skip to content or skip to search form

Mr. Solid Citizen and Rose

Well, the election’s over and only 75 percent of Kentucky voters thought we needed an amendment saying that the only marriages in these parts will be between one man and one woman (and that’s already in the commonwealth constitution) and that domestic partnerships of any sort are unacceptable in that they’re in marriagelike situation. I hope the wording is bad and overexpansive enough that this will get overturned quickly, but the county breakdown shows that it’s pretty much only in populous, urban/suburban counties that more than 25 percent of the population is opposed to such a measure. We’re in Campbell County with 12,133 like-minded individuals. I’m trying not to say more about this, because it’s just saddening, but I assume only some of the majority are aware of all the implications and still support the amendment. For the rest, there’s still hope.

And while I’m complaining about politics, I had a minor problem with both the concession and acceptance speeches I wanted to mention. Kerry talked about the message he gave to “President Bush and Laura,” while Bush’s later parallel-structure speech expressed good wishes for “Senator Kerry and Teresa.” What is with the weird title imbalance? Did it not sound goofy to the speechwriters? Can we blame Kerry or his people for both and say that Bush was just following suit, or do they both just really respect their opponents and their little women? Or were the honorifics a subtle irony when they’d both have preferred to be more unkind? I don’t know, but it was awfully annoying no matter what.


  1. David Fiore says:

    things are no better on this front in Michigan, Rose… What angers me, even more than the vote tallies, is the fact that these fools actually think that what they are doing promotes “moral values”. If there was ever an appropriate time to use sneer quotes, it’s right there. I think the media in this country ought to squeeze that obnoxious blemish upon political discourse until it pops! But no–they incorporate it into their polls!


    — 4 November 2004 at 2:58 am (Permalink)

  2. David says:

    NPR is making me want to self-medicate this morning as they talk to people who voted for Bush because of his “good Christian values,” by which they mean his desire to limit choice and impede individual liberty based on his personal beliefs. It’s incredibly depressing that people would consider fringe, reactionary issues more important than competence in foreign policy, the economy, the environment, education, and other pressing issues of public welfare.

    — 4 November 2004 at 1:24 pm (Permalink)

  3. Rose says:

    David & Dave,

    Yeah, I’m pretty blah about all this, though I try to not be critical of the people on an individual level making these votes. I was raised by very Catholic, conservative parents, and I know they’re smart people who pay attention to all the issues but are probably swayed more by what they consider moral issues than by the overall picture. All of their children who’ve reached voting age are decidedly liberals, so it’s not really anything we discuss.

    But really, it’s just strange to watch the two parties getting more and more centrist to the point of overlap and the culture remaining so polarized, and all I can think is that this has nothing to do with real political policy and everything to do with competing worldviews.

    I can’t believe I’m tying yet another thing into I Heart Huckabees, but watching it (and we did twice) I couldn’t help paying attention to the other viewers and wondering how many of them question themselves daily, how many really want to figure out how to take apart the world and put it back together, and I think a lot of people are locked far into rigidity and can’t bear to think. And this isn’t confined to standard Christian values by any means, as I recall a conversation back in colege with a very passionate student activist who had me explain to her the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and, when I finished, said, “So the Palestinians are the Jews, right?” She was passionate and vocal about this issue, but it was something she didn’t understand at all.

    Certainly I have a vested interest in atheist postmodernism, and I do think others would be better off if they were like me and used their turn signals even when in turn-only lanes and tried to be polite and rational but firm and self-critical in their beliefs. And it would be nice if people thought about potential implications of their decisions when making them.

    — 4 November 2004 at 5:52 pm (Permalink)

  4. Dave Intermittent says:


    You’re edging right up to the place I’ve been thinking of today. Morality is faith (even if not faith in God); faith is not susceptable to reason. But is to doubt. We’ve lost our way insofar as we’ve forgotten that doubt–humility, really, an knowledge of the limitations of our own understandings–is a virtue. Are we so sure of our convictions?

    This is maybe what freedom is: a way to enshrine doubt into the fabric of our lives. This is what we should fight for. A humble morality that seeks is fulfillment in daily life and understands its limits and the limitations of others to accept it. And you’re right: there are as many atheists in puritan clothes these days as there are actual puritans.

    Sorry if this is only sort of thought out. I’m still not quite suire what I think.

    — 5 November 2004 at 12:20 am (Permalink)

  5. Tom Bondurant says:

    I feel for you guys in the North — at least we in Lexington re-elected a Democratic Congressman. Only in the South (or southern Midwest, more accurately) could someone with the name “Geoff Davis” not face any ironic comments about the Confederate President.

