I pulled the lever for Freddy Ferrer on Tuesday. I know that he didn’t run a very compelling campaign and that Mayor Mike (as the billionaire-everyman likes to be called) has done a pretty good job. He is also much more appealing than the astoundingly bigger-than-life Mayor Rudy Ego whom he succeeded. I’ll confess it, had Abe Lincoln or Fiorello LaGuardia been on the ballot, my fingers still couldn’t pull down the lever in the line headed Republican. So I didn’t really vote for Freddy, but against the party of George W. Bush. I was not alone in that. I’m sure many in New Jersey (where I grew up and first voted including a vote for Cliff Case a Republican) held their noses and helped elect Jon Corzine governor. Not that Corzine is a bad man – he’ll probably make a very good chief executive, but the campaign was despicable one load of garbage after another, an embarrassment not merely for the Garden State, but for America and democracy. There was of course a sad consistency in this election that transcends my voting for Freddy. Why couldn’t I find a Robert Rubin running for mayor of my great city instead? Why couldn’t I for once vote for someone who excited me, someone who gave me a reason to really vote yes when I was voting no? But that's another story.
With regard to where we are, I’m not sure we have yet turned the corner in this country, that my fellow citizens are finally waking up. Polls exhibit massive displeasure with the administration which is both faulted for its policies and no longer trusted. But the Democrats can’t crow, because while considered more honest, they aren’t held in high esteem. Let’s face it, the state of our Union and the people who lead it is not good. Scratch that, it’s horrible. And we still don’t see anyone in the administration or out of it (that includes my party) taking responsibility. Ahmad Chalabi is back in town and being warmly greeted by his good friends Dick Chaney and the neocons. They don’t really like him that much, they belatedly claim, but hell he is a high ranking official of the sovereign government of Iraq so what can you do? The lesson here is that liars in office are still liars, but they are our liars. That’s a relief.
I pulled the lever for Freddy Ferrer, but George Bush will be sitting in the White House for three more years – so much for the power of representative government. Jimmy Carter has written a new book suggesting that this administration has broken from all of its predecessors regardless of party (that includes dear old Dad) in disregarding international agreements, in its aggressive unilateral foreign policy and in breaking down the Jeffersonian barriers between church and state. We are all suffering for these departures and thousands are dying in their wake. The casualties in Iraq, our own and theirs must be laid at the doorstep of this misguided high noon shootout with weapons of truly substantial, if not massive, destruction. People in Africa are getting and dying of AIDS because we’ve stopped funding condom use based solely on religious grounds, not science or modern medicine. It’s bad enough that they want our children to be disinformed about how we all got here; it’s a crime to be culpable in these avoidable deaths.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Senate of the United States held an impeachment trial for a President who lied about his marital infidelity. Don’t expect to see it hold one for a President who probably lied (unknowingly of course) about why he was taking the country to war or a Vice President who may well have been the key player in outing a CIA operative. But what do we do about an administration that uses 9/11 for its own propagandistic purposes and that in the name of fighting a war against terrorism has in fact undermined your and my security? I pulled the lever for Freddy Ferrer. Perhaps he didn’t deserve it, perhaps Mayor Mike should have gotten a non-partisan nod from me, but if either one of them wonders why, let them look south to the banks of the Potomac. My vote just couldn’t support that.