He wasn’t finished expressing himself about the election. “That a right-wing administration motivated by the insatiable greed and sustained by murderous lies and led by a privileged dope should answer America’s infantile idea of mortality—how do we live with something so grotesque? How do you manage to insulate yourself from stupidity so bottomless?”
They were some six to eight years out of college, I thought, and so Kerry’s loss to Bush was taking a prominent place in the cluster of extreme historical shocks that would mentally shape their American kinship, as Vietnam had publicly defined their parents’ generation and as the Depression and the Second World War had organized the expectations of my parents and their friends. There had been the barely concealed chicanery that had given Bush the presidency in 2000; there had been the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the indelible memory of the doll-like people leaping from the high windows of the burning towers; and now there was this, a second triumph by the “ignoramus” they loathed as much for his undeveloped mental faculties as for his devious nuclear fairy tales, to enlarge the common experience that would set them apart from their younger brothers and sisters as well as from people like me. To them Bush Junior’s was never an administration but a regime that had seized power by judicial means. They were meant to be reclaiming their franchise in 2004, and horribly they didn’t, leaving them with the feeling, along about eleven last night, not only of having lost but in some way or other having been defrauded again.
From Exit Ghost by Philip Roth