The recent Presidential election was neither a mandate for empire nor a signal to impose a set of values on an empirically diverse world. If it was revolutionary it was also defensive in character, but in the way of Midway and Stalindgrad; a kind of turning of the tide. The passage of the gay marriage ban in eleven states occurred in the same election that rejected the candidacy of Alan Keyes. It is not that most people wanted to thump a Bible, it was that they didn't want to be thumped at all -- least of all by a synthetic political correctness. The rejection of gay marriage cannot be understood except in relation to the social activism from the Left, any more than a Warsaw barricade can be explained by a sudden desire to pile domestic possessions in the middle of a roadway without glancing at the Panzerkampfwagen VI rattling down the street. The Left still can't understand why people won't get with the program. The Daily Kos articulates the point succinctly:
Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks.
Take off your blinders and listen to your betters. They will condescend to speak more loudly and slowly next time, so we had better listen. The Daily Kos says elsewhere:
It's over. For now.
I voted for George Bush.
I am not a redneck.
I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass.
I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.
I am not a homophobe.
I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.
I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.
I do not bomb abortion clinics.
Even in the field of national security, the recently concluded election was ideational rather than personal. It has been said that John Kerry never stood for President in any other capacity than as the abstract 'anyone but Bush' candidate. But this characterization cuts both ways. To a large extent President Bush himself represented the 'anyone but the Peace Movement' candidacy. If Kerry was the anti-Bush, Bush was the anti-anti-Bush, the anti-antiWar candidate. The candidate of action as opposed to the candidate of self-recrimination. Just as the Right united the Left, the Left united the Right. A great deed -- perhaps doom is the better word -- lies behind us and its consequences both bind and free us. We are on a field of victory on which there will be many partings. We have come together and will diverge again. But not from the same point. The events of the last three years make it much more likely that we will move into a world where attitudes toward marriage will still change, but not at the bidding of a handful of judicial activists; where Muslims will be free to worship Allah, but not free to carve up anyone who happens to disagree; where people can fly in freedom, but not into buildings. It seems little to ask, but it is oh, so much.