Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Winter of Our Discontent*

The time is nigh, oh yes it is.

I've been ranting and raving, to anyone who would listen, since that fateful day in November 2000, when the Supreme Court hastily decided that re-counts and allegations of voter fraud were just so much folderol avoiding the inevitable, that things were not going to be pretty. That what happened in Florida back then was merely a herald of the kind of highjacking we could expect in our future.

"Oh, calm down," I was told, as half a nation simply shrugged in the face of the subtlest coup d'etat in history. "Things won't get that bad...they can't get that bad, and besides, in four years, he won't get voted back in." A lazy response to a DefCon 1** situation.

I had to admit, however, that I may have been overreacting, so calm down I did and settled on a DefCon 3 state of mind. Then came 9/11, a date and time that found me in Vancouver, BC under the influence of a "doobie laced with coke," to quote the young Englishman in my group's company. I recall the ambivalence I embraced that day with, especially in comparison to my comrades in arms...Living in 1980s West Germany prepared me for both terrorism and its after-effects. Bugs Bunny saying "of course you realize, this means war," kept playing through my head those days.

And so, it was with alarm that I viewed the first US flag on an antenna, mere miles after crossing back into the US. I prepared myself for the times to come by watching Three Kings, Starship Troopers, and Duck Soup in quick succession. DefCon 2.

I stayed at DefCon 2 through the months ahead, and the initial attack on Afghanistan, and then my attitude quickly went South the moment I started hearing rumblings about going back into Iraq. I've been ranting and raving ever since.

Now it's four and a half years later, and finally, a number of things are appearing from within the fog of war (a quick skim-thru of my pal Adam's blog merely provides scratches on the surface). Finally, the army of jesters fronted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is joined by a "legitimate editorial voice" in Keith Olbermann***. Finally, the population's growing dissatisfaction is turning from a Popularity Poll Percentage into a disgruntled yell of unrest. It's sad that New Orleans had to be fucked by Katrina in order for this to start happening.

However, what we're doing is not enough. There's two years left in the Chimp In Command's regime, and there are two extreme outcomes: a) W's religiofascists' desire for apocalypse becomes true or b) the chimp is impeached.

While I recognize the remoteness of the latter's chances, I say we don't make it any easier for the asshole and his cronies to achieve the former.

It starts in November. Just as the pendulum swung extremely to the right in 1994, it's now time for it to swing the other way. Are the Democrats ready? Most decidedly not, but we don't have a choice. It's time for us to throw a bucket of cold water into the face of the Dems' and kick their collective scrotum into the sack.

This is not a time for equivocation. This is not a time for hesitancy. This is not a time for "yes, but." Our country's fucked; we are fucked, and no one can help us but us.

There is no time to lose.

*I wish I were enough of a scholar to come up with a less cliche' Shakespearean quote.--TBO
**Contrary to popular belief, the lower the DefCon number the higher the state of defensive awareness. Please refer to either Wargames, or Wikipedia.
***I should say that there is currently no one ringing the clarion bell louder than he is. Others may have been vocal, but KO's broadsides are the ones currently getting the attention.--TBO


At 11:46 AM, Anonymous flamingbanjo said...

If you believe that the 2000 election was stolen, why do you believe that subsequent elections won't also be stolen? How does one vote one's way out of voter fraud?

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I don't watch a lot of TV news, broadcast or cable. But I've caught Olberman's commentaries on YouTube and I have to applaud him. Good stuff that makes you remember when news anchors didn't just vomit up Republican talking points, but took their job of informing the public seriously.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

The threat of future voter fraudulence is prevalent, and I'm afraid that it's a spectre that's not going away anytime soon.

If you read through the accounts of voter fraudulence during the 2004 election, you'll run into dirty practices that have been around since the Jim Crow era, targeting not just ethnic minorities, but also the elderly. This is a pernicious fight.

