Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

SHYING AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:14 PM
Original message
SHYING AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY
Edited on Sat Nov-05-05 07:08 PM by Land Shark
Please "farm team", edit, critique, praise or condemn this piece so it can be improved for later GD posting!!!

TITLE: SHYING AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY
DATE: November 5, 2005 DRAFT
(not yet for publication)
AUTHOR: By Paul R. Lehto, Attorney at Law
lehtolawyer@hotmail.com
SOURCES: Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address


To make the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights real, we act as citizens and not merely as "taxpayers". Unlike the taxpayer, the citizen in a democracy has both non-delegable responsibilities to the community as well as the non-waivable privilege of participating in power through elections. These citizen rights and responsibilities are "unalienable" in the words of the Declaration, or as we prefer to spell it today, "inalienable".

In a real democracy, We the People are the only legitimate source of power, and inelienable elections are the only legitimate means of power transfer from We the People to the government. Indeed, the sine qua non of democracy is the very recognition that all legitimate political power emanates from the citizens and is evidenced by the "consent of the governed". Thus, our true concern as citizens of a real democracy is not simply with elections, nor even with simply having one's own personal vote counted properly. Instead, our true concern as lovers of democracy lays with verifying the integrity of our democracy and being able to see that the government can prove that the consent of the governed is truly being sought on a fair and transparent one person / one vote basis, and prove that the reported results of the election are correct.

Of course, a moment's reflection reveals that dictators often have elections of varying quality, and that privileged elites always take care to see that their own votes are properly counted while at the same time they undemocratically deny the rights of the People to vote too. This is why we say that, as important and necessary as elections and voting are, the true sign of real democracy is universal suffrage and legitimate political power being recognized as coming only from We the People, via elections.

With the Majority protected by elections from tyrannical minorities, the Minority is (in turn) protected from the tyranny of the Majority by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, both of which set minimum rights that can not be taken away even by an act of the Majority passed in the Legislature. Thus, real elections check and balance the abuses of the Minority, while rights check and balance the abuses of the Majority.

Given that our system is premised entirely on the assumption that humans are not perfect and therefore that checks and balances are required, it follows that faith and trust are not part of our system of government in any significant degree. Yet, in recent years, our elections systems have (merely by changing to computer technology) instituted a completely "faith-based" systems of vote counting where We the People can no longer verify if the votes were counted correctly because of claims that the vote counting is a corporate trade secret. Information about this secret vote counting is held so tightly that no information can escape these corporate black holes except the vote totals that are spit out by the programmers of the voting machines, via their preset instructions.

One wonders how the laws of simple addition used in vote counting could possibly become a piece of secret corporate property unique enough to deserve protection under intellectual property trade secret laws? Is creative accounting in elections to be rewarded by the laws protection? Is it impossible to imagine any creative accounting occurring in a post-Enron world when control of the worlds largest economy and military superpower are at stake, and the opportunity for unsupervised addition is clear and present? Do We the People imagine that one who would falsely claim Our Power in a stolen election obtains no benefit and has no motive to cheat?

Reserving the right of secret vote counting for any person or corporation under any circumstances whatsoever is the most direct and flagrant possible violation of the public's right to know about and supervise its own elections. To even desire the ability to count votes without observation from others is a corrupt desire. To tolerate secret or invisible vote counting in electronic elections is to render election results so ambiguous and inconclusive that their results can only be accepted on faith, when our system is not based on faith or trust but on checks and balances, and the recognition that no citizen or official is perfect.

Under our present election circumstances, the "consent of the governed" is not only not being sought in a transparent manner, it is not being sought at all. The theft of real democracy is nearly complete, coming in the guise of reform and technological progress that has the "side" effect of eliminating checks and balances and the public's right to know. Those who have sought these changes or have tolerated them do not recognize the public as being truly in charge of our country.

Many citizens are rising up to fight this, albeit with little help from corporate-owned media.

These citizens strongly believe that in a real democracy that serves the people, citizens have the right and duty to closely monitor all aspects of the election process, and to a guarantee that the process is fair to all and readily understandable by all.

