Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Why Am I So Upset? And Who At?
There is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Right now. Not later. America's electoral system.
Voter fraud is a problem. Election fraud is a problem. Voter suppression is a problem. Partisan politics infecting the electoral system is a problem.
But the biggest problem? Spoilage. The votes that are cast but never counted because of undervoting, overvoting or problems with the ballot. Greg Palast has written about this problem the last four years. But nothing has been done. Every registered voter that takes the time to vote should have his vote counted, period.
Unfortunately, many liberals, progressives and Democrats believe that fighting about this election right now is wrong because it sends the wrong message. They believe that we are babies. They believe that we are sore losers. So rather than blog or write or talk about the people who are working hard to fix the system, they'd rather marginalize us by calling us tin foil hat wearers or conspiracy theorists.
The electoral system will never be fixed if we count on these people. The electoral system will never be fixed if we count on the Democratic Party to take the lead in fixing it.
It's up to the people. It's up to us. And...the lawyers.
Lawyers. America's best friends. Lawyers. The lawyers that care about this country so much that they offer their (expensive) time and money to help right the wrongs in this country.
Although I applaud Jerrold Nadler for taking a stand and calling for an investigation into irregularities with voting machines this past election day, I disagree with his belief that the government will get the job done. On yesterday's Randi Rhodes show (Essential Website), Congressman Nadler was a little dismissive of efforts to fix this problem by using the courts. But he's wrong. America's wrongs are nearly always righted in the courtroom. The government might step in later to pass laws, but the real battles are fought with lawyers not politicians.
I wrote some nasty stuff on the biggest left-leaning blog that there is last night because of the attacks that have been launched from it. Yesterday, the man behind the site (both sharing the same name) decided to take a break from calling us conspiracy theorists to instead attack the man who we worked so hard to elect as President.
That was wrong. You don't do that. You don't spend months upon months telling your audience to donate money and time to a cause...and then blast that cause because it might've lost (don't read into that too much...I just think it's wrong to call an election before all the votes have been counted).
Republicans don't act like this. They don't go to war with each other. They don't attack people on their team. They don't go to pieces because they lost an election.
I wrote some harsh words on that Website. But the harshest were addressed to a disc jockey on Air America who spends most of his time railing out against people like me (I've never e-mailed him...but many people have) in a really nasty, harsh matter. I said that this person deserved....something really mean. Although I didn't advocate violence...what I said was definitely wrong...and for that I apologize. But why is this man yelling at his audience and calling them names every day?
You ask me why I still listen? Because we need him. That's why. He has power. He is supposed to be representing the left. But instead he feels it's okay to attack the people who are upset about the myriad of irregularities that occurred this (and, yes, probably, every) election. Even worse, he claims that we're wasting our time on this instead of spending our time working to stop the evil that has usurped our White House.
But I can do this and still do that. And he ain't doing much about that anyway. How the hell does he think that we can win over "the other side" by calling the people who voted for Bush stupid, cultists and religious fanatics. That ain't gonna work, dude. That ain't gonna help the Democratic Party.
I know that I have Republican readers. Some just pop in. Some come back for more and more. Please keep coming. I hate your views. I hate your reasoning. But I don't hate you as people. I believe that many of you are also concerned about our electoral system. Some of you mistakenly believe that it is Democrats that do more damage and break more laws, but don't think for a second that I don't recognize that Democrats do undemocratic things too.
I believe that challenging signatures is a wrong tactic for the Democratic Party to engage in...unless, of course, there is cause for alarm. My friend, Rob Jereski, tried to run for office (just like that same deejay keeps saying we should do instead of vent) but he was stopped by New York City's Democratic machine...and had his name taken off the ballot just before the primary. That was wrong. So was the witchhunt against Ralph Nader.
Fixing the electoral system will mean that third parties will be able to engage in a more level playing field. That's part of the reason why the Democratic Party will mostly only provide lip service to this cause. I'm not blaming them for that. There is every reason to fear that if the Democratic Party loses power to third parties, the Republican Party will benefit dearly.
