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The "THEATER" of Elections

By       Message James Strait       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Voice of the VotersAnd the

The conversation was lively and continuous for forty-five minutes as Mary Ann Gould, host of Voice of the Voters programming ( ), and actress/activist Mimi Kennedy, sitting Chair person for the Progressive Democrats of America, discussed the broad spectrum of problems associated with voters’ rights and integrity.

The VoV program of October 24 represents a departure from the usual format where discussions focusing on educating the listener about the problems were the norm, and now transitions to one that both outlines a problem, and then offers viable solutions. Another ongoing effort that will be promoted in this new Voice of the Voters format is that of how to involve a lethargic, sleeping, almost comatose public.

Kennedy is a talker. If her fluid delivery cannot raise you from the dead then you are truly dead for good.  Her life long career as a professional actress serves her well before the microphone. Mimi is very aware that on a program such as VoV that she is preaching to the choir, thus part of her talk was an ongoing reminder that offered encouragement for listeners to become involved civically. One avenue of discussion pertinent to voting issues Kennedy reminded us, is for citizens to become knowledgeable about polling policies and practices by actually becoming a polling worker. The message being that in order to speak authoritatively, you have to have meaningful knowledge, and working the polls is a comprehensive hands on education. A first time polling place worker will experience a drinking from a fire hose form of learning, but it is real and is therefore of the greatest value.
Ms. Kennedy also discussed the psychology of how citizens have been marginalized into media and Madison Avenue manipulated consumers. Drawing again upon her background as a thespian, she went on to compare the action of voting at the polls while using DRE technologies as nothing more than Wag the Dog "Theater". Kennedy could not be more correct. Washington is indeed the largest stage on planet earth. It is live theater, with no retakes, no intermissions, and the ticket prices are up to wow! And most disturbing about Washington Theater is that when you thought you were going to see 1776, they give you David Copperfield.

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Mimi and Mary Ann spent much time in a discussion of the fundamental constitutional concept of checks and balances. Not surprisingly, and always disturbing, they both agreed that checks and balances have been negated at the polls and in all three branches of government by the influence of big money, and the empowerment of the executive to strike down Congressional majority mandate. The obvious remedies are to somehow subtract the influence of big money, and to cut off at the knees those who pass legislation that negates elements of the constitutional checks and balance construct. The obvious question begs, How?

Well, how about honest elections? Like the vast majority of us in the voting integrity movement, Kennedy is a proponent of paper ballots. She believes that paper should be the final and official count, and the fact that counting paper takes longer is in no way a limiting factor. (I like this girl.) Kennedy is open to optical scan as one form of the counting process (a check), but believes that it is only a check and that the hand count should prevail as the official count. Again, Mimi Kennedy is on the right course. We have, as a nation, become not only marginalized as consumers, but programmed to be incapable of enjoying consumption in any form other than instantaneous. In my humble opinion, if candidates can spend their entire lives campaigning for years on end, subjecting the electorate to brain damage inducing diatribes in efforts to convince us that they are the one, then they can also wait for days, or weeks if need be, in order to have a verified and accurate  voting outcome.

When questioned by a caller as to the reasons why the moneyed Follywood elite have not spoken out from their prominent platform and/or invested financially in the voting integrity movement, Kennedy suggested that it may be because they are confused by the technology (her only weak answer during the program) but more likely were motivated to remain silent out of career fear. Mimi further validated that observation by stating that because TV and film live off of big media dollars, and media manages the message, that big money drives and limits the involvement of Follywood elite in the unpopular and un-sexy realm of voting integrity. Basically she is suggesting that it is a new blacklisting, McCarthyism without the McCarthy.

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Importantly, and continuosly, Mimi and Mary Ann passionately encouraged that individuals join grass roots organizations. Specifically mentioned was the League of Women Voters who historically have been less than sympathetic to the voting integrity movement, but have recently become more open minded and interested in learning about the reality of “E” voting. Kennedy certainly has the savvy and the mindset to work in harmony with such an organization, so let’s hope that she and others amongst us can provide the proofs needed to bring the League on board.

The topic of absentee and mail in ballots was discussed with the obvious observations that both mechanisms are easily vulnerable to shenanigans. But Kennedy was clear that she supports mechanisms that allow all segments of society to participate in the vote, thus, these voting styles will likely (they will) remain part of the process. Her advice was to hand carry the absentee ballot to the polling place to better insure chain of custody. Man, that chain of custody thing is the Achilles heel is it not. (More about that in a later article.)

Clearly, Kennedy knows her stuff. But most impressive was when Mary Ann asked her about, how she had profited from her exposure to influential non violence oriented conflict resolution teachers (Reverend James Lawson studied under Mahatma Gandhi. Lawson then went on to teach this philosophy to Martin Luther King Jr.) Kennedy's response was, "The
US Constitution and the secret vote is the perfect mechanism for non violent conflict resolution". Nicely put don't you think?

Kennedy's segment of the program was closed with both host and guest again encouraging individual involvement in civic organizations and issues (I’m seeing a pattern with this involvement thing), and with an announcement about a additional format change in that the VoV website will soon have an area that presents "Success Stories" within the grass roots voting integrity movement. You will want to keep an eye out for that.

Following Mimi Kennedy was electronic voting activist and human change expert Andi Novick. This segment of the program was of twelve minutes duration, and while brief, was full of meaningful observations, suggestions, and advice.

Novick pointedly noted that there is a lack of a National coordinated effort in the voting integrity grass roots movement (Ya think?). She discussed how in order to create a critical mass in a snow balling movement that independent organizations need to join forces, or at the very least share information freely and continuously. Maybe we, the voting integrity movement, need only look at how the failed sharing of information and assets between the CIA and FBI limited our ability to respond in a timely manner when the chips were down.

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Novick also discussed the idea of creating a national "Recall" movement, similar to recalling defective retail products. Her belief is that Americans can identify with this common technique for correcting a flawed and or dangerous product. DRE's are both. (Novick’s and Kennedy’s observation that we have consumer mentalities are in lockstep.) Novick may be onto something with the recall concept. Her observation dovetails beautifully with Mimi Kennedy’s calling us a consumer mentality nation.

Along with the recall concept, Novick was passionate about creating a BIG TRUTH campaign that would work as the polar opposite to the Big Lie. Tell a lie long enough, and it becomes reality. Again, Novick is onto something…..the reality of TRUTH could do wonders! But then, the truth does not sell well to a consumer mindset, because the truth often does not feel good, and consumers like to feel good, and feel good fast.
Novick and Kennedy are two of the voting integrity movement’s great assets. They get it! But, if Kennedy is right about the Theater of Washington (She IS), then our challenge is to wake up the audience sitting in the deeper parts of the theater. It is our own fault that the magic show has become part of the daily American backdrop. Like litter lying along the side of the road, the bad acting in Washington has become part of the normal landscape, and because of such, is rarely seen for what it is, trash.Solution? We all know what to do with trash.Jim Strait,


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Host of "American Voices" radio-Wednesdays 7-8PM Eastern & Co-Host of popular "Strait & Kall"radio programming- Thursdays 8-9PM Eastern, airing on WNJC1360 in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania radio market(live internet stream (more...)

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