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Why I Will Not Just Get Over It
January 28, 2002
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 over it.

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 so on.

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 he speaks.

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 here or here. Thoreau can be emailed at

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