Ford on America

Novelist Richard Ford weighs in on the U.S. election in an Op-Ed for last Saturday’s Guardian.

First, let me say that I hope I’m wrong. I was wrong about the election, after all. But, gradually, and with reluctance, I came to realise, as I watched our highest rated, longest-running reality TV show – the 2004 United States presidential election – that a significant majority of my countrymen do not share my understanding of our country’s character and my view of its moral future. The people who don’t share my view, instead, share (with many, many others) the belief that guns should be easier to get here, that the world’s environment shall suffer so our rich can get richer, that religions and government should draw more closely together and influence life and that humane scientific research should be curtailed by religious belief.
And more – that elderly American citizens should pay more for their medication, that female reproductive rights should be controlled by the government, that homosexuals are not full citizens, that the Iraq war is a good idea, the lost lives worth losing and that telling big lies to the public is the way to bring these views into reality.

I think Ford’s presentation of these issues is unfortunately not nuanced enough–He makes it sound as though the people who voted for Bush are a monolithic group who believe in each of these things rather than a more disparate bunch who feel very strongly about a given issue (say, the so-called “war on terror” or gay marriage or the economy). Rove’s strategy all along was to push specific issues that would appeal to different fringes of voters so that, combined, they helped put Bush in the White House.
(Thanks to David for the link.)


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