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    Friday, November 12, 2004

    Looking back 

    Now that the election is behind us, and we've all had a chance to catch our breath, a few parting thoughts:

    1. The election was about the war on terror, economic issues and trust in George Bush from more than half the voters. Columnist Charles Krauthammer pretty much demolishes the idea that the results turned on moral values. Many on the left, of course, are going around today complaining that the "religious right" has hijacked the country, which I suppose means gay couples are going to be rounded up and thrown in jail. But if you ask many Bush voters what they mean by "moral issues," they are likely to tell you they think the nation has been hijacked by a "progressive" elite who don't care that public entertainment has become a sewer, that there don't seem to be any ethical standards anymore. They woke up one morning, and the rules had all changed, but nobody asked them for their opinion or vote. That's what elections are all about -- which set of ideas rule the nation; we each pick our set and work for our candidate.

    2. There is a lot of anger and bewilderment out there among the left, and until this fizzles out, people in that camp frankly aren't going to be good for much of anything. Until they finally get it -- that they have lost touch with average Americans and need to examine their approach -- they're just going to flounder in impotent rage. They need to get over it, so they can perform the function that's left for them as the loyal opposition. Their honest critiques are needed, their imformed dissent, their passionately offered ideas (rather than mere whining that the current administration "has it wrong"). Maybe this sounds harsh, but I speak from experience. This is the kind of getting over it I had to go through when Bill Clinton won a second term.

    3. Finally, a plea to the winning Republicans. Don't get too arrogant. Listen to those opposition ideas -- you might learn a thing or two occasionally. And don't drown out the voices of dissent on your own side. I know from my years on an editorial page that people who argue about ideas tend to build themselves an echo chamber in which our own voices get louder and louder; it gets harder and harder to hear opinions voiced by people outside the chamber. If you don't make a little room for disagreement, for the vetting of opinion that a healthy argument can bring, then the crazies on your side will take over, and you will lose next time.

    Thanks to all who put up with my rantings and ravings for the last few months. Free-Fire is going to shut down for now, but we might just see you again some time as our mutual search for truth continues.

    Bye for now,

    posted by Leo Morris at # 4:27 PM


    On the left: Carol Towarnicky, chief editorial writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, from a liberal point of view.

    On the right: Leo Morris, editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, from a conservative point of view.

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