[col. writ. 5/31/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal]
As national officials of the Democratic Party struggle and squabble over the votes of both Florida and Michigan, and determine the proper allocation of delegates, the ghost of the 2000 election rises again.
This may be seen most starkly in the repeated refrain of the campaign of Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D.-N.Y.) who has been so vociferous in her demand that "every vote count" that she has likened the recent campaign to the political struggle raging in Zimbabwe.
There is only one problem with this kind of born-again 'every-vote 'count' democracy.
Neither Sen. Clinton nor many of her supporters made that demand in the 2000 presidential campaign, nor did a single U.S. Senator stand with members of the Congressional Black Caucus when they, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, needed one senatorial vote to formally investigate the thousands of stolen votes, especially among Black Floridians. Not one senator. Not Sen. Clinton; not Sen, John Kerry, not Sen. John Edwards; not then Sen. Albert Gore.... not one.
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We don't know if it would've made a difference, but it certainly would've been better (that is, more 'democratic') than simply sweeping it under the rug.
It's been 8 years - and Florida is back with us, with a vengeance.
For many people who remembered the shenanigans of Florida, the allure of voting has lost much of its luster.
Who stood for those tens of thousands of Black voters in 2000 who were blatantly disenfranchised by dirty tricks, like the Choicepoint name checks, where people were forcibly removed from the voting lines if their names were simply similar to felons? The Congressional Black Caucus, beholden as it was to the whims of the Democratic Party, was virtually powerless. And party heads advised quiet acquiescence to this electoral theft.
What immense human suffering might've been averted -both here and in Iraq! - had people in power been willing to fight for those many people who voted for them!
But that was not to be.
That acquiescence has given birth to the present political hour, one which threatens to rend the Democratic Party in two.
As the English playwright tom Stoppard put it (in his novel Jumpers), "It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting."
Florida, like an ingrown toenail, will not be ignored.
--(c) '08 maj