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>WTF Ridge?!

>2004 Presidential election. Just having moved back from Washington DC, and spending some time in El Paso, Texas, I decided to move back home to New Mexico, specifically Roswell, New Mexico a very VERY, conservative town. It was election year and it was finally time to get the Bush administration out of the White House, and put our country back on track. My interests in politics were slightly on the obsessive side and in my early and mid-twenties were, what some would say, slightly over the top. But like many progressives, I did not trust Bush and his administration. We believed he had stolen the election in 2000, we wondered why the hell he sat for 7 minutes at a children’s school in Florida on 9/11, we were totally against the invasion and inevitable war in Iraq, very much against the terror and scare tactics of the administration and its continuous fear mongering and absolutely sick of the “if you don’t vote for us, you will die!” politics. (whew!) In 2004, it was time to put an end to all of this.

While John Kerry was not the quintessential ideal candidate, I felt that he was the right person for the job as POTUS and the best person to dethrone George W. Bush from his self appointed and stolen position as President of the United States. But we also knew it would not be easy. Early on in 2004, I was led to the Chavez County Court house to pick up some voter registration forms. It was time to get people registered and ready for a fight in November. In addition I joined the Chavez County Democratic Party and began my volunteer work. It was here, starting in the summer of 2004, that battle began.

It was definitely not easy. I mean seriously, we’re talking about a county populated by people who were mostly republican and if registered democrat, were moderates, large percentages of retirees, many…you guessed it, Veterans. No one in their right mind was willing to vote against Bush. Why? Because there was a war on terror that needed to be won and we couldn’t win with John Kerry. The reason was plain and simple, while John Kerry did serve his country in Vietnam, people believed he lied! On or around August 12, 2004, just a few days after the Democratic convention and a huge poll jump for John Kerry, the Swift Boat smears began. Here was a group of Vets being used by conservatives, to basically come out and say that they were with John Kerry in 1968, and countered Kerry’s claims of heroism and that frankly, John Kerry was a liar. How could I go door to door, to residents of Roswell, New Mexico, with the smear campaign all over the news, keeping John Kerry from winning the election in November!!

John Kerry went to war, Bush did not. In fact, Bush pretty much was AWOL during Vietnam and yet Bush was considered the most qualified to protect our country? Why would we elect a new president when we were facing threats from terrorists? The US was under extreme levels of terror threats!!…Or was it?

One thing us progressives and crazy liberals were accused of back in 2004 was this notion that we were conspiracy theorists. That anything that came out of our mouths, when debating against the policies of Dubya, were pure fiction and rightfully false. We could never win and we were seen as crazies and our opinions were never taken with validity.

It’s been almost five years to the T, in which we saw poll numbers for Kerry drop significantly after the Bush administration announced the terror threat would be raised, coincidentally soon after Kerry’s convention speech (which had given him a huge bump in the polls) and then again right before the 2004 presidential election. There were those of us progressives that were seriously pissed because for us it was not coincidental. It had to be freakin intentional! We believed that the Bush administration was very much manipulating the war on terror in an effort to stay in office. Our theories were seen as ridiculous and we were asked to STFU. In November’s presidential elections, we lost.

Today, 5 years later…we find out that we were in fact duped. In fact we have found out that we were right all along.

According to the Associated Press,

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election.”

When I read about this this morning, I was not only stunned but heartbroken. Like many of us in 2004, we were seriously committed to our purpose of getting the right person into office. We needed a president that would make the necessary changes to put this country back on track. We needed to end the terrorizing our communities, to end the war in Iraq and to bring back our stature as a reputable democracy in the international world, but instead, we were left with four more years of Bush and a very broken country. What is more disheartening is that Ridge, just a few weeks after the election in 2004, decided to resign. Did this man not have a conscience? Did he not see how wrong this was, to not only be misled by his own boss, but then to lie to the American people? Why come out now? Why do it this way? It’s easy…money. He’s got a book coming out and this sells.

What is interesting now is that when we finally get our shit together by electing Barack Obama, “WITH A MANDATE”…we have protests from the other side. Just 5 years ago we were ready to get the hell out of dodge. We were dealing with real issues. We were confronted with a lack of leadership and intelligence. However now, when we think we’re going to accomplish some goals and fix what was broken, we now face protests for all the wrong reasons. The same people who supported Bush in 2004 and believed that he would protect them from the threats of terror, are the same people protesting today on health care and other domestic issues that can really change the course of our lives for the better. When will they finally realize that they have been misled all this time and they too are being duped by the conservatives? What will it take for them to trust the POTUS, who right now is the person to put this country back on the right track?

Yes, we should move on from the past and not keep bringing up “old shit” (as Smokey says on Friday) but in order to move forward we have to learn from the past. Had Ridge told us early on in 2004 what we had suspected all along…so much of our country’s problems might have been prevented. Even those protesting health care today, might they have thought they were seeing the real deal then, perhaps today they would in fact, see a real big mess!

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 27, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    >I agree, there are political tactics that are used to gain the upper hand, especially when it comes to elections. As for Tom Ridge's comments re:raising the alert levels to gain votes (increase of fear = no change), it's a tool that he can publically STILL use not only for monitary gain but also cultivate upcoming conservatives on what tools to use. Are we liberals his necessary target audience? Who will be the first to line up and get his autograph, read and learn from his book? You got it! No tiene verguenza, and it may be that he is trying to save himself just like Chenney. Unfortunately, Bush and legacy will have to live with the fact that he was an incompetent president with a VP with a major strangle hold on the White House/ policies. I'm sure Ridge is trying to either save his neck and/or reputation with further information coming out of the Justice Department. (Keep me posted Angelica)Unfortunately, money is a driving force when it comes to policy and currently money is being invested once again on fear; instilling fear to oppose change in our health care system. There are those that are open to discussion and debate, there are those that are set in their ways and will not change thier views no matter what information is provided. What we CAN do is be informed, have discussions with folks and actively participate to make change happen. By NOT getting involved in these discussion and not calling our representatives we are ultimately NOT making change happen.

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