The new year was ushered in on the January 2, 2008 broadcast of Voice of the Voters, airing on Philadelphia’s WNJC1360 and on the web WWW.WNJC1360DOTCOM, with a very revealing interview with the Chief Executive of Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson. It was really quite the discussion as show host Mary Ann Gould had only to ask pointed questions and then remain silent while Mayor Anderson answered with intelligence and passion. What a refreshing political voice Mayor Anderson’s is, genuine, thoughtful, and fluid in delivery (when you never have to second guess yourself, fluidity happens). Mayor Anderson is that rare American political entity, a man guided by a moral compass! His observations about the political reality in the United States were motivational not because his thoughts are necessarily new, but because they originate from the ranks of the elected. Thank you Mr. Mayor for your candor.
Mayor Anderson has become well known beyond the locale of Salt Lake City as a function of his composition and delivery of a modern equivalent to the Declaration of Independence much of which is spent railing against our American King George. Rife with justified anger, Mayor Andersons “We Won’t Take It Anymore” speech has struck a cord with fellow choir members. He has put into eloquent words those same thoughts and observations that the rest of us normal folk have been talking about, but lacked a significant platform from which to scream.
Being a man of genuine conscience, Mayor Anderson provided clarity to issues where many are blinded by the emotional trauma suffered due to the corrupt and one dimensional actions of our “elected leaders”. When asked by Mary Ann, “What do you see as the most critical problems that we face in 2008”, Rocky Andersons immediate response was, “We are a culture of obedience”, and he followed with phrases like “blind obedience” and an observation about “a complacency across this country”. Yes Rocky about that you could not be more correct. There is an inconvenient and almost paralyzing truth about America in that we are politically, civically, and as it relates to those two topics, literally comatose. Our collective psyche has been injected with the neurotoxin of emotional disconnection…we have bought into the easy circus atmosphere associated with professional sports, Follywood celebrity, and fast easy consumerism…and we now disconnect from the less than easy reality of life and treat it as if it is a far off abstraction. But soon…it will come back to bite us on our very substantial behinds. Along that line of thinking, Mayor Anderson stated, “There needs to be a huge wake up call in this country”!
Mary Ann Gould asked “if each political party carried blame” and of course Mayor Andersons answer was “both parties are guilty of complicity”. Anderson said with considerable bile in his voice that, “Congress has abrogated its responsibilities”. Abrogated; is that a fancy word for do nothing? So much for the Pelosi congress…did anyone truly believe that anything would change when they all reach elected office via the same corrupted process?
Congress is disconnected in the same fashion as the American people, and for the same reasons. Leading ain’t easy. Never has been, never will be. It requires many journeys down many hard roads in order to be a genuine leader at any level of life…and our modern “leaders” subscribe to the philosophy of , “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. On the subject of leadership Mayor Anderson was adamant when he stated that, “The grassroots will be the only source of leadership in this country”. That basic truth makes perfect sense by doing nothing more than harkening back 230 odd years, where the founding fathers were all grassroots activists. Yes, they were for the most part well above the poverty line in their stations in life, but they were rebellious old coots that to this day remain the gold standard defining political courage.
Like the rest of us normal folk, Mayor Anderson does little to hide his contempt for main stream politicians (How did this guy EVER get elected mayor of a major American city?) and offers guidance by suggesting that prior to voting, that each voter ask themselves…”Are they (politicians) going to represent the interests of the people, or are they going to be shills for the moneyed interests”? Great fundamental question Mr. Mayor. The ironic bad news is that with the rarest of exceptions (you being one of them), because of the corrupted nature of the elective process, the very fact that any man or woman is a nominee for any elected office above the level of dog catcher places them in the moneyed interests category.
Mayor Anderson is as astute as they come, and as a modern American politician (he actually has more of a statesmen like intellect and philosophical grounding) is indeed a paradox. “We have to get the money out of the elections” said the frustrated Mayor Anderson. He punctuated that refrain by saying, “We should never vote for anyone that is not in favor of significant campaign finance reform”. Not to totally rain on the parade all of the time, but…his observations and statements all support a reality that we are all too familiar with, which is that we have painted ourselves into an American political corner. To make meaningful long lasting change, legislation must address such change. To pass legislation you must be able to cast a vote in your legislative hall, and to get into that hallowed position you must be elected via the corrupted moneyed process. The cart got in front of the horse, and it’s all backasswards now.
