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Reply #98: History is tapping us on the shoulder... [View All]

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-04 06:42 AM
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98. History is tapping us on the shoulder...
...(or, more accurately, knocking us upside the head), and asking us to save the great democracy that we have benefited from, and to pass it along to the future. That is the great task we have been given. It is both a burden and a joy.

I never thought it would come to this either. But it has. We have lost our right to vote and our first goal must be to get it back. Without it, we are nearly powerless. It is fundamental. Part of that effort is challenging this fraud of an election in every way possible with whatever allies we can muster.

It is not a matter of winning or losing. I differ with you there, Will--putting it that way--although I understand the need to be prepared for setbacks, and also wary of "victory." Our freedom has been steadily eroded over the last 20 years, ending in our loss of the right to vote, and it will not be recovered overnight. We are in for a long struggle--very like the labor struggles of the early 1900s, and the civil rights movement of the mid-1900s (at least 50 years of struggle).

You can't tot up "victories" and "defeats" in such a struggle. EVERY ACTION that you perform toward restoring democracy is a victory--no matter its immediate outcome.

This is a matter of justice, and of the fundamental agreements that create our society.

Do you call it a "defeat" if you're black in Alabama in 1965, and you organize a march down to the county courthouse to register to vote, and you get attacked by white thugs and prevented from reaching your goal?

You didn't GET to the courthouse. You didn't accomplish registering to vote. But, by God, you have won the bigger, longer term struggle, merely by showing your face and marching, and even by getting attacked, and by persisting.

Our first task, after challenging the election, will be to dump the Diebold machines into Boston Harbor (so to speak--or maybe even literally!). We must achieve, a) a paper receipt for every vote, and b) open source code--or paper ballot and hand counts (probably the best alternative). It has to be done locally, state by state, A.S.A.P., and while we still have the power. (Congress isn't going to be helpful.) This may be easier than we think--most people would agree with it.

If we can do that--if we can insure an honest election--then I have no doubt whatever that we will elect a progressive Congress in '06. BushCons cannot win an honest election. And by that time people will be very, very fed up with them. But electing a progressive Congress really isn't the point. The point is "consent of the people." Real consent.

We cannot rely on leaders (John Kerry or anyone else). We must restore democracy ourselves. I hear a lot of complaints on this board about this or that politician not stepping up. And I certainly think it's okay to criticize politicians, and to prod them to do the right thing. But behind some of these complaints seems to be a desire for someone else to save our democracy. It just can't happen that way. It is ours, and we must reclaim it.

Also, leaders can get clay feet--or be assassinated. I've seen quite enough of the latter in my lifetime to be wary of putting our hopes of salvation in some leader. In my youth, we were stripped of ALL of our great progressive leaders in the space of five years, 1963 to 1968. It was devastating. I don't think the American Left has ever recovered...

...until now. And this is why I feel joy. During this election campaign, I saw things happening that I have never before seen in my lifetime of political activism:

1. The unprecedented cooperation of all grass roots groups and the Democratic Party leadership to oust Bush Inc.--the unity on the progressive side was extraordinary! 2. A palpable desire of ordinary people to get rid of Bush, and their voting in huge numbers to do so--they saw through all the Bush B.S., despite the Iron Curtain of corporate news. 3. A rediscovery of what we believe in, what we think our democracy is all about, and re-referencing our Founding documents and the words of those who achieved that Revolution, and the ways that they sought to pass it down to us.

In short, what I saw was a genuine grass roots democracy movement happening right here in the tattered ol' USA. It's happened all over Europe, in South America, and some parts of Asia and Africa, and now it was happening here.

And the heart and soul of grass roots democracy is its relationship to leaders. In essence, the people lead the leaders, not the other way around (or, it's more balanced anyway). The people do not give up their sovereignty and their power to political leaders, as we have often done in this country over the last 20 to 30 years, so that now there is a huge gulf between us and them. They live in a bubble of power, on a plain above us all; most of them are millionaires, and they spend virtually all their time with rich people, seeking campaign contributions, with us peasants feeling grateful if they pay any attention at all to our issues.

I'm reminded of how the poor came out of their homes by the thousands in Venezuela a couple of years ago, and, by their presence in the streets around the presidential palace,
prevented a coup against their duly elected president Huge Chavez, by the oil oligarchy. They then came out in huge numbers to endorse his presidency (in a recall election) this year. And I love how they did it--banging drums and blowing horns throughout the poor neighborhoods on Election morning, to wake everybody up, to go vote. He owes them his presidency. That's how it should be. And such a movement--such a "consent of the people"--will survive almost anything, not because the leader is strong but because the people are strong, united and clear on what they want.

That's what we had here for a brief moment. It is the tragedy of this stolen election that all those voters and volunteers were deprived of the victory they deserved.

But such movements do not go away--no matter what hardships people have to endure. (Think of Nelson Mandela, 30 years in prison--living to see the end of Apartheid, and himself being elected president of South Africa!). Once the fire of democracy is lit in peoples' hearts, it burns brighter and longer than any other flame.

And what I witnessed over the last year was a RE-lighting of that flame, here--an extraordinary development. It had very nearly gone out, after the '00 election and all that followed (1st tax cut for the rich, Cheney energy meeting, Enron theft of California budget surplus, 9/11, no air cover over our capitol, thousands of innocents killed in Afghanistan, loss of Paul Wellstone, fixed elections in '02, 2nd tax cut for the rich, many lies, invasion of Iraq, at least a 100,000 innocent people killed by our bombs in Iraq, our own poor people and minorities used as cannon fodder for the oil wars, etc.)

But, finally, people fought back, organized, allowed no setbacks to dampen their enthusiasm, got out the vote, and threw the buggers out of office.

Although the corporate propaganda machine is doing its number again, on the American people--and doing it in spades--regarding this putrid election, I think we WILL recover from this blow, and the election fraud fight is how we are doing it. Word is spreading--just as it did on Iraq WMDs and other lies--despite the lid on the truth.

I think most of the people who are still uninformed (many) will be extremely relieved to find out what happened, and will strongly support anything that holds out the hope of ousting Bush Inc. They hate Bush Inc. They voted these people out. And they're still there!

I am one who has always marched against war. I have never seen a just war in my lifetime. I am moved by the death our country is inflicting on Iraqis, and on our own soldiers. It's come near to breaking my heart. I never, ever, ever, ever thought my country would do such a thing again, after Vietnam. I did not think we would have to fight this fight about unjust wars all over again.

But one thing the election fraud evidence has taught me is that it is NOT my country doing this terrible thing. It is an entity--Bush Inc.--that has seized power illegitimately. And we are all helpless to stop ANYTHING they are doing, because they are not beholden to us, as they should be; they are beholden to Diebold & Co.

I think that's good news, because it makes things very clear. That's WHY a war that 57% of the people disagree with is still going on. That's WHY a president whose approval rating is under 50%, two months after a supposed "mandate" election, can be shoving extreme policy after extreme policy down our throats. They owe Diebold, not us.

And it means that there IS something I can do: help restore our right to vote.

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