by Margaret Shanks
I have a question and a great fear. Are we now seeing a dark
underbelly of our country that has always been there, but
was hidden deep and rarely glimpsed by our citizens in years
gone by? Have we seen this shadow more frequently and more
clearly not really realizing what we were witnessing? Is there
a hidden hand behind everything, controlling, guiding, while
we slumber under the misconception that we live in a democracy?
Let's start with 1963. I was 10 years old and John F. Kennedy
was shot to death in Dallas. It was the first time I ever
saw my father cry. I remember being sent home from school
and even at the age of 10, I understood the enormity of the
tragedy. As I played outside I remember carefully avoiding
stepping on any cracks on the sidewalk, because I was convinced
that by not stepping on the cracks, the news wouldn't, couldn't
possibly be true.
Since then I've read a lot about that day in Dallas. I've
wanted to believe the government's story but I've never been
able to. I fervently believe that some dark, shadowy forces
in Texas were involved and that they were aided and abetted
by the news media. It's not that hard to find evidence that
the Warren Report is not true and that the press knew that
it wasn't true. They asked no questions. Why? National Security?
Fear of riots in the street? I just don't know.
Fast forward thirty four years. Past Vietnam, past Watergate
to the impeachment. The same dark shadowy mentality that showed
itself in Dallas was at work again. No, they didn't kill President
Clinton, but it was an attempt at a political assassination
none the less. Every piece of dirt, true or untrue was aired
incessantly and non stop. I sat stunned while Clinton's poll
numbers climbed and the incessant chatter on CNN, Fox, MSNBC,
and CCN roared on. "We don't want this,' screamed the American
people. "You WILL have this,' roared the pundits and the Republicans,
"we don't care about the will of the people." The dark shadowy
forces have become more bold and more vocal.
Fast forward three years. There is an election. From the
start the Democratic candidate is pilloried. He wears earth
tones, he lies, he exaggerates. The Republican candidate is
an upright straight talker from Texas, son of a president,
good bloodline. Election night, the race in the state of Florida
(governed by the Republican's brother) is too close to call.
But it is called anyway by the Republican's cousin. A recount
is called and the dark, shadowy forces come out in full force.
They shut down a recount in Miami. "The votes have been counted,
recounted, and counted again, Bush wins every time," is the
mantra. The media stands idly by while the man who gets the
fewer votes is inaugurated, sworn in by one of the men on
the Supreme Court who selected him. There are people in the
streets. Angry, frustrated people whose votes and rights were
thrown out like dirty bathwater. The media ignores them. For
months and months the protests are ignored and go unreported.
Yesterday, the media recount was scheduled to be released.
As a Floridian, I know what went on here. I know more people
intended to vote for Gore and I know that more people tried
to vote for Gore. I know that people were disenfranchised,
threatened, and blocked from going to the polls (that right
in here in the Tallahassee, the capital). And I know that
there was a concerted effort before the election by Bush and
Katherine Harris to purge the rolls of alleged felons-who
turned out not to be felons at all. I also knew that no matter
what the report said, it would be spun as a victory for Bush.
Here are some quotes from the newspapers articles concerning
the media recount (taken from Media Whores Online.)
A close examination of the ballots suggests that more
Floridians attempted to choose Gore over Bush.
- Chicago Tribune
Gore would have won most recount scenarios that included
"overvotes," ballots that showed votes for more than one
candidate. Democrats long have contended that a plurality
of Florida voters intended to cast their ballots for Gore
but that thousands spoiled their votes because of confusing
instructions, badly designed ballots or other obstacles.
The study adds evidence to bolster that case.
- LA Times
One of the most compelling questions since the election
has been: Who would have won if all the uncounted ballots
were hand-counted using the same standards?
If that had happened using
the counting methods most widely used in the state, the
study shows, Bush would have gotten an extra 3,607 votes,
Gore an extra 4,204 -- giving Gore the state by a scant
But if Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide
recount of all disputed ballots, or if the courts had
required it, the result likely would have been different.
An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida
found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore
the narrowest of margins.
But what grabs people's attention? The headlines. What did
most headlines say? Bush Wins. No need to read further. What
did I see on the crawler on CNN? "Bush wins even if all votes
counted on a statewide hand recount." No need to listen, it's
decided. Distortions and outright lies.
And Bush's executive order sealing presidential records?
Move along, nothing to see here.
Back to my question, is there a hidden hand? I don't know
and I'm not sure that I want to know more than I do. You figure
it out, I'm going out to play, carefully avoiding any cracks
on the sidewalk.
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