Two years ago, I told my friends that if our Democratic legislators didn’t stop the Diebold voting e-machines in their tracks, the election would be determined by the Corporate Elite compliments of the Republican Party and the corporate media. For two years, I wrote letters, called our Senators, John Kerry’s Headquarters, C-SPAN, I signed petitions at MoveOn.org – all for nada. In fact, Paul Krugman was frantically writing about the cheating machines for the last year in his New York Times’ column – all for nada.
We knew we had a landslide victory for Kerry by the exit polls. Before the election, the media told us that Bush was ahead, sometimes by a hallucinatory 11 points, according to the media’s “corporate” polls. But those media polls defied the facts regarding the newly registered Democratic voters: the Black, Hispanic, Overseas, Military and Youth votes. As James Carville put it, "If we can't win this damn election, with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55% of the country believing we're heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates, and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs - if we can't win this one, then we can't win shit! And we need to completely rethink the Democratic Party."
Carville missed the obvious: Kerry DID win. Rethinking the Democratic Party or discussing new strategies is a little like discussing new recipes with absolutely nothing to cook with if the voting process is rigged. The Republican-Corporation Party cheated, and they did so mockingly, thumbing their noses at us while Kerry turned a blind eye to Ohio.
The question is: are the Democrats accepting a “Hannity and Colmes” role? Is Kerry part of the act?
It seems absurd to talk about what went wrong, to debate Bush's "mandate," as if gay marriage had anything to do with this election when our votes were manipulated and reconfigured, when Democratic voters were disenfranchised in such a flagrant manner that it makes me wonder if Kerry was “in” on the scheme.
The evidence is building as more and more investigative reporters publish their findings in Ohio and Florida (There are plenty of articles on the investigation at CommonDreams.org by reputable and established journalists.)
Sidebar Question: Is cheating a conservative Christian’s idea of moral values?
In Warren County, Ohio, election officials took a rather unprecedented action on November 2: They locked down the building where the votes were being tallied, blocking anyone from observing the vote counting process. President Bush won 72% of the vote in the county.
Earlier this week on Democracy Now!, we reported on a story in Ohio's Franklin County. In one precinct, 638 people cast ballots. Yet, George W Bush got 4,258 votes to John Kerry's 260. In reality, Bush only received 365 votes. That means Bush got nearly 3,900 extra votes. And that was just in one small precinct. This in a state that Bush officially won by only 136,000 votes. Elections officials blamed electronic voting for the extra Bush votes.
(The Ohio Factor: Did Homeland Security and the FBI Interfere with the Vote Count?; Amy Goodman; Democracy Now!)
End Game: Democracy—a Magic Show
If the Democratic Representatives and Senators vanish, it will be their own damned fault for being complacent cowards. With few exceptions, they didn’t stand up to Bush on the invasion of Iraq. They rarely stand up to the opposition on the environment. They turned a blind eye to the Diebold machines. And the final and worst betrayal: They did nothing to secure our votes. Kerry drove away, leaving long lines of supporters out on a limb for nada.
If not our Democratic Representatives and Senators, then who can we depend on? Independent organizations, EarthJustice.org, SaveOurEnvironment.org, MoveOn.org, Democracy Now!, CommonDreams.org, Greenpeace – people like Ralph Nader and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – these folks are the real fighters who do the laborious work, who challenge the polluting industries in court, who raise the funds to stop corporate crimes and to protect our civil liberties. Maybe we should all come together, from these various grassroots civil, social and environmental organizations, and form our own United Party?
If we continue to allow the corporate elite to prevail, there will be two Republican Parties left, for the sake of appearances, representing the corporations, with candidates babbling the same phony rhetoric on patriotism, freedom and security. We'll be given the illusion of voting between Joe and Schmo. The media will provide the magic show with the usual punditry, the flags and whistles, as if Joe or Schmo really mattered. And the American voters? Will they believe that voting has anything to do with them or their lives, that they live in a democracy? Certainly Karl Rove would smile, like Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, with a “Yes,” on the turn of his brow.
If our Democratic legislators can’t secure our votes, then they don’t deserve our votes.
Jacqueline Marcus’ (firstname.lastname@example.org) editorials and letters have appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, Slate, New Times, (San Luis Obispo, CA Cover story: “The Politics of Restraint”). Her poems have appeared in national university journals, The Kenyon Review, The Ohio Review, The Antioch Review and many more periodicals. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She teaches philosophy at Cuesta College and is the editor of ForPoetry.com.