In the run up to the American presidential election we asked a panel of voters to share their views and predictions. Here they give their reaction to the final result.
New York, New York
San Diego, California
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Gary Webb
Lives: Sacramento, California
Voted: Former non-voter, voted Kerry
In 10 words or less:
"Author and responsible anarchist"
I can't remember who said it but the phrase "people get the government they deserve" keeps running through my mind today.
What this election tells me, unfortunately, is that it doesn't matter to most Americans if their government lies to them repeatedly.
They no longer care if their leaders erode their civil liberties, push this country further towards a police state, or shroud their actions in additional layers of official secrecy.
They don't mind if their government operates strictly for the benefit of the rich and the corporate class, as long as their own taxes don't go up.
Nor do they care if their government spends itself to the brink of bankruptcy. As long as they feel threatened by some external evil, everything is permitted.
Since the Bush administration did all of this and more, and still won re-election, my suspicion is that things will only get worse over the next four years.
Bush no longer has the threat of voter disapproval hanging over his head. He is free to pursue his agenda without restraint.
And now, I think, we will find out just how extreme that agenda is.
Anyone who thought the last four years were bad hasn't seen anything yet.
Send us your comments on Gary's views using the form below.
I agree with Gary's comments. I feel sorry for people that they didn't know any better. I guess the truth is they're not hurting enough and they care to look ahead or read up on the candidates. I didn't agree with all of Kerry's views, but he did talk about issues that would be affecting all of us after Iraq.
Bob Tillman, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Gary, I feel the same way as you do. A few weeks ago, we had an election in Australia. John Howard got back into government and got control of the Senate. Fear was the weapon he used again. And it worked again. At the last election, it was fear of a flood of refugees (crikey! we are a nation of refugees!). This time it was interest rates. He scared the mortgage belt by saying that under the Opposition that interest rates would rise. A lot of these people are mortgaged to 90 95 % and a rate rise of 1 or 2 % will send them under. He scared them, so they voted for him. Most of these people are "Working" or "Lower Middle" class. They will be the first to bite the bullet when it all goes belly up. Finally interest rates are set independently by our Reserve Bank. Politicians have no say in the matter. This is a sad time for both our countries. And the World.
John Stone, Canberra, Australia
Gary has crystallized the thoughts of at least half of America, as well as most of the world. America is entering a dark period in its history where intellectualism, critical thought, and logic have taken a back seat to blind faith in ideological demagogues. I hope we (both the US AND the world) somehow survive the next four years. If so, what is left of the US and perhaps the world will be in shambles. To all of you around the world reading this, please do not judge the citizens of the US by our current president or those who support him. The many of us who have tried to get him out of office have failed you, and I apologize for that.
Doug F, Houston, TX
Bingo Gary! I heartily agree with your every word. What's amazing is that I know many, many people with these same thoughts who all voted and yet GW is re-elected? My inner cynic is praying that any voter fraud will be found out soon. May God and the world forgive us for allowing this sham to occur.
Dave Collins, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Gary hit the nail on the head. In the next four years the "I told you so" choir will be singing day after day from those who have kept up on this Administration. If anyone is to blame it is the US Media. They cover things side vs. side, not truth for truth. I am extremely disappointed in the lack of American curiosity to seek the truth. This will only polarize us more. I will never stand behind this President.
Eric, Madison, WI, USA
I'm happy to see that Gary had a change of heart and voted. People have no right to complain if they don't vote. Let's face it, there's plenty of negativity on both sides, and we need to put this behind us and try to work together.
Jenna, Harrisburg, IL USA
I couldn't agree more - this time next year look to see an anti-abortion bill, reduced rights for migrant workers and even more nest-feathering by the corporate crooks who don't even need to hide their crimes anymore.
Iain Howe, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The constant attacks by liberals against the Patriot Act's "erosion of civil liberties" seems ironic. They are exercising their freedom of speech and on Tuesday we exercised our right to vote. Since the Patriot Act has gone into effect, I highly doubt Americans have noticed any abridgement of their basic freedoms. I bet most people can't name a single provision in the Patriot Act.
Tim, Bethesda, MD, USA
While agreeing with Gary on most of his comments, I don't feel the views of "most Americans" are reflected by this election. I think that a good deal of what has happened is the result of less active turnout by votes that could very well have been Kerry's and increased participation by Bush supporters at the same time. Even though reports are showing greater turnout, the total vote still shows lots of 'no shows' who may have helped Bush by default through their own apathy and cheap excuses.
John H. Carroll, Bergenfield, NJ
Gary's thoughts on the outcome of this election reflect mine in almost every way. It is inconceivable to me how Bush could get a majority of Americans to vote for him. This election just illustrates to the world how shallow the American people are. America is probably now the greatest threat to the world since the fall of the Soviets.
Gurbeer Singh Gill, Calgary, Canada
I agree with you Gary. We (all Americans) will suffer together for the next four years. I don't understand that when people voted for Bush for his moral standing. Don't they consider that telling the truth is also a moral issues?
Typical and predictable comment from the average Californian and writer. I think I seem to remember a former California democratic politician that did much the same. Each leader makes the decisions that he/she thinks best for the country. At least George Bush acts on his convictions and those convictions are a known quantity. Does anyone truly know, even now, what Kerry's convictions are? I don't think so.
Mke, LV, US
Our American Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin said , "Those who are willing to exchange safety for liberty, will have neither safety nor liberty." I want to know if Americans disagree with our most Democratic Founding Father or did Americans just forget his words? Sadly, I now believe that the majority disagree!
Stacey, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Gary, you hit the hammer right on the nail. The religious vote is a threat to the freedom of Americans.
Jean Desjardins, Montreal, Canada
Was very disappointed in the results and in the American people. Gary restores some of that faith. I guess we have to hope there are more like him around and that they will teach the others how to look more critically at what their government does and says. Good luck to you Gary
Brett Ferguson, Canada
Mr. Webb's comments will prove prophetic. I am aghast at the outcome of this election, and now am truly ashamed to be called am American along with the sheep who, if they stepped outside of the barn the Republicans are keeping them in, would see a world far different from what they have been brainwashed to fear and loathe.
Michael, Madison, WI, USA
Unfortunately, Gary, you will probably be proven correct, in that things will only get worse. I am afraid that our personal freedoms and civil rights will erode even more. Everything else I care about will also be eroded. The Bush Administration know this is their last four years, so now it's their time to really trash the country, (and the world), for their own private interests.
Vicki H, Portland, OR, USA
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