That's why it's up to us, not them, to fix this while the iron is hot. Tomorrow there won't be any passion. Tomorrow there won't be any time left. In my play - "The Rules of Embedment or Why Are We Back In Iraq?" - I mentioned the fact that lawsuits are ineffective about wars, since after the war is over the point is moot (this was in relation to Larry Flynt's lawsuits against the first Bush Administration for limiting media access during it's warmongering).
That's why this fight can't wait for later. And why the hell should it? Republicans have no problem throwing around the word "fraud" and they won the election. Why are so many democrats, liberals and progressives so afraid that this battle will make us look bad? Gore contested the last election, and Kerry received more votes this time out. End of debate.
There was one other reason why I got so pissed at the big time site...which has taken away my right to speak (my account was adjusted so that I can't leave comments or write diaries...whoops...I guess diaries gives it away which site I'm talking about...you'd think that he'd have the decency to e-mail me and tell me this...but, no, I'm too petty for him to deal with). That reason was this: Tell me it isn't so.
Mike Lane, of At Ease, is "risking [his] fucking life" while we (all of us...those against the war and those for it) get to go on with our daily lives. These words he wrote broke my heart: "Okay, I want to be convinced that there was not election fraud going on. Tell me that in Florida the votes counted on optical scanners weren't skewed towards Bush after you see this page and this page. I want to believe that this wasn't a coup d'etat. I want to believe that I am not over here risking my fucking life for an administration that was elected by fraudulent means. Convince me that we live in a Democracy, because right now I'm starting to believe otherwise. This has been a very bad day and I can't even tell you why. At least not yet. I want to go home so bad, you have no idea. I have never felt so trapped in my whole life. The days go by quickly, but I can no longer sleep at night. I'm in a daze most of the time and the only thing I can do is try desperately to keep my mind off of things. If you're wondering, yes, I'm just fine physically. I just want to go home."
I wrote this on his blog: "Oh, Mike, please hold it together. You'll be home soon. Some of us are doing our best to expose this fucked up election. And fuck this Administration. The troops serve the country. Unfortunately, half of us really care about you and want you to come home...the other half pretend they care about you when they only care about the mission. But you're a fucking hero! It won't be long. Peace."
I'm sure he's not the only one of our troops that is feeling a little bit lost now. I'm sure he's not the only one of our troops who can't understand why most of this information (some of it, admittably, unproven or inaccurate but that didn't stop the Swift Boat lies about Kerry's war wounds and medals from being broadcast all across this nation) has been suppressed.
I'm sorry, Mike. I'm sorry if my anger may be turning away some of our allies. I'll do my best to tone it down. I'll do my best to replace my anger with humour and sincerity.
Special thanks to David Anderson, one of the two main men behind the Progressive Blog Alliance (Nick Lewis from Net Politik is the other), for blogging about Mike at his own must-read site, In Search of Utopia and at the PBA headquarters. He's a fucking hero, too.
Oh...and if you travelled here from the Website that my voice has banned from...you should realize that I do respect that certain someone for all the hard work that he's done the last few years...but I think he's biting the hands that feed him and that his power has gotten to him. Disagree if you want. I'll still go to that site. And I'll still provide links to the great diaries that are posted by so many of its readers. But if you see my point and you want to help out. Send Mike's words to the site. Show him and them why I got so angry. Show them who we owe it to to fix this broken electoral system. Peace.
My closest blogger buddy, ~A!, has written a post on his first-class blog Watching the Watchers which may ruffle some feathers. Deservedly. He even names names. The title of the post: Get A Backbone, Kos. I'm not going to quote from it (my man deserves the hits)...go check it out for yourself.
Now you know for sure what Website I've been talking about. And again, I'd like to say that I do appreciate what he's done for our side. But I think he's made a few critical mistakes...and I hope he sees the error of his ways. We need Kos. We need Kos to help us change this electoral system. And we need the powers-to-be to get off of their high horses and communicate with their lesser (in hits) brothers and sisters in the blogosphere. But something tells me that everything I wrote will just be ignored and treated as sour grapes. I hope I'm wrong about that. We all need to stick together. We all need to work off what we have accomplished.
It's the spoilage, stupid. It wasn't the candidate.