In the weeks after the election, there has been a lot of thought into why President George W. Bush won. We’ve all seen the statistics from red states such as Ohio, Wyoming and North Carolina that show most people voted based on what they call “moral values.”
In fact, some think Bush won in many states because of same-sex marriage bans that were added to the ballot.
This is why I think that Bush is a superhero. He is the Incredible Hulk, or the Silver Surfer or maybe even Superman himself.
Now, a point of clarification: It’s not because I like the man. Bush is a superhero because he now represents “us.”
Bush and his campaign of moral values won because they represent the ideal of the United States. More than half of citizens who voted thought Bush represented family values and traditional “American” values. He will bring our values back, one thought goes; or he will save the sanctity of the family, dictates another.
But, one has to ask, what really are “American” values?
Can’t really say they are family values. More than half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Bush, the Republicans and his administration are no stranger to the institution of divorce. Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who is divorced, was a staple of the campaign. So was California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man whose family values have come into question so much that movies have been made about them.
What does this all mean? Bush and the Republicans give us an idealized view of the country. They use the kitsch of “traditional America” to get people to vote for them.
Vote for Bush and your family life will get better. Vote for Bush and we will return to the good ole days of U.S. values. Vote for Bush and the family will become whole again. These ideals transfixed 51 percent of the United States on Nov. 2. They came out to vote for a return to the “real” United States.
And why not? Why not vote for positive change? Why not vote for a move to take back the family?
Because Bush’s “American” values only represent one side of the story. They don’t allow for the adaptations that value systems and cultures make over time. They don’t take into perspective the families and values of other cultures and identities. Bush’s identity of our culture leaves out those people who have become a majority in our country.
Instead of making the United States great through traditional values and morals, as he claims, Bush is taking the things that make us great and tearing them down. Without diversity of opinions, cultures and values, the United States would not be the nation it is.
We were built on differences. Judeo-Christian values did not build the rail system that allowed for national expansion. They did not build the financial infrastructure that allows us dominance and power in the world. They did not create racial, ethnic and sexual equality.
Universal morals and values did. And they had nothing to do with Bush’s traditional views on family, religion and culture.
Chris Kallal is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]