Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Who Won Ohio?

Last night, at my weekly press conference, there was a public outcry: "Where do you stand on the voter fraud situation? Why haven't you written about it?"

Good question. I have been thinking about writing something, but I'm not quite sure where I stand. Today, in Salon, they have a mini-debate on the subject, for what that's worth.

My reaction: I can't sit here and wring my hands over some voting machine messups or provisional ballots (nicely summarized here), because the whole fucking system is fucked. We have the people in charge of maintaining fair and accurate elections simultaneously acting as Bush Campaign chairs. We have any number of unidentifiable groups calling up old people and minorities and telling them the wrong place to go vote. Or the wrong date. We have computers mass calling easily confusable voters telling them that they need not go to the polls, they can vote right now, on the phone. We have assholes going door to door collecting absentee ballots, as a so-called service, but then shoving them in the trash. We have the governor of Florida handing voter registration cards to new citizens with the Republican box already checked. We have people putting up signs in minority neighborhoods telling potential voters that if they haven't paid their child support, they'll get arrested at the polls. We have the President's brother using a provably bogus felon list to expunge tens of thousands of legitimate Kerry voters, (and don't get me started on the Constitutionality of not allowing felons to vote in the first place!)

You see? I spent my allotment of voter fraud rage over the last six months reading about all the tricks they had up their sleeve to begin with. Once we get down to nuanced stories like faulty machines and provisional ballots, I say to myself that this thing wouldn't even be close if the Republicans hadn't already spent the last four years conjuring up ways to undermine our democracy in the first place. Does it really matter if so-and-so Betty Smith doesn't have her vote count when millions of voters were pre-emptively kept from voting at all?

And to those nuanced stories, I have this to say: the fraud in Florida-2000 was so egregious and clearly tied to Bush, yet Bush was still declared the winner. This time around, they were a lot better at covering their tracks. There's not going to be any way to prove that anything illegal was done. Some of the shit they pull is full-on legal too! (e.g. - my favorite democracy-destroying device, the paper-trail-less voting machines manufactured by Bush operatives). And that's not even getting into the compliant media, which is happily following the "it's more important that the election is called quickly than called correctly" directive issued from the White House.

So to sum up - Yes, the election was stolen. No - we can't prove it, and even if we did, no one would care; they would mock us with allusions to tinfoil hats. So for once, I'm just walking away. We should hang our heads in shame that our elections are as fair and open as the last Saddam Hussein landslide. We should lose sleep at night that we live in a corrupt plutocracy in which the mainstream media functions as an ad-hoc propaganda arm of the Bush Administration. But nothing can be done to fix 2004. Let's focus on outlawing their shenanigans in time for 2008. But I'm not holding my breath on that one either...

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