Well, it looks like Bush won.
Kerry supporters are really hurting today. And they are suffering some unpleasant shock too, because the exit-polling was so off-kilter. Try to be nice. Don't gloat. Give them some time to come to terms with it.
I know how they feel, because I went to bed last night convinced that Bush had lost. It felt pretty crummy. In fact it was the worst I've ever felt about something that didn't directly involve me or a relative.
I felt so bad for two reasons: first because I was horrified that an American presidential election could be controlled by a billionaire, a propagandist, and a dishonest press. It shook my faith in our democracy. And second, I was horrified that America could vote for an unrepentant traitor to his country to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
But Kerry supporters have contrasting beliefs about Bush that are nearly as frightening. They believe Bush was "selected not elected" in the first place and that the election was swung by a conspiracy of Swift Boat Vets and Karl Rove using dirty tricks to defeat Kerry. And they believe that Bush "lied us into" an unnecessary war that has been a disaster, that led to the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands. If I believed those things, I would be pretty upset too.
I'm hopeful that the Bush hatred will subside now that it's over. Bush has one more term and cannot have third. There is little incentive to continue all the anti-Bush propaganda. Hopefully, people will calm down over the next few months and will view things with a bit more perspective. Without the constant hammering the conspiracy theories will fade away and people will start to realize that the actions of the Swift Boaters are very hard to understand if they are lying, but very easy to understand if they are telling the truth. Iraq will hold elections and it will become clear that a good thing is happening there. And someone will point out that it was Al Gore who made the previous election a matter for the courts and the Democrats who have always celebrated Supreme Court activism.
But for now, give them some room to grieve.
Next week, you can gloat.