Together, grassroots/Internet activists have just moved three major
On January 6, we forced an angry Republican-dominated Congress into an
unprecedented confrontation with the Truth about Ohio's stolen
election, about dubious vote counts nationwide, and ultimately
about an electoral process worthy of zero public trust.
America's progressive grassroots further showed it could prompt the
"democratic wing" of the Democratic Party to finally stand up for its
constituents' right to vote, even in the face of the usual withering
slander from Karl Rove's dirty tricksters.
And those of us who work the Internet showed we could spark a mass
movement by exposing a national travesty despite relentless abuse from
the mainstream media, which did absolutely nothing to uncover the
systematic corruption of our electoral process.
In truth, the mountains shook even before the election.
Many of us Ohioans could see what was about to happen here long before November 2. With blatant manipulation, discrimination and
intimidation being flaunted by the supremely arrogant Republican
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the clear message from the
Bush-Cheney campaign he chaired was that John Kerry would never
carry Ohio, no matter how many votes he got. When commondreams.org and
other fellow web sites circulated freepress.org's "12 ways Bush is now
stealing the Ohio vote" on October 27, the warning went worldwide.
So when Jim Crow showed up in Ohio, we digitized his picture.
testimony at public hearings convened with no help, cooperation or
participation from the Kerry Campaign or the Democratic Party, scores
of Ohioans told their infuriating stories. With relentless
investigation, cooperation and participation from private citizens from
all over the state, a gruesome portrait of GOP racism, fraud and
contempt burned across the worldwide web.
The mainstream media slept, scoffed and scorned us. But from Ohio,
Florida, New Mexico and elsewhere, there emerged an irrefutable
portrait of yet another stolen election.
On November 3, John Kerry fled the scene. After collecting millions of dollars with the solemn vow to protect and count every vote, Kerry abandoned ship and
disappeared, just like Al Gore in 2000. Both left tens of thousands of
fervent, idealistic campaigners in a sickening lurch.
Do the Democratic Party centrists and Democratic Leadership Council
(DLC) corporate types think they can still hope to win an election?
Who will organize or turn out for a party that won't stand for
the sacred voting rights of its core constituencies?
The abuses leveled at Ohio's Democratic core black, young and
working-class constituencies have now been thoroughly documented.
But the party's corporate elite still slavishly mimics the GOP
attack on "conspiracy theorists" who dare explain what really happened
here. Kerry's lead Ohio attorney, Dan Hoffheimer -- a high-roller in
the Republican Taft, Stettinius & Hollister law firm -- dishes out
Rovian contempt for those of us who expose this crime.
Likewise fake "Democrats" like William Anthony of the Franklin County
Board of Elections are an endless fount of GOP sound bites. Anthony
symbolizes a party with no apparent principles or convictions. All
"bi-partisan" appointments to Ohio's boards of elections are made by
the GOP Secretary of State. As chair of the Franklin County Democratic
Party, Anthony has led joint Democrat-Republican campaigns against grassroots
independent candidates for local offices. He epitomizes
the listless elite that's driven the once-powerful state party into
In precisely that spirit, Team Kerry ducked out with the phony dodge
that the Ohio fraud was not numerically large enough to give it the
Just a few weeks' research could have shown otherwise. Or they
could've looked on the web. Or they could've listened to their
supporters' sworn testimony on being cheated out of their vote.
"Changing the outcome" means more than who sits in the White House.
It also means that every vote is counted, and the final margin is
correct, no matter who's on top.
Ohio on November 2 was a high-tech lynching. On November 3, John Kerry certified it.
But Kerry's concession did clear the way for those who believe that democracy is greater than the
Democratic Party. A relentless grassroots movement has pierced the myth
of Bush's phony 3.5 million-vote margin.
Under-funded lawyers persist with lawsuits made possible by the legal
standing not of the Democrats, but of the Greens and Libertarians.
In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson has come to
Columbus again and again. With him have come Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep.
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and others.
Prompted by web sites like truemajority.org, moveon.org and
freepress.org, the grassroots have surged. Rallies have boomed in Cleveland,
Columbus, San Francisco, Washington.
Finally, on January 6, some three dozen Representatives and Senators
stood up. Speech after speech in the "Boxer Rebellion" -- led by led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA and Rep. Tubb Jones -- finally put on the Congressional record the grassroots affidavits and web reporting
ignored by Team Kerry. No single significant investigative
contribution came from the mainstream media, which proceeded to
virtually black out this historic confrontation.
In two hours it was over -- for the moment. We wish those Democrats who did stand had been stronger. We wish there had been more of them.
But this was an unprecedented Constitutional confrontation. For
whatever it was worth, the progressives spoke for the people.
They confirmed there might be a future for the democratic wing of the
The Republicans confirmed another fraud.
And the mountains moved.
The vicious, contemptuous theft of Ohio's electoral votes has been put
on the Congressional record. A nation conducting wholesale slaughter
overseas in the name of democracy has been forced to face the gaping
craters in its own.
The movement that made it happen was organized, funded and executed by
an unprecedented bare bones, multi-racial, nationwide rainbow of
cyberjournalists and grassroots activists, with no help from America's
mainstream "party of the people."
The Truth that forced this watershed event was unearthed and
broadcast almost entirely through the web and a few progressive talk
radio and TV stations. Against all odds, we blasted a gaping
hole through the hostile wall of the corporate media.
We moved those mountains in spite of them and the mainstream DLC
Where this leads depends on how relentlessly we document, disseminate
and then prosecute the capital Crimes of November 2.
In 1972 Richard Nixon swept 49 states amidst a ghastly war. But he had
already poisoned himself with crimes of arrogance. He was driven from
office by those who stood and fought.
This election, like 2000, was a curse of its own. No matter how bleak things
may seem now, the seeds of victory have been sown for those who
will fight for true democracy.
Because we have once again proved that together, we can move mountains.
Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of
OHIO'S STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHISED, 2004, soon
available through http://freepress.org. Contributions for this
book/film project are welcome via http://freepress.org/store.php or by sending a check to the Columbus Institute for
Contemporary Journalism, 1240 Bryden Road, Columbus, Ohio 43205.
© 2005 The Columbus Free Press