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State of Shock

By Noah Brier

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of essays from anyone who feels like writing one about the election. If you want to share, email me at writing@noahbrier.com.

I was just told that Kerry officially conceded. I’m proud of him for doing the right thing and not dragging this out. That would have only made this whole situation worse. It’s clear that Kerry didn’t have the numbers he needed in Ohio, with or without provisional ballots. So now it’s all over and George W. Bush is the 44th president of the United States of America and I’m stuck here trying to capture my emotions at the moment of impact (a term that seems strikingly fitting).

Let me begin by saying that I believe this is the biggest disappointment of my lifetime. I am more political today than I have ever been and I just witnessed my party lose what many called the ‘most important election of a lifetime.’ I’m having a great deal of trouble finding the words to describe how I feel right now. My walk to work this morning was a slow one as I tried to find some positivity in what happened last night.

At least Bush has to try to clean up his mess now (something I believe he has no shot at achieving). At least he can’t run again (unless he gets enough new judges in the supreme court to overturn those pesky term limits). At least . . . nothing.

I just can’t believe that so many people can disagree with me. George W. Bush is a man that I see as an unquestionably awful president. I believe he has hurt this country far more than he has helped it and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to recover from the damage he’s done. Clearly, though, a majority of this country (at least a majority of voters) don’t see eye-to-eye with me. To them, George W. Bush represents the strength that a president should have. He’s the man that climbed on top of the rubble with a bullhorn and promised to go after the people that were responsible for that terrible event and make them pay. He’s the man that had the balls to go in and take out Saddam Hussein, a man everyone agrees is quite evil. He’s a cowboy and a Christian and clearly he has what people like in a president.

I was there that day. I watched the buildings fall out my window and I don’t want it to happen again. I don’t want any generation to have to see what I saw that day. Unfortunately, I believe the way we’re alienating the rest of the world under this president is setting us up to be the most hated nation in the world. (Even more hated than we are already.)

It’s all just hard for me to swallow. I’m not a cowboy (nor am I Christian, for that matter). I believe that gay people should be able to get married if they want and that Muslims have a right to be Muslim. I worry about how the rest of the world sees us and I don’t believe in striking first. I didn’t vote for George W. Bush because I want to be proud to be an American. Right now I’m not. I believe in the ideals of America and I believe that this president has turned his back on them. With that said, I can’t stand that I’m part of a nation that reelected a man that I feel so negative about. I just don’t understand what I’m not seeing.

I’m in shock.

Noah Brier is a professional journalist who doesn’t know what to say.

November 3, 2004