shameless, with some reckless and a few ridiculous antics from the likes of personalities like Dan Rather and Katie Couric, among others.
Granted, Dan and Katie are two of the more visible talking heads, but there are a plethora of irresponsible media to choose from—the networks, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and, unfortunately, West Virginia's tiny Charleston Gazette.
Have they forgotten about responsible journalism? Maybe they should take an oath like physicians, “to do no harm.” Despite the Charleston Gazettes’s best effort, West Virginia still went for Bush. But, there were days when it was painful to read the paper. Make that, painful to throw the paper in the trash. And, in a small state, the state’s largest newspaper can have a serious impact. There would be days when there was nothing but gut-wrenching liberal editorials and op-ed pieces.
I hold up the Gazette only because it is my hometown source of frustration. But, this happened in newspapers and on television stations across the country. It should be a national outrage. Not just because it’s liberal, but because these so-called journalists are stealing people’s opportunities to form opinions based on factual data.
I realize editorials open a Pandora’s Box of opportunity for papers to spew their particular brand of vile partisanship. But they could certainly throw in an opposing op-ed piece more than once in a blue moon.
Webster defines journalism as “the collection and editing of material of current interest for presentation through news media.” The problem starts when media pick and choose the “collection and editing of material” based on personal perspective. When the vast majority of journalists are liberal and they are the ones doing the picking and choosing regarding what the rest of us see and hear, how fair can it be? It isn’t fair and it isn’t honest. Somehow, we have to hold their feet to the fire—on blog sites, in letters to the editor, and any alternative means we can find.
Had we listened to the media, no doubt, John Kerry would be the next president. And, while that certainly wouldn’t have been a crushing blow for America, (maybe just a gut-kick for die-hard Bush fans) America would have lost. But, America looked away from the media, the entertainment industry, and hundreds, if not thousands of 527 ads, to find its own truth. And, for that reason, coupled with the graciousness of the candidates, America won.