Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Licence needed for work use Learn More
Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Sam Smith: Media Myths And Conservative Tears

Media Myths – And Conservative Tears

From's Undernews - Editor Sam Smith



George Bush won a mandate in the election


- A switch of 14 electoral votes would have made Kerry the winner

- A switch of 68,242 votes in Ohio would have made Kerry the winner

- A switch of 1,75 million votes nationally or roughly 1.5% of the turnout would have made Kerry the winner.

- The total number of electoral votes of states that gave Bush a "mandate," i.e. a lead greater than four points: 220. Needed to elect: 270

The right way to put it is that George Bush won an extremely narrow victory over John Kerry


THE ELECTORATE is far more in tune with progressives than with conservatives on issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq, according to an Institute for America's Future post-election poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Today's data shows that a majority of voters who returned President Bush to office believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Kerry adviser and Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said that Bush succeeded in making the election about something other than his performance, and won the battle over which issues drove voters' choices. "These voters were waiting for a different kind of election focused on economic issues and they didn't get it," said Greenberg.

A majority of voters said that the country is on the wrong track by a margin of 51 to 41 percent. Voters said that the war in Iraq has made us less secure, not more secure by 49 to 45 percent. Voters favored preserving the Social Security system and guaranteeing current benefit levels over allowing individuals to invest in private retirement accounts by 57 to 40 percent. Voters favor fundamental reform of the health care system by a margin of 72 to 24 percent.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.



WAYFARER - I am an ex-Southern conservative. You can say, 'oh, Aja, you're nothing like them,' but I am. I see my Southern Baptist upbringing in myself in countless ways every day. All the things that people claim to love about me are things that spring directly from a very strong Christian, faith-based childhood. I may not have read the bible every day but I know my sunday school stories, and I never ever doubted as a child that, yes, Jesus loved me. I seek forgiveness everywhere, forgive whenever I can, and still struggle with not having forgiveness from certain people for things I have done, because forgiveness is a cornerstone of my background--as are a really detrimental leaning towards submissiveness, a penchant for fried chicken, and a really annoying reflex tendency to see bad things and think 'ack, end of the world!'

It starts with the fact that we as conservative Christians are taught to see America as our land. I mean, you guys in Europe and the loonies on the East and West Coasts think the Founding Fathers died to bring us religious freedom. They so did not. They died to give new Christianity a place where it could flourish. And if you think that Catholicism was flourishing perfectly fine before that, thank you, then you don't understand conservative Christianity. See, I grew up being taught that Catholicism was almost-sort-of-not-quite-but-we-won't-talk-about-it cult. Really. Lots of Southern Baptists believe Catholicism is a cult, despite the fact that it is the largest practiced religion in the world. If you understand that we can believe that about Catholicism then maybe you can understand that American Conservative Christian values don't necessarily fit into any kind of historical, cultural, or anthropological perspective. They never really have.

Conservative Christians are taught all our lives that we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare. . . he World is evil and sinful and wants to persecute Us. It is Our job as Conservative Christians to don our armor and wage war against the World. . .

Conservative beliefs do not spread because of ignorance. You must understand this. Conservative beliefs spread because of a need in the conservative church to emphasize that if you are not fighting, you are losing the battle for spiritual warfare. And until you have been out there battling the forces of evil you don't really understand how every day events can be magnified to fit into a larger picture of a tapestry of events being orchestrated by Jesus to lead us on to a higher victory. . .

If I were still a conservative Christian I can tell you exactly how this election would look to me right now. Kerry is an immoral man of the World, and I thank God that Bush, a man of clear moral integrity who is out to defeat Satan regardless of the forces that stand in his way, has been blessed with victory. He didn't win the election--God chose him as the leader of this nation.

That is how I would view this election. And that is not a stance that would make me ignorant, stupid, bigoted, or homophobic. Because I read just as many newspapers then as now. I was valedictorian of my high school. I was open-minded and tolerant. And I was always pro-gay rights from the time I made my first gay friend at age 9.

I was trying to be the best Christian I could be. And I cast everything in a structured world, where everything was a question of what I was doing in my walk with Christ, and whether I was being persecuted.

In fact, I just remembered: a key mantra of Campus Crusade was this: If you're not being persecuted for your Christianity, then you're doing something wrong. . .

It took me, from the moment I began questioning the principles of the Southern Baptist church to the moment I absolutely decided to leave the church forever, 8 years. 8 years of constant questioning during which I was the conservative who was living by all those principles. And the issue that both initially and ultimately made me leave was the same: gay rights. Had I not felt that the Southern Baptist church was wrong on gay rights initially, I would not have really questioned anything about my belief system or my values. . .

When you blame the voters who chose Bush, you are completely mistaking what is happening in our country today. Bush did not win the election based on ignorance and stupidity. He won the election based on a belief system that has been determinedly advancing across the country because Christians believe it is their spiritual duty to bring people to Christ. And you cannot be successfully brought to Christ until you also commit to serving Christ. You cannot successfully serve Christ unless you do his will. And it is Christ's will that Bush win re-election. Do you see the pattern at work here???

You guys, you democrats and liberals, have a tendency to blame the people rather than the ideologies they represent. It is my belief that people's lives are shaped by ideologies. But people's lives are changed by other people. My life was shaped by the ideology of the Southern Baptist church. My life was changed when I met Jerry Boles, who died of AIDS in 1994. My life was changed when my best friend came out to me 5 years later.

I grew up in a place and in an environment that makes it impossible for me to accept the idea that Bush voters are all stupid and ignorant and simply uneducated about the facts. . .

Today [my mom] wrote me, and this is a part of what she said:

"I just wanted to drop you a note to say hello and hope you are surviving the day. I know you are very disappointed about the election, and I wish I were there to comfort you, though I'd probably wind up just upsetting you more. . . All I can say about what you wrote the other day and about the vote is this. George W is not the first one to lie, cheat, or whatever. Politics has been a crooked, shady business since it began. Republicans are not worse than Democrats in any way. . . As for Granny fussing about Bush and how much she doesn't like him, she has said the same thing about every president that has ever held office. She may be right, but it just shows not many of them are better than the last or the next one. Any way, try not to live your life devastated by what goes on in Washington. I don't have your eloquence with words and I never learned how to argue, so I can't say much more on the subject. I guess the best way to put it is get over it and get on with your life. I need to go. I will be back in touch with you later in the week. Watch your mail box! Bye! I Love You! MMMMMMNNNNNNHHH!!!!!!!!!! Love, Mom"

That's my mom. That's my conservative right-wing republican mom. Who thinks my best friend Chris is a great guy and doesn't want him to get married to his boyfriend. Who is distressed by my political views but still tries to support me through an experience she knows is heartbreaking. Who, when I told her I didn't believe in hell, responded, "Well, you'd better believe in it!" My mom who is the sweetest most wonderful, giving and gracious woman I know, whose views and lifestyle represent everything that led Bush to victory. My mom who fully supports the war her nephew is fighting in.

Is that the face of the Enemy?

I would like to think that my mom, and every mom like her, is not the face of the enemy. I would like to believe that she only needs to be brought around by more conversations and more exposure, a person and a conversation at a time, to a better understanding of how her own values are being contradicted by the political spectrum she subscribes to.

That's how I was brought around. A person and a conversation and an experience at a time. Despite the best efforts of my church.


NOV 8, 2004

SINCE 1964, Washington's most unofficial source
1312 18th St. NW #502, Washington DC 20036
202-835-0770 Fax: 835-0779

subject line

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Top Scoops Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.