Thursday, April 14, 2005

Can We Get Our Democracy Back?

There is not a doubt in my mind that both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were stolen.
My wife and I have strong reason to believe that we were victims in 2000. As Florida residents and registered Democrats who were living abroad, we made timely requests for absentee ballots, which never were sent to us.
I remember saying to my wife on election day: "If Gore loses by 2 votes, I'll be really pissed off."
The next morning, when I came downstairs and learned about what was going on from my wife (who had stayed up all night watching returns), my words came back to haunt me. And they have done so ever since.
The documentary filmmakers Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald each have made compelling arguments about the stolen election, in "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Unprecedented," respectively.
And the daily revelations by Brad Blog and others -- such as today's article by Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna on the stacking of the Baker-Carter Commission on Federal Election Reform with Republican operatives -- make it seem ever more likely that similar fraud was perpetrated last fall.
On November 3, I wondered aloud to friends why, when the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote totals surfaced, the press was so quick to blame bad polling. It seemed clear there were two factors at work: The usual laziness coupled with incredulity that the Republicans could have been so brazen in defrauding the electorate (never mind their bait-and-switch game of running Bush/Cheney as moderates and patriots).
But Brad Friedman has done a superb job of unearthing evidence that the Republicans are in possession of computer code that could reverse vote tallies. And he has stuck with the story, to the point where it is now beginning to get some attention in the MSM. Hence today's groundbreaking column by Robert C. Koehler of Tribune Media Services. Here's part of what Mr. Koehler has to say:
Was the election of 2004 stolen? Thus is the question framed by those who don’t want to know the answer. Anyone who says yes is immediately a conspiracy nut, and the listener’s eyeballs roll. So let’s not ask that question.
Let’s simply ask why the lines were so long and the voting machines so few in
Columbus and Cleveland and inner-city and college precincts across the country,
especially in the swing states, causing an estimated one-third of the voters in
these precincts to drop out of line without casting a ballot; why so many
otherwise Democratic ballots, thousands and thousands in Ohio alone, but by no
means only in Ohio, recorded no vote for president (as though people with no
opinion on the presidential race waited in line for three or six or eight hours
out of a fervor to have their say in the race for county commissioner); and why
virtually every voter complaint about electronic voting machine malfunction
indicated an unauthorized vote switch from Kerry to Bush.

Why indeed? These are questions that those of us who are predisposed to believe in the Republican Party's limitless willingness to use whatever means necessary to gain and retain power were asking while the MSM was celebrating Bush's "mandate" and garnering of "political capital."
I have neither the time nor the resources to participate in the ongoing investigations conducted by Mr. Friedman, Ms. Alexandrovna and others. But I want to salute their important work, and to thank Mr. Koehler for giving some mainstream space to the ongoing questions.
There is much here that we still do not know, and our Democracy is suffering daily for the lack of knowledge.