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Elephants on parade

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, November 15, 2004

America has spoken, hopefully with better grammar than her president, who has won a second term in office. For many Americans, President George W. Bush’s victory represents the triumph of family values and Texas home cooking over marauding bands of liberals, formed from alliances between gays and welfare hungry crack whores. For others, the election outcome represents the abandonment of any pretense at social responsibility, multilateralism in foreign policy or a good vocabulary.

Exchanging sarcasm for melodrama, this election has been one of the more depressing events of my lifetime. (Give me a break. I grew up in the suburbs).

America has shown her preference for the black and white, and I’m not talking about her alleged fondness for Michael Jackson songs. The nuanced positions of Sen. John Kerry, particularly in regard to foreign policy, simply did not translate to voters who didn’t research the facts behind the Republican spin.

The ever-controversial issue of gay marriage, however, did. Personally, I believe that as God created homosexuals (a statement recognized by the Catholic Church), it is certainly beyond my or your jurisdiction to deny them the rights provided by a civil union. (To make life easier for outraged televangelists and/or senders of hate mail, my e-mail address is at the bottom of this column).

The prominence of this issue in Bush’s campaign was brilliant, particularly the clever subversion of the phrase “civil union” in favor of the term “gay marriage,” which was much more likely to stir up the ire of the religious right. He was able to ride the moral high horse, and pose by it on his ranch in various ads, in order to falsely imply that sanctioning a civil union would interfere with the religious sacraments of churches. And Karl Rove’s evangelical vote came through, in droves and on buses, making their mark at the polls.

I don’t want to pretend that there are no positives to four more years of Bush.

He does have great hair.

He may also be able to implement important medical liability reforms, alleviating doctors’ insurance premiums, and so lowering the costs of medical procedures for all Americans. Whether or not he accomplishes this task remains to be seen.

Over the next four years, Bush has the opportunity to validate the choice of conservatives in this country. He also has the option of giving me a great chance to say, “I told you so!” I never claimed to be mature.

So far, I’ll try not to lambaste him too much. Attorney General John Ashcroft has resigned, which can only be for the good of the nation. Whether his replacement, Alberto Gonzales, who described the Geneva Conventions as “obsolete” when referencing atrocities at Abu Ghraib, will prove to be a better choice remains to be seen.

While I doubt he’ll outdo Ashcroft, I am skeptical of his selection.

A little less than half of voters in this country are watching Bush.

Many of those who voted for him are as well. This term is his chance to create a legacy, and anything could happen. Perhaps, now that he is no longer forced to pander to the far right, he will be able to unite, rather than to divide the nation. Or maybe a second term, an unelectable vice president and a Republican Congress have given him carte blanche to do anything he pleases.

For the next four years, I am prepared to watch these elephants fly. And, despite my preference for John Kerry, for the sake of our country, I hope they soar.

Katie Boyle is a senior English political science and Spanish major. She supports the Democratic Party. She can be reached at kboyle2@nd.edu.

The views of this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Observer.