Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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My Two Cents

By Benjamin G. Joseloff

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of reactions to the elections. Thanks to all involved. If you’d like to add your two cents email them to me at writing@noahbrier.com.

I want to thank everyone for writing these pieces and Noah for posting them. Reading everyone’s thoughts is an enlightening and heartening process.

In reading the reactions I have found a lot that I agree with, and a few things I don’t. In the interest of dialogue, here’s my two cents.

I woke up Wednesday morning and could not believe the presidential results. Throughout this election season I was really convinced that Senator Kerry would prevail. I was impressed by his agenda, impressed by his specific points of contention with the president, and impressed by the way he campaigned and debated. When I realized that the senator would not be the next president, I was dismayed and disappointed.

But here’s where I disagree with some of the previous authors. Has the fact that more than half the people living in this country disagree with me made me embarrassed to be an American? Absolutely not. While I am afraid the president will lead our country in the wrong direction over the next four years, I still believe we live in the greatest country in the world. Call it blind optimism or youthful naiveté or whatever you want, but I believe in my heart that we, as a nation, will be able to reverse any damage the policies of this president will do. Will it all be better the second George W. Bush leaves office in 2009? Of course not. It will take time, but I believe in democracy and I believe that Americans are fundamentally good.

Does this mean complacency? Hell no. There is a reason the majority of Americans voted they way they did and I consider it a wake-up call for the rest of us to do something differently in convincing them they shouldn’t have. Unlike some of the other writers who expressed bewilderment because they don’t personally know anyone who voted for the president, I know-—and happen to be related to-—a great number who did. I will consider it my job to convince them by 2008 that the far-right agenda is not what is best for this country. If each one of us who supports center or left-leaning politics convinces one person who voted for the president, there’s no way we can lose next time.

So, I guess all I’m trying to say is that yes I am shocked, yes I am angry, yes I am disappointed. But I also believe my mission from here on cannot be one of anger and fear, it has to be one of optimism, no matter how cliché that sounds. I will continue to support candidates I believe in, I will continue to argue against things I think are wrong, and I will continue to learn about politics and the political process in order to better understand the system. But most importantly, I will continue to be proud to be an American.

Benjamin G. Joseloff will be running for president in 2028 whether he wants to or not.

November 4, 2004