I Will Not Just Get Over It
by Jackson Thoreau
More than a year ago, George W. Bush and other Republicans
stole the White House from Al Gore and other Democrats. Since
that time, I have been bombarded with pleas from friends,
enemies, media pundits, and even my dog to "just get over"
that constitutional pilfering, as if they need my acquiescence
to further legitimize the theft in their minds and soothe
their nagging consciences.
My answer remains unchanged: Bush is not my president and
never will be. I am 42 and seriously doubt I will ever get
Every time I see Bush's smug smirk - which is way too often
- I am reminded of how he enlisted the aid of his right-wing
buddies on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the legal counting
of votes in Florida in a stunning, partisan decision and hand
him the White House that Gore won in the popular vote by more
than 540,000 votes.
I am reminded of stories that never received serious play
in the national media, such as the roughly 10,000 absentee
votes in some 26 Republican-leaning Florida counties that
were counted on Election Day despite them being spoiled. Amazingly,
with no impartial scrutiny, the county officials drew up new
copies of the 10,000 ballots that the machines did not read
and marked them for the candidates when they showed "clear
intent," according to the Orlando Sentinel, one of the few
media outlets that covered this story.
Bush dominated absentee balloting in Florida by almost 2-to-1,
and this sleight-of-hand by election workers that benefited
Republicans was a clear contrast to the position Bush & Co.
took against hand recounts following Nov. 7, 2000.
For the past year, I have been haunted by such hypocrisies.
I have lost sleep, friends, and probably months off my life.
It's affected my marriage and the time I could have spent
with my young son. Becoming one of a modern-day record 2 million
victims of corporate layoffs in 2001 exacerbated my anger
toward the Republicans, who talked down the economy and encouraged
companies to cut employees to help craft an employers' job
market once again well before Sept. 11.
How I long for the employees' job market under President
Bill Clinton, our last elected president, even with Monica
and Republican-instigated impeachment hearings and rabid right-wing
dogs sniffing through the alleys and garbage cans for any
morsel they could use to get Clinton. How I long to feel proud
of my country again, not hear the cries towards those who
question the attacks on civil liberties and Afghani civilians
to "love it or leave it."
Let me say this as clearly as I can: I was born an American,
I want to die an American, I love my country, and that's why
I speak out against the attacks on our constitutional rights
and violence done in our names. I want to preserve my country
that so many died for, that Jefferson and Washington and Franklin
and Paine and many others created. How I long to once again
hear our leaders talk about reaching out to the less fortunate,
widening the safety net, and bridging the racial divide, not
send us careening to the edge of World War III.
Where is the more civil and moral federal government that
Bush - who on the campaign trail called another person a "major
league asshole" in public - promised us during the 2000 campaign?
Why did we not use our budget surplus to help the less fortunate,
not squander it on a tax cut plan where more than half the
money went to the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans? Why does
the Bush administration not support the United Nations target
for industrialized countries to spend 0.7 percent of national
income on international aid for poorer countries, when we
are one of the least generous rich nations, earmarking a mere
0.1 percent on such aid?
As a Christian, isn't helping the poor and needy - not the
rich and politically-connected - the moral thing to do? Didn't
Christ preach about substantially helping those less fortunate,
not further enriching ourselves and then tossing a few crumbs
to the homeless outside our doors?
All I can see emitting from the White House these days are
tales of corporate paybacks, the Enron scandal, the broken
campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants, the scrapping of ergonomics rules to protect
workers, the dismissal of the Kyoto Protocol that would reduce
emissions that contribute to global warming, the campaign
to drill for oil on protected federal lands like in Alaska,
the cutting of federal funding for programs like the Boys
and Girls Clubs that help the less fortunate, and so on, and
How can Bush claim to restore morality when little in his
background suggests he ever held a moral compass? He drank
till he was 40, possibly snorted cocaine and slept around
with many women, used the taxpayers of Arlington to become
a millionaire after he sold his interest in the Texas Rangers
baseball team following his campaign to build a taxpayer-funded
ballpark, and engaged in dirty campaigning that culminated
with the 2000 White House heist. I remain unconvinced that
Bush is a sincere Christian, as his actions betray the words
Who among us knows that Bush himself was the driving force
behind a campaign by Republicans to dig up dirt about Clinton
in 1992, according to records from the National Archives?
In one document, Bush wrote that he was "indignant" that his
staff had not found more negative information about Clinton,
who went on to oust his father. Bush also was involved in
the infamous negative, misleading, and race-baiting Willie
Horton ads in his father's 1988 campaign.
Despite the dark events of the past year or so, I still believe
in the sentiments expressed by Paine more than 200 years ago,
that the "cause of America is in a great measure the cause
of all mankind." This country is still a great experiment,
a melting pot of many different kinds of cultures, races,
religions, and beliefs. Few other countries in the world exude
such diversity. Our challenge is to create real liberty and
justice for all here.
No, I will not "just get over" the stolen White House, the
constitutional massacre. If you had lived in the colonies
in the 1770s, would you have told Paine and Jefferson and
Franklin and Adams and the rest of the Sons of Liberty to
"just get over" the Boston Massacre of 1770? To "just get
over" the Stamp Act? To "just get over" the British trampling
your rights as free individuals?
I refuse to "just get over" the Republican-led Florida voting
roll purge, the Election Day counting of 10,000 spoiled absentee
ballots in 26 Republican-dominated counties, the Republicans
denying African-Americans and others their voting rights even
when they had their legal registration cards, the discarding
of legal, mostly Democratic votes, the illegal Republican
effort to change absentee ballots that had already been mailed
to election offices, the polling sites being moved without
notice, the voters denied their rights to second and third
ballots, the non-English speaking voters who were not supplied
with interpreters, the phone lines to central voting databases
being blocked, the Democratic voters given misleading instructions
by Republican election officials, the carpools taking voters
to the polls stopped by police and harassed for not having
taxi licenses, the Election Day police checkpoint near a largely
African-American voting site, the voters told there were no
more ballots, the Republicans forcing military overseas votes
that did not have witnesses' signatures or postmarks to be
counted but denying mostly Democrats' votes who made similar
errors, the U.S. Supreme Court partisan decisions, the Bush
campaign's violation of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
the partisan decisions by Katherine Harris to certify Bush
as Florida's victor, the butterfly ballot and other two-column
ballots that confused voters, the lies and propaganda that
included blaming Gore for delays when Republicans filed the
lawsuits blocking and delaying the legal vote-counting process,
and the multitude of other Republican-inspired injustices.
During Clinton's tenure, many Republicans refused to "just
get over" his outright election victories, simply because
he beat their candidate. If Republicans can do that to Clinton
when he wins his elections fair and square, I can return the
favor to Bush when he steals the 2000 election. "Just get
over" my not getting over it, America.
Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It:
Restoring a Legitimate White House [Mukilteo, Wash.: CyberRead,
2002]. The 110,000-word electronic book can be downloaded
Thoreau can be emailed at email@example.com.