Why we should all be optimistic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 4, 2004

Like I knew I would, I stayed up way too late Tuesday night watching the election unfold. I went to sleep sometime after two, fairly confident that President Bush had been reelected.

This was confirmed upon my awakening to find my wife, who had arisen an hour or so earlier, combing one of the Internets for newspaper jobs in Canada.

Our son, Adam, is 15 and she is convinced that a draft of some sort will be reinstated during a second Bush Administration.

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She is not the only one I’ve heard echo such fears. My sister, whose son is about 20, vowed to hack off one of his toes with a hatchet if the draft is reinstated. Her exaggerations aside, she was a supporter of the president. Remembering Vietnam, she was more leery of Democrat Kerry, who called for increased troop levels, resorting to such measures.

I do not think a draft is in our future. Even if it were, I doubt my son would have to go. He suffers from a condition in which he does not sweat. His body cannot efficiently release heat and he overheats quickly in the hot, summer sun. He wouldn’t last a week in Iraq where desert temperatures sore above 120 degrees.

I’m hopeful that we’ll see a different President Bush over the next four years, one unimpeded by the political constraints of trying to win another term. With no need to pander to anyone, I look for him to move a little toward the center, to work to be the president of all the people, and not just those who elected him. His legacy will be important, and he does not want that to be one of a person who deepened the nation’s divide.

Look for bold initiatives on every front.

By the same token, France, Germany, Russia and the rest of the nations that have refused to participate in the rebuilding of Iraq, will realize that our president is legitimate, will be here for four more years and that it will be in their interest to be part of the Iraq solution and not the problem.

So contrary to what some, like me, who voted for Sen. Kerry believe, I’m hopeful about our future. I believe that we will witness a more conciliatory tone out of Washington, both at home and abroad, and that that goodwill will be reciprocated.

After 40 years in the wilderness, the Republican Party has crafted a legitimate majority in the United States. It’s their turn to run the table. They earned it, and Democrats need to just suck it up and begin the long process of rebuilding their party and figuring out how they can again become a relevant force. They are not now. If they are smart – and there is no reason to assume that they are – they will re-examine their core beliefs, purge their leadership, and begin rebuilding from scratch. As such, they will have many more butt-kickings in their immediate future. Short of a complete economic collapse and an entire world at war – things I doubt even Michael Moore could hope for – it’s likely that it will take a generation for the landscape to change. They could even be supplanted by the Libertarian party.

If Tuesday proved anything, it’s that despite our economic reliance on gambling and seeming insistence that our television entertainment be as trashy as possible, we aspire to something greater and want a leader who espouses religious and family values and one who they believe will defend our security. And I almost forgot, they also want a leader who doesn’t have a wife who frightens small children.

You know something? Maybe those aren’t such bad things. That’s why I’m one Democrat who’s optimistic about our future.

But in case I’m wrong, I’ll keep my hatchet closeby.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or

via e-mail at andy.prutsok@ suffolknewsherald.com.