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When Your Vote Doesn't Count, Neither Do You

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Message Missy Beattie
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I was called to action, intrigued by an e-mail I received about a meeting sponsored by and New Yorkers for Verified Voting. I had registered online but regretted signing up when it was time to go. It was bitterly cold. I'd have preferred sitting in the comfort of my apartment and sipping a glass of red wine.

But, then, I thought of my nephew, serving in the sweltering heat of Iraq before he was killed by a massive explosion.

I dressed in layers, topping them with a heavy coat, cap, scarf, and put on gloves. My clothing probably provided more protection than the equipment my nephew was issued. I walked the 15 blocks to the meeting and spent two hours hearing about something critical to both our future and our freedom.

Sure, I thought John Kerry actually won in 2004, that the presidency was stolen from him. If so many voters in Ohio, a pivotal state, were disenfranchised, there had to be other areas where voters' legal rights were compromised.

Truly, I believe that the base of the Republican Party is ruthless and would stop at nothing to install their "chosen."

One of the featured speakers at the event was Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University. He's authored several books and his latest, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One, was available for purchase at the meeting.

Miller is a captivating speaker. He's powerful, provocative, and immediately engages his audience--the kind of professor you'd want to mentor your college-enrolled child. Most of all, he's passionate and on a mission to teach us that we cannot allow anyone to endanger not just our right to vote but the accurate counting of that vote. After all, our ancestors died for this privilege.

But, apparently, that entitlement is in jeopardy. Because corporations producing touch-screen, electronic voting machines are plugged into the Republican Party and the current providing the power is the lifeblood of the Extreme Right. These machines guarantee the continuation of the policies of this group.

When you hear the word "corporation" what party emerges in your consciousness? Republican, of course.

This hijacking of our right to pull that lever and select the candidate of our choice is a tactic forcing us into a zone of voiceless uselessness. We will have no opportunity to protect the liberties we value--those that serve the common good.

These are not idle words. This is not Bush, saying "be afraid, be afraid, but go out and shop" or "they're jealous of our freedoms."

This is the frightening truth. Indeed, it is so horrifying, this domestic terrorism, that some of us might opt for the luxury of denial.

In fact, this defense mechanism seems to be the continent where Democrats are residing despite all the evidence that voter fraud is alive, quite healthy and has the potential to be as much of a pandemic as avian influenza.

Going through the motions of voting will be just that--going through the motions--if the voting machines lack integrity and take on a demonic human quality that interprets our votes as their operators see fit and not as we intend. These machines have the power to exploit all that we cherish and the potential to destroy our liberties.

They are computers, but they're programmed, hacked into, and controlled by men and women who have a plan for the world that most of us do not share. Our founding fathers could not have foreseen the breaching of our freedoms' levees.

The Bush World Order is unacceptable and must be extinguished. But it isn't just this administration. Others are ready to take the baton which will meld Church and State. This can be stopped only when there is recognition that the problem exists. Acknowledgment is the first step. Organization and action are next.

Run to the bookstore and purchase Mark Crispin Miller's book. Give it to every person on your gift list. Arming ourselves with Miller's insights may be our salvation.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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