These citizens believe that no number of government officials (who obtain their money and their power via the very elections they administer) nor any amount of "certifications" by government officials, or by their governmental committees, or by private institutes or businesses competing for "certification" or "testing" contracts (regardless of whether these are "rubber stamp" certifications and testings or not) can truly substitute for the public's ability to monitor its very own elections. This is true simply because We the People are in charge in a real democracy, not experts and officials. Whenever officials or corporations purport to trump the people's right to know, they are asserting the right to be the Master of the People, without having to Answer to them. This is the antithesis of democracy.

In conclusion, WE BELIEVE that all of these principles of elections and voting identified above stand firmly upon the principles of democracy and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that we can, in our time, carry forward the work of democracy as past generations did in recognizing the rights of women and minorities to vote.

We remember that the Star Spangled Banner asks a question in its final sentence:

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

We believe that this question does not merely ask us to see if a flag is still waving, it also asks us to see if the flag is truly waving over a land of free and brave citizens. Such free and brave citizens will never allow their elections out of their sight and supervision. Nor will such free and brave citizens allow the ultimate authority of We the People to be denied, ignored, or considered technologically obsolete.

In our time, and in many past years, in the context of war men and women in the Armed Forces have sacrificed and died in the name of democracy, each having their own various degrees of certainty and doubt as to the effect their sacrifices would have in terms of furthering democracy. But in the elections context, all Americans have the privilege of knowing to a certainty that when we act to defend the public's right to vote and right to know about and monitor their own elections and the public's right to know whether or not We the People are still in charge, there is in the case of elections no real doubt that we are truly defending democracy through a calling of the highest order. Our mission in American citizenship is nothing less than to hand a real and verifiable democracy on to future generations, thus ensuring that government Of the People, By the People and For the People shall not perish from the earth.

Other than faith in God, I trust in only one other thing: that an aroused American citizenry can never be defeated when fighting for democracy *on its own soil*. We the People can only lose by not being vigilant, or, by being fooled into thinking that our democracy hasnt really been taken from us.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
brainshrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here's my edit:
This is pretty good. The major changes I would make are listed below:


To make the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights real, we act as citizens not act merely as "taxpayers".

In a real democracy, We the People are the only legitimate source of power, and elections are the only legitimate means of power transfer from We the People to the government.

One wonders how the laws of simple addition could possibly become a piece of secret corporate property unique enough to deserve protection under intellectual property trade secret laws? Is creative accounting in elections to be rewarded by the laws protection?

Other than faith in God, I trust in only one other thing: that an aroused American citizenry can never be defeated when fighting for democracy on its own soil. We the People can only lose by not being vigilant, or, being fooled into thinking that our democracy hasnt really been taken from us.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. Excellent
if I'm allowed to say that as a Brit.

The idea that democracy depends on the Consent of the Governed seems to have been quite lost by your government, both in its attitude to your electoral system, and in its attitude to "democracy" in Iraq, where it is completely lacking. And as for our UK governments- they are rarely voted for by anywhere near a majority of the electorate, and yet frequently govern as though elected by popular acclaim.

Ensuring the Consent of the Governed, and in particular, the consent of those who voted against the government to be governed by that government is so important, it runs the danger of being taken for granted - and therefore forgotten? Thanks for a stirring reminder!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. this makes for a good finish---
"I feel faith in only one other thing: that an aroused American citizenry can never be defeated when fighting for democracy on its own soil, because it never has been."

I'm a citizen-
I'm aroused-
I'm on my own soil-

How about you?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Me too FogerRox. Arousal is a good thing, ain't it?? : )
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
brainshrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. I dunno, "aroused" has sexual connotations.
Edited on Sat Nov-05-05 08:42 PM by brainshrub
If I'm an aroused American, I'm not interested in fighting.

Just saying.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. This is the ER forum, not the ED forum.
But if it were the ED forum, you wouldn't consider arousal pejorative.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
New Earth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. LOL
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nice work, Land Shark. Suggestions below.
Land Shark wrote: "...the true signs of real democracy are universal suffrage and legitimate political power recognized as coming only from We the People via elections."

The universal suffrage point is well taken, and certainly the Consent to the power transfer via elections is emphasized sufficiently throughout the essay. What this paragraph lacks is the big three points identified in Portland, on consensus, about what Democratic elections should do...
1. Produce conclusive outcomes.
2. Create a basis for confidence in the results reported.
3. Establish accountable government representative of We The People with our Consent.
To describe the "true signs of a real democracy" without these points paints an incomplete picture.

