The Politics of Being Apolitical, Our Democracy Hangs in the Balance This Thursday
By Anthony Wade
January 5, 2005
In two days Congress will convene to accept the electors for the presidential election held in November. Normally, this is a formality. This year however, this obscure event takes on more significance then it ever has, as our country waits to see the true state of our union. The country waits to see if the truth matters anymore in our democracy. We all wait to see if the people really govern anymore, or just the corporate entities that rule our corrupted system. We wait for vindication, for acknowledgement, and for truth. Especially, for truth.
If that sounds like a lot, you are right. If you think it is over-dramatic, you are mistaken. The drama remains because no Senator has vocally agreed to contest the election results, and join the House members who have already indicated that they will be standing up for democracy. I do not expect any Senator to announce their intent, until Thursday, to avoid the political pressure that would surely reign down upon them. It is a shame when a Senator who is elected to represent the will of the people, cannot be openly honest about wanting to protect democracy, because of politics. The truth is that EVERY Senator should object to the results in Ohio, and probably a handful of other states. That is every Senator, regardless of party. Of course, in latter-day America, where party comes before people, that is never going to happen. The GOP could see a video of George W. Bush removing ballots by hand and burning them, and I am not sure if there would be one GOP Senator willing to stand up and do their job. The saddest part however, is that there are some doubts whether a democratic Senator will even stand up. After all, none did in 2000.
In 2000, Al Gore beat George Bush. Any honest, objective recount has proven such. Unfortunately, the "Gang of Five " came in and stopped the recounts. Al Gore thought he was being noble, and skulked away into the obscurity of future trivia questions. When Congress met in January to accept the electors, there were plenty of willing Congresspersons, but not one willing Senator to stand with them. There are political ramifications for such an action. Washington DC is at heart, a political town. The decisions you make today, well, they could have political consequences down the road. For a great portion of our government, not rocking the boat is the way to go. In 2000, the senators concluded that the political risk, of standing with their colleagues in the house, was not worth it, especially in light of the fact that Gore had conceded.
Fast forward to 2004 and we see that history is always doomed to repeat itself if we do not take the lessons we learn and apply them. There are reports of widespread voter fraud throughout this country. There are statistical analyses completed that relegate the numbers acquired by Bush to the realm of statistical impossibility. There are sworn affidavits of GOP elected officials attempting to create vote-stealing computer programs. There are sworn affidavits of GOP backed companies stacking the deck in the RECOUNT, with cheat sheets to ensure the numbers match exactly. There are accounts of nation-wide minority voter suppression. These are not partisan tales. This is what happened to real people on Election Day. I have had conversations with people on the right who think this entire to-do is about nothing more then a cheap attempt to de-legitimize the second Bush presidency. I have never heard such ridiculous tripe in my life. I could care less about the right, the left, or the middle. This is about one thing and one thing only, the truth.
The truth says that all votes should count. It says that people who vote in black neighborhoods have an equal right to the same number of voting machines as those in white neighborhoods. It says if it takes two hours to vote in a minority neighborhood, it better take two hours to vote in an affluent neighborhood. It says you do not provide LESS voting machines in a district than it had for the primaries. It says that if you are so sure that your state did things fairly, then you should testify to those facts. The truth is not partisan. It believes that if you have laws governing a recount, that you follow them. It says that if you are the state chair of the Bush reelection campaign, then it is a clear conflict of interest of you are also in charge of ensuring fair elections for that state. The truth is very transparent. It is not ideological or partisan. It simply is.
Make no mistake about it; the results of this election will not be overturned, regardless of the events of this Thursday. Unless there is an unbelievable smoking gun, the GOP controls everything. They control the Senate, the House, the Courts, and the Presidency. If a Senator stands for democracy this Thursday, what it means is there will be further debate, PUBLIC debate about the MULTIPLE problems in Ohio. It means they get on record. It means the GOP has to participate. It means the government controlled media has to actually cover the story. Even in a worse-case for Bush scenario, the vote goes to the Congress, with each state getting one vote. Since there were more red than blue states, the results are in. It is the process which is at stake. It is our system that is at risk. It is the truth that is in need of rescue.
This is the dilemma facing our senators this Thursday. To make an apolitical stand in a political town, with real political consequences. All I might add, with the tangible end result, in no doubt regardless. To make that stand goes against the nature of the town, and the system. It is a shame that the truth is the victim in all of this, but it is. There are real people out there in Ohio who have had their votes disenfranchised. One citizen with their vote disenfranchised is worth standing up for, let alone the thousands that have been reported. In Coshocton, Ohio we just saw what can happen when there are no politics involved with the truth. Coshocton was the only Ohio County to perform a full hand recount. They decided to do this, instead of the 3% model because they believed the truth was important. It is because of this full recount, done not in a spirit of partisanship, but of one simply searching for the truth, that 1080 more votes were found. That is 1080 voters that are no longer disenfranchised, whose votes count again. That is just ONE county. It is these people that demand that senators put aside the political-business-as-usual mentality that permeates our system and for one day, truly represent the people.
What is at risk Thursday is not tangible. It is central though to what kind of a government we have moving forward. There were mistakes made in the 2000 elections and we all walked away. Four years later we see not only the same problems, but an escalation of them. We cannot walk away again and ever expect our republic to be the same. Make no mistake about it, there is a lot more at stake this Thursday than a political statement or partisan stunt. Ask yourself if these things bother you at all:
Does it matter that 80% of the votes in this country are now counted by two companies, which are heavy GOP contributors?
Does it seem odd that the president of one of these companies is the brother of the vice president of the other, essentially meaning 80% of vote counting in this country is done by one family, which has made no secret of their allegiance to Bush and the GOP?
Is it wrong that there is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry?
Doesn 't it seem unfair that the GOP actually fought for and won the right to have no verifiable paper trail for nearly all of these machines? If an ATM can give a receipt, why can 't a voting machine?
Does it seem fair that the person responsible for ensuring a fair election in a state can also be a partisan operative for one of the campaigns?
Shouldn 't it take the same time to cast a vote, regardless of where you live?
Shouldn 't any recount be done objectively, and fairly?
This is not about party. This is about what is left of our system to trust. If you cannot trust the sanctity of your vote then we have left the vital underpinnings of democracy behind and have headed toward fascism. Joseph Stalin once said, "It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. "
Is it enough for you to just know that an election has occurred? That is what the "move along, nothing to see here " crowd would tell you. They will say that the votes were counted, but neglect to mention the rampant fraud and disenfranchisement. They will now say the votes have been recounted but will fail to mention that they violated the law in how the recount was conducted, rendering it meaningless. They embrace the Stalinesque virtue that says that your vote means nothing, only how they decide to count it has true value.
In the most political of towns, this Thursday will hopefully see the most apolitical decision being made by at least one brave Senator. Hopefully there will be one Senator willing to make the stand that the truth demands. Four years ago we were all told to get over it, move along, nothing here to see. Now, the problems we were a party to in 2000 have come back home in 2004. We again hear the same cries of get over it. We have been given one more opportunity to stand up for the truth, or suffer the final blow to our democracy. If no one stands up this Thursday then we move forward into another four years without addressing the problems from 2000, let alone from 2004. Do you honestly believe that the GOP will change anything? They are now in control of everything. They will control all three branches of government, and the companies that count your vote.
Don 't be fooled. Don 't think that this Thursday represents a chance to overturn any results, it does not. What it does is allow us to collectively say, no more. It allows us to say that this country still means something. It is an opportunity to say that we will not complacently accept the widespread disenfranchisement of our votes. It is a chance for us to say that Stalin was wrong, and that the power rests with the people who vote, not the people who count the votes. It is our final chance to say that the truth is worth fighting for in this country, regardless of party.
Anthony Wade is co-administrator of a website devoted to educating the populace to the ongoing lies of President George W. Bush and seeking his removal from office. He is a 37-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple websites. A Christian progressive and professional Rehabilitation Counselor working with the poor and disabled, Mr. Wade believes that you can have faith and hold elected officials accountable for lies and excess.
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