    Still, I’d like to know which counties put Jim Bunning and his hideous, hateful campaign over the top. Having Mongiardo as a constant thorn in Mitch McConnell’s side would have eased the pain of Bush II, Part 2.

    The problem with the Rove strategy as it relates to conservatives is that it creates “true believers.” We liberals consider open-mindedness a strength (and so does the Bible — I just got done reading Proverbs 1-15 for a Bible study class) but the red-state right considers questioning to be a form of weakness. I hate to oversimplify, but I really think all those people who pour into the mega-churches every Sunday and learned to love GWB were so freaked out by 9/11 and the chaos into which it ended up plunging the world that they accepted that the Bushies knew more than they did — and trusted them to do the right thing, not the most profitable thing. How else can a good Christian get an endorsement for supply-side economics and naked imperialism out of the Bible?


    — 5 November 2004 at 3:43 am (Permalink)

  6. Rose says:


    I keep meaning to post on your blog and just say, “Hey, yay Kentucky bloggers,” but I haven’t had a good excuse yet. We’re in Bunning’s home town, so I didn’t have much hope for a Mongiardo win here, but a little more winning elsewhere would have been nice. Here are the CNN breakdowns if you can bear to look. And if it makes you feel better, both we and my dad snickered about Davis a bit.

    I do think both you and Dave I. are thinking in the same direction I am about doubt and certainty. I think it’s a mixture of anti-intellectualism and a certain sort of fundamentalist (and that’s not a good word for it, but I’m stretching) thinking that makes these people in moments of crisis look elsewhere for guidance and help. The two religions I know the most about are Catholicism and Islam, both of which (at least in theory) have a basic precept stating that free will and the power of rationality comprise a cornerstone of the divine plan and that to choose to not think or question is sinful. To me as a nonreligious person, in a time of ethical/existential crisis I would look to a lot of sources to be able to piece together an informed understanding of what I think is happening. I can understand the mindset that would push people mid-crisis, overwhelmed and distraught, to just find the first available mental handhold and cling to that, but I don’t understand how it can be so safe and comforting that they never want to move on at all or even open their eyes to realize they’re no longer hanging over the abyss. But a lot of this has to do with willing closedmindedness, and I’ve never known how to deal with that.

    I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, but it has always bothered me that people aren’t interested in studying other cultures. And it seems especially indefensible when those same people in Kentucky then want to know why “Middle East people all seem to be evil” and why they don’t understand us, never realizing the feeling is mutual. I know I’ll end up ranting about the same things everyone else does, that the media doesn’t educate and that the schools must not do much better or that people just aren’t interested in learning. Actually, I think I’ve come back to Dave. The problem with this is the lack of doubt. I want to learn because I know I’m incomplete, that I don’t have a full picture on anything. As far as I can tell, that’s just the human condition. But I can’t comprehend people who don’t feel that emptimess or feel it and yet think they can fill it if they just get the right gratifying emotional experience, in this case voting “righteously.” I realize uncertainty and questioning are hard, but it seems like that’s part of the way you know they’re good. Or is that just my masochistic Catholic background talking?

    I’m skeptical about the utility of mega-churches, too, but that’s probably an issue for a different day.

    — 5 November 2004 at 4:19 am (Permalink)

  7. Tom Bondurant says:

    (Yay, Kentucky bloggers! We should form a league, or society….)

    About that sense of completeness, or “filling the void” with religion — I think that’s a big part of it too. I have a lot of friends at church (I’m a Methodist) who describe their spiritual life in terms which suggest a very deep connection. They would probably consider themselves literally “filled with the Spirit.” In that way, I can see them turning to a leader who “shares their values” when everything else seems headed out of control.

    My frustration, of course, is that the world didn’t have to be this screwed up 4 years later, and we as a nation had an opportunity to exercise control by throwing the bums out. Instead, they believed the counter-argument that a Kerry administration would open things up to even greater chaos, symbolized in part by what they saw as the further breakdown of moral and social order.

    I do take comfort in the significant number of religious leaders, both in Kentucky and nationwide, who abhor the right wing’s abuse of religion and try to correct it whenever they can. We religious lefties have to be more vocal and more successful in liberating God from Karl Rove.

    — 5 November 2004 at 1:54 pm (Permalink)

  8. Rose says:

    Tom, I haven’t forgotten you, but I’m under the weather and sleeping rather than posting. I should return from the fog eventually with an explanation of why I think the movie Saved! is a better religious-political paradigm than the going trends, but this is the best I can do for now.

    — 9 November 2004 at 2:04 am (Permalink)