While on the topic of backasswards people, places and things, there is zero effort made by Rocky Anderson to hide his palpable contempt for this nations Chief Executive. “Statutory laws have been blatantly violated by George Bush” was a statement issued in a tone that placed clear emphasis on his own personal disappointment in our President. Mayor Andersons contention is that impeachment proceedings should have been initiated eons ago based upon America entering the war in Iraq upon fabricated intelligence. He said “there was tremendous deceit involved in our entry into the war in Iraq”.
I will point out that one mans deceit is another’s chess move, and I suggest that the war in Iraq was and remains a mainly symbolic event. Just as we fire bombed countless European and Japanese cities long after they had been neutralized as production engines for German and Japanese war machines, we decimated their cities to send the message that the United States will do ANYTHING to win the war, to ultimately include splitting the atom in anger over two very unfortunate cities. Iraq was simply a convenient way to send a message to our modern nebulous enemies. Already an infamous bad actor, Iraq was in the ball park geographically relative to the enemies heart of operations. Also convenient was that our military was already in place…it was the perfect storm of circumstance and a frustrated and angry nation bought into the message sending concept…it was a no brainer. The message was and remains, that America will do ANYTHING to win the war against Islamic terror. Iraq was invaded on the thinnest of veiled excuses…from where I sit…no surprise there.
But, I will agree with Mayor Anderson that George W. Bush is an American embarrassment. He demonstrated his total disconnection from the common American citizen when he sat idle and watched the citizens of the Gulf Coast die by the thousands. For his failure during and after Katrina, I too called for his impeachment three days post Katrina. But, Mayor Anderson also points out an additional painful reality in that waging war is expensive. Expensive to the tune of 1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS! But heck, when our Congress holds that paltry number next to our national debt of over NINE TRILLION DOLLARS, they must say…that ain’t so bad. I mean, what else could they be saying because they keep authorizing money for the war, so it must be true that they feel it to be a less than meaningful number. It’s all part of the disconnect.
If you did not get to hear Mayor Anderson, I suggest that you go to the Voice of the Voters pod casts and listen closely. This article is a greatly abbreviated treatise of what was a very meaningful dialogue between this unlikely mayor and very likely activist Mary Ann Gould. Towards the end of the interview Mayor Anderson said that his greatest moral and practical concern is that of the health of our planet. He is convinced that Global Warming is gaining momentum and that mankind’s petroleum based lifestyle is the root cause of this change. His call for a reduction of green house gases by 70/80% by mid century seems doable and appropriate…what moral person would not want to better the planet that now supports over 6 billion human lives?
When asked again as a final question, “What are our most important challenges for 2008”, the Mayor demonstrated how he has his priorities right when he said as a matter of fact, “It comes down to morality”. What a concept, an American politician with a moral compass!
Following the mayor was Voice of the Voters guest host Lori Rosolowsky’s discussions with several of Ohio’s most energized and visible voting integrity soldiers. First up to the plate was Kim Kettler, former Green Party candidate for Ohio Secretary of State in the 2004 election year (yes, he lost…or so “they” say), and now member of the Ohio Election Justice Campaign. Lori opened the conversation by having Mr. Kettler describe the state of affairs in Ohio. He most notably warned that “Ohio is heading back to optical scan machines” he said with exasperation, “the same machines that lost six percent of the votes in this county”!
Mr. Kettler followed with “we want hand counted paper ballots”, to which Ms. Rosolowsky asked if they would be open to opscan this time around at the precinct or central counting level. This question was not fully answered by Mr. Kettler but he started to talk about “maybe with open source code”…it is unfortunate that he was unable to finish his thought, but based upon what he did say, I want to remind the reader that Straits maxim states; “software and transparency are forever contradictory terms”!
The interview then rapidly shifted to Paddy Shaffer, commanding officer of the OEJC. Ms. Shaffer immediately opened with the announcement that, “the end of this week, January 6th, is the three year anniversary of the stolen 2004 election”! She pointed out that “three years ago was the time of the “Boxer Rebellion”, where Senator Barbara Boxer of California, signed onto the idea that the Ohio elections should not be certified and should be investigated…which has not happened yet”. Well what’s the hurry anyway? Its only American democracy being bludgeoned by vested interests with the future of this country held in the balance. It’s Congress that we’re dealing with….remember? The “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” crew.
Ms. Shaffer followed with the pronouncement that what has transpired in Ohio is, “the largest crime in the whole world, the theft of an election”. She went on to inform the listeners that “57 counties destroyed all or parts of their records” hmmm, does anyone remember Watergate? Evidently not the Secretary of State, or the State Attorneys General because, “We cannot get the Secretary of State or the Attorneys General to even look”, said Shaffer.