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Even My Friends?

By Jarrett DeMent

Editor’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of reactions to the election. Thanks so much to everyone that’s gotten involved and sent me their thoughts. If you’d like to add your own email me at writing@noahbrier.com.

I have been reading a bunch of reactions to this past election.  I
have also talked to friends, family, coworkers and just about anyone else who wanted to talk.  I have received invitations to move to Canada or New Zealand. One thing that can be said about this election is that there is plenty
to talk about.  I’m not going to talk about how disappointed I am.
I’m not going to talk about how W’s crazy eyes scare the hell out of
me.  I’m not going to talk about how I’m 0-2 in presidential
elections.  I’m not going talk about how when I woke up on Wednesday
and found out Kerry was losing, my first thought was, ” goddamn
redneck, bible belt, southerners/Midwesterners, with 3 teeth, mullets,
and belt buckles the size of dinner plates, voting because of their
religion!!!  Get you damn religion out of my government!!!” I am going
to talk about how this election has affected my friendships.
Prior to this election, I had no idea I was friends with so many Bush
supporters.  (I call them Bush supporters rather than Republicans
because, while I supported Kerry in this election, I do not consider
myself a Democrat.  I don’t want to label them Republicans if they
were just supporting Bush.)  I was disturbed by this discovery.  I had
no idea that people who I considered close friends did not feel the
same way I did.  Granted, I don’t expect my friends to agree with me
on everything.  I don’t expect them to agree with me on every
individual issue.  I didn’t even expect them to believe Kerry was the
right man for the job.  I just assumed that they would have to agree
that Bush was the wrong man.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not ending my friendship with these
people.  I am not that type of person.  Although, my view of them has
changed.  I can’t look at them the same way.  It’s not a bad view,
just different.  There is always going to be this thought in the back
of my head, “how could you vote for him?”

The part I don’t get is why they supported Bush.  I attend a small,
liberal arts school in central PA.  None of my friends are CEO’s of
major corporations, nor are my friends very religious.  Actually, most
of them aren’t very religious at all.  I can’t figure out why they
would support Bush.

It’s possible I’m letting this get to me too much but I can’t help
it.  Think of a time when a friend of yours has let you down.  I feel
like all of these people I know who voted for Bush have let me down.
Hopefully I can control my disappointment.  I really do like these
people.  I don’t want to lose their friendship.  I hope that in the
next few weeks, I can interact with these people like I used to.  But,
in the back of my mind, there will always be this feeling that they
let me, and the rest of the country, down.

Jarrett DeMent is going be a high school teacher and teach his students the things that matter.

November 4, 2004