Thursday, October 28, 2004

What If Kerry Wins?

If the polls are to be believed, there's a reasonable chance John Kerry will be the next president. Like about half of the more than 100,000,000 Americans who will vote in this election, I don't want that to happen. But what if it does?

The Republic will survive no matter who wins. The United States is like a humongous cruise ship. Course changes happen excruciatingly slowly, and the passengers and even most of the crew barely notice. If the captain loses his mind and orders "left full rudder" in the direction of clearly visible shoals, there's still a lot of time for the crew and even the passengers to notice, talk it over, have a few more drinks, and throw the nutty captain overboard.

But unlike a cruise ship, thankfully, in our ship the junior officers, the cooks in the galley, and even the engine room slaves have an independent say in what's happening. Chances are they'll hear the captain clicking steel balls in his hand long before he orders "left full rudder" at the wrong time, and the order will never be executed.

And in our ship, if the majority of the passengers think they would rather go to a destination different from the one the captain prefers, before too long they'll be able to hire a new captain. In the meantime, they can keep drinking, playing shuffleboard, and hoping a couple of idiots don't blow up the ship because they no longer dine at the captain's table.

For my part, if Kerry is someday sitting in the Oval Office surfing the web, comes across my blog, and thinks it might be cool to invite me in for a bit of merlot and brie, I would turn down the invitation. I don't respect him as a person, and I don't want to meet him, much less eat moldy brie. But he'll be the President of the United States, and I'll never question his right to govern or feel any lack of respect for his office.

What worries me are the idiotic sore losers who can't manage to move on in life no matter who wins. Will we have another quixotic, damaging impeachment spectacle like the Republicans inflicted on us when they impeached Clinton? If Bush wins, will disaffected Kerry supporters run through the streets throwing firebombs? If Kerry wins, will right-wing crazies slink off their mountaintops and blow up buildings? The unpleasant fact is that a tiny number of kooks can cause a lot of misery, just as in Iraq today. It would be nice if leaders of the losing party would publicly, strongly demand that their supporters respect the president, whoever he is, and get on with their lives. Unfortunately, there's probably not much chance of that happening.

If Kerry does win, one big question mark is Iraq. What will he do, or better yet, what can he do? There's an interesting column in the Washington Post on that: What if It's Kerry's War?

Note: I apologize to my sailor friends if my nautical references were goofy. I probably should have stuck to aircraft metaphors!


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