What I'm referring to particularly in the 2000 Election are the accounts of missing ballots, and the questionable numbers emanating from EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), problems that were never addressed fully because of the Supreme Court decision. Any further findings regarding that election that did not coincide with the established "the election was not stolen" party line was dismissed as wishful thinking on the part of liberals. Whether that's true or not we'll never know, because the issue was never fully explored.

Further, EVMs played a prominent role in the newer accounts of voter fraud in 2004. I believe this problem could be alleviated legislatively, and there would have to be a huge public outcry for anything to really be done about it.

EVMs have proven to be easily manipulatable (I've heard about some existing footage of someone showing Howard Dean how easy it is to do, and once I find it, I'll post it here), and what's truly worrisome - aside from existing legislature making it a priority to install EVMs nationwide in the coming years - is the fact that manufacturers are unwilling to be transparent about how their machines work. (Coincidentally, the CEOs of these companies could be found deeply embedded in W's pockets.)

Until EVMs can be relied upon, which may never happen, IMO, I really don't see what's wrong with continuing to use good ol' lo-tech paper ballots. Dependable, and the facts right at your fingertips.

We'd still be under the threat of missing ballots, etc. etc. But, I, for one, would be that much more at ease.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I have nothing to say, which says a lot.

So, what are we supposed to be doing again?

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous flamingbanjo said...

I'm not trying to counsel despair, I'm really serious. What is to be done? Diebold machines aren't "flawed" -- they have a means to change the vote count on the front of the machine. It's not a glitch, it's a design feature. If elections can be stolen at the push of a button, what use is voting? Is there a margin of error beyond which people simply won't buy it when the people in charge say "well, we counted and it turns out we won again"? Would, say, a Democratic landslide trump all the dirty tricks?

I look at history and think that, for many of the great advances in the cause of liberty, it took more than voting. Even if voting is accurate (if it ever truly was), there are times when the majority can be led to support the most egregious violations of the basic Constitutional principles. The majority of voters seemed perfectly willing to let slavery continue for nearly a century after the establishment of the supposedly democratic United States.

I don't have an answer here. But I am not at all convinced that the coming elections will solve the problem of the hijacking of this country. I will certainly still vote and encourage others to do the same, but I am less than optimistic about what voting alone will accomplish.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I'm much of the mind of the flaming one here. Just looking specifically at the 2004 Ohio vote, there were numerous statistical anamolies on the order of 3 billion to one chance of existing for any other reason than a rigged vote, but the outcry could never gain any traction with the public.

I think it is what comes before and after the voting that is most important, namely control of the narratives. And, progressives SUCK at that (which is why I so often push against and test people who share my perspective). I just don't think our sense of idealism translates into the mediasphere particularly well, and we believe too much in consensus and cooperation to craft the messages that will.

Look at the brewing fight over ABC's 9/11 movie, which invents scenes to make Clinton seem more culpable and Bush less for the attacks. Politicians are willing to fight because they understand how important the 9/11 narrative, just beginning to be really mythologized in the widest broadcast media forms, is and is going to be.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Stine said...

It won't fix things, but getting rid of the electoral college would be a good first step.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

what are we supposed to be doing again?

Same thing you always do, JJ, but with a point. *insert winky here*

I must admit, however, that I would like to see your attack on any right-wing system of thought. I appreciate the pushing and testing, but what better way to educate than by example?

Would, say, a Democratic landslide trump all the dirty tricks?

No, nope, nuh-uh. I'm merely suggesting that a Democratic landslide, should one happen, would be a better alternative than what we've got now. Seeing as EVM's currently favors the right, a change on that level to the left would create the same atmosphere of change and possibility that the right in enjoyed in 1994.

However, crafty businessmen are not averse to quick changes, and there's that old politics/bedmates thing to consider...

But I am not at all convinced that the coming elections will solve the problem of the hijacking of this country.

Agreed, wholeheartedly. I offer no answers either, just the exhortation that change rarely occurs if one simply does nothing but sit back and complain. (an accusation I level at no one in particular, but wish to spread liberally like butter on toast.)

I'm most anxious to find out the results of the coming election. Regardless of the outcome, it will make for some firey times ahead.


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