Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What would you do if your vote was stolen?

Robert Kennedy Jr. opened what I'll call a reality divide in the Democratic party. There are those who are willing to deal with reality, however dirty and ugly it may be, and there are those who either can't, or won't, or both. Case in point. In this Forward article, Jim Manley, the spokesman for Harry Reid, is quoted:

"I haven't even read the article, for God's sake," Manley told the Forward. We have "five or six months to go before the November elections; we've got an important debate about Iraq coming up." He added, "We're looking forward, not looking back."
In other words, there are those who are willing to look at history and learn from it, and those who are condemning us to perpetual repetition. Fortunately for our party, not all Dems are willing to ignore the value of history. The same article quotes Glenn Hurowitz, a former deputy field director for the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG):

"I think it would be incredibly useful for the Democrats to talk about these allegations over and over and over again, and by doing so, undermine the legitimacy of Bush's presidency even more," said Hurowitz, who is working on a book about the history of fear and courage in the Democratic Party. "I'm definitely disappointed" in the Democratic leadership.
Hurowitz is not alone. At the recent Take Back America conference in DC, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky told the crowd:

I apologize for not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen. After reading Bobby Kennedy's article in Rolling Stone, "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?", I am convinced that the only answer is yes. He documents how 357,000 Ohio voters, the vast majority Democrats, "were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted├é┬ůmore than enough to shift the results." Watch for the DCCC to take some very public steps in the near future to ward off a repeat performance. In the meantime, there needs to be a citizens' effort starting now to assess the machines, the ballots, the registration process within each and every election jurisdiction in each and every swing district and state, in the case of Senate races. Where the situation looks perilous, go to the media, raise a stink, demand changes. This is a great project for the many of you who have been diligently working to guarantee fair and accurate elections.
It is important that people start to get involved (those that haven't already been working on this since before the 2004 election.) I feel privileged to know many of the real leaders of our party, the people who have been working hard, without any direction from the so-called party leadership, to rectify what's wrong with our vote. But it's way past time to go mainstream with this issue.

I'd like you to ponder the question that bothered me today:

If you knew, as cold hard fact, that your vote no longer counted, what would you do?

Seriously. What would you do? Would you roll over and go back to sleep, and figure hey, so long as I have a roof over my head, money enough to feed the kids, and a little extra for a vacation now and then, life is still good?

Would you pull out weapons (and be instantly arrested)?

Would you march in the streets on your own, or would you wait for some group to organize a rally?

What would YOU do? I'd really like to know.

The next question is directly related. What if it couldn't be proven that your vote counted, or didn't count, but you had suspicions that enough tampering was happening to swing major elections? Would you take action then?

I strongly suspect that no matter how much we talk about this, there are those who won't take any action until they're family members are being thrown in jail on trumped up crimes. Me, I don't want to wait that long. I'm trying to read and keep up on developments, but, as Brad Friedman knows better than anyone, it's a fulltime job trying to stay on top of all the problems, and possible solutions.

Do you think the party should just "look forward" and pretend the illegimate elections of 2000 and 2004 didn't matter, even though they gave us the worst president in history, upset the oil markets around the world, caused untold hundreds of thousands to die for our greed, and may yet result in the plundering of Social Security?

Or do you think that Robert Kennedy is right - this is the question we should be talking about, and dealing with, and working hard to fix?

You already know what I believe. I believe history always matters. As Lars Hansson once told me, those who refuse to learn from history aren't simply condemned to repeat it. They're condemned, period. I tend to agree.

I think Robert Kennedy was right to ask this question. I think the question of whether the election of 2004 was legitimate has become a Rorschach test for our party. Who can look at what happened and deal with the reality of it, and who will grasp at fake numbers and other strawmen to pretend nothing is seriously wrong?

I knew. When I saw, on election night 2000, the phone call from George W. Bush to his brother Jeb in Florida, and the complete lack of concern, I knew the fix was in.

You know when I knew the fix was in for 2004? In 2001. Before 9/11. These guys were so completely unwilling to even pretend to work with the Democrats on the hill, that they forced the defection of one of their own. Were it not for Jim Jeffords leaving his party and declaring himself an independent, we could have had more damage sooner. Then the 2002 elections came along, and people who were losing in the polls in significant races won, and by fairly large (as these things go) margins. Something stunk to high heaven. It took Bev Harris to put the pieces together for me, but as I read her work, and the work spawned by her efforts, it was so clear. Republican-owned companies counting our vote. What could be more obvious? People abroad got it. People at home remained in denial.

Then 9/11. And how Osama was morphed into Saddam. How the press dared not say anything negative against the rush to War. It was all planned. All in the bag. And there was no fear of anything. They tried to kill Social Security. They may yet succeed. I think they're on their third or fourth attempt to open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil that would last our gas guzzling country at most, about a year. (Millions of years of nature traded for a year of oil? Not on my watch.)

And through it all - there was never any effort to reach beyond their base. It was as if liberals didn't even exist. And in Ohio, in 2004, not enough of them were allowed to exist, on the voter rolls and at polling places and in the machines counted by republican-owned and operated corporations.

Was the election stolen? The Republican party operatives certainly had the ability to steal it, wanted to steal it, and committed several heinous offenses in an effort to steal it (moving people's polling places in African American neighborhoods in Ohio, putting in too few machines, counting the votes electronically instead of counting paper ballots, the list goes on and on.)

Can we just call that what it is? Means, motive, and opportunity.

Our party should have called for an investigation right away. After the travesty that was Florida 2000, there was no excuse, none, for Kerry to have conceded so quickly. He owed it to the country to hold out at least 24 hours, to get the reports, to hear what happens next.

Here's what I propose for 2008. Slooooooowwwww down. Isn't Democracy worth taking your time for? My gosh, we send young soldiers to die in its name. Isn't it worth a few more days of our time?

Did the world end when it took us several weeks to go through the motions in Florida in 2000? No. Al Gore, God bless him, fought with every legal means available, with the exception of asking for a statewide recount, which he would have won. He went all the way to the partisan Supreme Court, and lost. He ran with the issue as far as he possibly could. Kerry couldn't even take a single step in the right direction.

Whoever carries our hopes into battle in 2008 must be on record challenging the 2004 election, and not just in words, but in action. This person must prove to me they really understand what's at stake - that they understand the myriad ways the vote can be stolen, that they are not naive - and that they will do everything humanly possible to prevent it. And even that may not be enough. But I'm willing to give it one last try. And then, ...

and then...

well, I asked first.

What would you do if you thought your vote no longer mattered?


Blogger Alan2012 said...

I appreciate your efforts, but
I really cannot understand why
you would waste so much as 10
minutes defending the Democrats.
They're obviously in this as deep
as the Republicans. In their
cravenness and shrinking, and
failure to offer ANY resistance,
whatsoever, to outrageous evil,
they are themselves WORSE than
the Republicans at this point.

Ralph Nader was right.

GIve it up. Abandon the duopoly.


4:51 PM  

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