I like this line: "Thus, real elections check and balance the abuses of the Minority, while rights check and balance the abuses of the Majority." I like it because it sounds right, theoretically. However, I don't think the point is really brought home that this hypothetical does not exist, pretty much has never existed, and can never exist unless...(probably something more about Consent sought and verifiably given).

I think this piece would do well to have a specific call to action. It would make a great rallying cry for the Voter Confidence Resolution. There are a few different places where this could be slipped into context seamlessly. My suggestion would be to frame it as "some communities are speaking out as a whole to challenge the assumption that the Consent of the Governed is given. The result is that we are seeing the Consent of the Governed quite intentionally withdrawn."

It is great to give everybody the same page to get onto in terms of understanding the problem. We have to also coordinate our response.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I think following the principles of the essay faithfully
produces the 3 results you name above.

I don't disagree with the 3 you name, but I am trying to identify the rules to apply, while you are identifying outcomes desired.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Make the connection
I agree that you are making that distinction, but doing so by omission. IMO, the distinction can be made more powerful if the connection is made between the principles and their outcomes. This will give readers something concrete to identify with as an end result of the otherwise Quixotic battle they are being invited to join.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. A battle that's gone on for centuries already with lots of success
along the way in terms of expanding the franchise and democracy, but the culture of convenience considers the march of history quixotic.

Just comment, not dissing the Guv'nuh.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
8. Excellent! Here are a few comments:
"Given that our system is premised entirely on the assumption that humans are not perfect and therefore that checks and balances are required, it follows that faith and trust are not part of our system of government in any significant degree. Yet, in recent years, our elections systems have (merely by changing to computer technology) instituted a completely "faith-based" systems of vote counting where We the People can no longer verify if the votes were counted correctly because of claims that the vote counting is a corporate trade secret. Information about this secret vote counting is held so tightly that no information can escape these corporate black holes except the vote totals that are spit out by the programmers of the voting machines, via their preset instructions."

I'd say 3 things:

First while it was prefaced appropriately, the term "faith-based" (esp. in quotes) might be the sort of lightning rod you don't intend for it to be. This is because Bush has used this precise term to describe his controversial plan to transfer public tax money to private tax-exempt religious organizations. Regardless of how one feels about this plan, using HIS (probably Rove's) term, especially in quotes, might be antagonistic to some which isn't necessary to make your point. Is there a better term (e.g., trust-based, unverified), or perhaps just removing the quotes and saying faith-based more as a matter of fact, is all that's needed.

In the final sentence above, you say that the programmers of the machines are spitting out the vote totals. I think the focus should be more on the machines themselves. First, if the programmers have erred, the vote totals may not even be as they've intended. And of course, the machines can also be manipulated by administrative users or hackers subsequent to their actual programming. I'm taking the term programming quite literally here. Others might read it differently.

I LOVE the part about private institutes or businesses competing for "certification" or "testing" contracts. A veritable cottage industry is developing based on the public's lack of confidence in our election system. That said, there is certainly a need for non-profit public oversight, voter education and that sort of thing.

Hope this helps.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-05-05 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
10. Hi LS! Thanks for doing this! see my PM.. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 01:18 AM
Response to Original message
13. K&R..nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 03:32 AM
Response to Original message
14. Kick for a morning crew? Do we have such a thing? nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 03:35 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Well, me, but I was the night crew too.
But I'll kick. Do you want recommends at this stage?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. way too late for recommends, Febble your'e the OT crew
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Well I've never understood this system anyway
but here's another kick (got that part).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Will you publish some good work for your 1000th post? Yer close....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. So I am!
well, I thought I'd DONE some good work....

Not sure there's a lot more I can do, other than wish you all well. It would be nice to nail that fraud algorithm, I suppose.

I'm still not QUITE sure how you did it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-05 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. frickin criminal mind he has--- >wink
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
senegal1 Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. kick
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-05 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
23. "The theft of real democracy is nearly complete, coming in the guise of
reform...

Brilliant, simply brilliant...

"{that an aroused American citizenry can never be defeated when fighting for democracy *on its own soil*"

We will not be defeated, period.

Look at this reflection of near unanimous DU support for democracy as per your outline and program



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue May 21st 2019, 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC