Politics & Policy

The New Jonestown

People flock to the all-decent-persons-are-revolted-by-Bush cult.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the November 29, 2004, issue of National Review.

The day after the election, I found myself behind a Vermont granolamobile bearing the sticker Bush Scares Me. And stuck in its wake on a winding country road, I found myself more bemused by its message with every passing mile. Even given the general emotional exhibitionism of the Democratic party — “I feel your pain,” etc. — it seems very odd to go around advertising one’s fear. When I was tootling around the Sunni Triangle last year, I was a little twitchy in the dodgier parts of Fallujah and Tikrit, but I don’t think it would have helped matters to paste Baathists Scare Me to the back of my beat-up rental car. When fear’s a bumper sticker, you’re probably safe.

So I assumed that Vermont lady wasn’t advertising her fear so much as her membership of the club: All decent persons are revolted by Bush.

But a couple of days later I wasn’t so sure. A lot of Democrats seem to have succeeded in genuinely terrifying themselves. “Dejected Voters Find Themselves In An Even Bluer State,” ran a Los Angeles Times headline — in its Health section: “‘People are in absolute post-traumatic stress and total despair and pretty much believe American society is permanently destroyed,’ says Renana Brooks, a Washington, D.C., clinical psychologist whose practice was flooded with calls on Wednesday morning . . . It looks to me like a worse trauma than 9/11.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle in its post-Election Day roundup, “Of the eight patients San Francisco psychotherapist Frances Verrinder saw Wednesday, seven were upset and frightened to the point of tears . . . Vicki Cormack found her neighbor on her knees, weeping. Ron Armstrong of San Francisco is waiting for his upstairs tenant to come out of his depression so he can ask him for the rent check . . .”

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Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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