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A 12-Step Program to Save US Democracy

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Certainly the outlook for democracy seems pretty bleak—and how could it be otherwise? The surest way to make a problem worse is to pretend it isn’t there, which is exactly what our press and politicians have been doing; and the rest is, unfortunately, history.

But history can be changed, as We the People have continually learned, from our refusal of colonial subjection, to our (partial) establishment as a democratic republic, to the abolition of slavery, to the enfranchisement of women, to the end of formal segregation and the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

After that, our progress seemed to stop, and it must now resume: for history can be changed, and for the better, but only through our own unbreakable commitment to, and action for, enlightened policies for the renewal of our democracy. Based squarely on America’s first principles, such policies would not be wholly new, however revolutionary they must sound in these bad, backward times. As it was certain policies that got us into this horrific situation, certain other policies can get us out.

The fact is that We the People are in lousy shape, and must get straight as soon as possible. For we are all addicted to the horse race—and we can’t win, because it’s fixed. And so, before we end up losing everything, we need to pull ourselves together, face the music, and then take all necessary steps to change the tune.


A 12-Step Program to Save US Democracy

1. Repeal the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).



This step will inevitably follow an in-depth investigation of how HAVA came to be.

2. Replace all electronic voting with hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

Although politicians and the press dismiss this idea as utopian, the people would support it just as overwhelmingly as national health care, strong environmental measures, US withdrawal from Iraq, and other sane ideas.

3. Get rid of computerized voter rolls.

It isn’t just the e-voting machines that are obstructing our self-government. According to USA Today, thousands of Americans have had their names mysteriously purged from the electronic databases now used nationwide as records of our registration.

4. Keep all private vendors out of our elections.

With their commercial interests, trade secrets and unaccountable proceedings, private companies should have no role in the essential process of republican self-government.

5. Make it illegal for the TV networks to declare who won before the vote-count is complete.

Certainly the corporate press will scream about its First Amendment Rights, but they don’t have the right to interfere with our elections. When they declare a winner when we don’t yet even know if the election was legitimate, they delegitimize all audits, recounts and even first counts of the vote as the mere desperate measures of “sore losers.”

6. Set up an exit polling system, publicly supported, to keep the vote-counts honest.

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Mark's new book, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, a collection 14 essays on Bush/Cheney's election fraud since (and including) 2000, is just out, from Ig Publishing. He is also the author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform, which is now out in paperback (more...)
 
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This is a great list.  Needless to say, if ev... by Josh Mitteldorf on Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008 at 9:03:45 PM
I agree with most of Mark’s points, but I th... by Mark Adams on Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008 at 10:30:22 PM
 If you get your 12 steps fully implemented, ... by Mark E. Smith on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 4:22:07 AM
For your wise and important comments on this artic... by Joel S. Hirschhorn on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 10:21:08 AM
I have to admit, I didn't read all of your res... by Keith Fisher on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 11:25:59 AM
You are right in viewing the voting process as our... by Dennis Kaiser on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 11:24:48 AM
Professor Miller, although I agree with ... by Munich on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 12:15:09 PM
The reason they don't give a damn is because t... by August Adams on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 1:28:16 PM
The reason they don't give a damn is because t... by August Adams on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 1:29:02 PM
If this slave may be so bold as to reply, the crit... by Mark Crispin Miller on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 2:06:26 PM
I so agree with every step, Mark.  I was lite... by via on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 3:33:54 PM
Now all we have to do is convince the powers-that-... by Mr M on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 3:38:25 PM
How about if we just catch them cheating or keep t... by Mark Adams on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 4:33:16 PM
....then why the embargo against Cuba, the ban on ... by Mark E. Smith on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 5:15:03 PM
That was a brilliant essay Mr. Smith.If I could al... by Munich on Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 7:35:23 PM
Ben Franklin said that we had a republic and we di... by Mark E. Smith on Friday, Feb 1, 2008 at 8:39:43 PM