Many of those who twice voted for President Bush and supported him these past 5 plus years are now starting to have doubts about the man and his ability to steer the ship of state in the right direction. I’d like to offer some pointers to those people on what to expect from here on out.
First and foremost, you’re going to get called a pussy. A lot. Prepare yourself for that. The ones doing the name calling will be the very ones you’ve defended for many years: the Vice President, Rumsfeld, Bush (though he’ll imply that you’re a pussy more than just come out and say it).
Second, prepare to be frustrated when talking to those still under the sway of the administration about issues like Iraq, the deficit, and the war on terrorism. They’ll repeat arguments they’ve heard on AM radio and they’ll quote long-debunked evidence about who had what with what intention. They will argue loudly and angrily in order to convince you and themselves that they know what they’re talking about. Just remember that being right about something doesn’t mean people aren’t gong to yell at you.
Third, you won’t be able to yell at people anymore. You could but it’s harder now that you’ve seen nuance in the issues. You won’t be able to sum up your thoughts on with a slogan or a saying like “post 9-11” or “fight ‘em there so we don’t fight ‘em here.” The world is a complex place and the solutions to its problems don’t fit neatly on a bumper sticker.
Fourth, don’t be afraid. There is a lot of comfort, albeit false, in simply assuming you’re right about something and calling it a day. That comfort is lost when you express second thoughts. If faith—belief in something despite lack of evidence–is good, than doubt must therefore be evil, one reasons. But doubt and skepticism lead to questions, questions lead one on the path to answers, and answers save the world more than sitting on one’s high and mighty ass believing he’s right does.
Fifth, you’re not giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Starting a war against a non-Al Qaeda country while letting the actual Al Qaeda supporters have a chance to regroup has given more aid and comfort to the enemy (which is Al Qaeda, btw) than “I think I’ll vote for the other guy” ever will.
Sixth, you’re not a hypocrite. Just because you no longer support the administration as fervently as you did five years ago doesn’t mean that you’ve somehow betrayed your previous self. If you don’t believe in them anymore it could very well be their fault and not yours. Like when someone cheats on you. They’re the ones who did it. Sure you can go through the list of things you could have done differently, but in the end it’s their lies and their decision, you could get really pissed about it or you could just get over it, move on and learn for the next time.
It won’t be easy now that you’ve put down the Kool-Aid and stepped away from the table, but it will be better. And the fact that you’ve taken this first step gives me hope that we can, together, work to make the world a better place.