Weeks have faded since the presidential election, and many progressives are still trying to cope with the reality that George W. Bush will reside in the White House for another four years. However, some good came from the election: antiwar senators won re-election; Bush narrowly won the election, which may force him to be more responsible in his second term; the fact that many young people voted for Kerry; and Bush?s re-election will only force progressives to unite and work harder. Though Bush is claiming he has a mandate in his second term because he won the popular vote, he only won the election by a few million votes. The country is divided, and roughly 55 million people voted for John Kerry, who the Bush campaign dubbed as one of the most liberal of U.S. Senators. Bush did not win the election by a landslide, so he does not have a mandate. Much of the country is not even satisfied with Bush?s policies.
With the country so divided, Bush may have to watch his policies. He may become a lame duck president. In the first four years of his administration, he was rocked with scandal, especially surrounding the war, the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that erupted over the summer.
The scandals that plagued Bush?s first four years in office have made the American public more skeptical of the statements his administration makes. Though Bush gained American support for the war in Iraq initially, he lost this support as the war continued because no WMDs were found in Iraq, and American lives continue to be lost daily in the war-torn country.
If Bush wants to do anything drastic in the next four years, such as invading another country, hopefully Americans will continue to be skeptical and dissent against such action.
The direction young people voted in the November election was also impressive and a positive sign.
Over 50 percent of young people voted for Kerry, the only group that had a majority vote for Kerry. In the future, young people will be running and shaping the country, and the way young people voted proves that George Bush?s policies are not favored by youth. Young people will have the chance to shape and change the country in the future.
Those who voiced their opinion against the war in Iraq also won reelection.
The seven Democratic senators that voted against the war in Iraq won re-election by a landslide: Barbara Boxer of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Pat Leahy of Vermont, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Hopefully, their statements and votes against the war, along with their landslide re-election victories will be a message to other Democrats to stand strong against the Bush Administration.
Perhaps the most positive aspect of the election is the energy on the side of the left and the passion activists now feel. George Bush?s re-election and a GOP-controlled government are a wake-up call for activists.
There will be several protests in the next four years, and there?s already a call to protest Bush?s inauguration on Jan. 20. It will also be a time for art, music, and genres of writing to thrive, because artistic expression is a powerful form of activism. Activists will be busy over the next four years, and movements will only grow and flourish.
Many may still suffer from post-election depression, even though Nov. 2 was weeks ago, but progressives cannot afford to mourn for four years. Despite the major losses that came with the election, some small victories were won. Anti-war senators won re-election.
The majority of youth voted against Bush, and now the passion and importance of activism will only grow.
It will be a long, worrisome four years, but activists and progressives must unify and act against whatever dangerous policies the Bush Administration may introduce in the years to come.
Brian Fanelli is a junior majoring in comparative literature with minors in creative writing and journalism.