Mark Drolette: Keep Those Cards And Letters Comin'
Keep Those Cards And Letters Comin', Folks
By Mark Drolette
Wonder of wonders! The story that's been treated like kryptonite by the American corporate media -- the possible theft of the U.S. presidential election by the GOP (the moral values party) -- is finally leaking into the news stream.
Granted, "news stream" is used here in the loosest possible way (like how today's U.S. media do their job). I refer to letters to the editor about the election tomfoolery printed recently in a couple of newspapers: the Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle.
There's no denying this is a stretch that would make the superhero Elongated Man proud. But we're in a new world these days, folks. This is not your father's America, although it may be your father's fatherland if, say, your father was a Nazi -- but that's another story. (Or, perhaps it really isn't, considering Dubya's granddaddy, Prescott Bush, while not a Nazi himself, had no problem doing business with anyone who was.)
Honestly, though, it's not a reach to claim that folks alerting others of the all-out assault on our democracy is where salvation for our foundering system must begin. It sure ain't gonna be a top-down affair since it's the top-downers themselves who, if indeed the election was rigged, are the very ones who rigged it.
We, the people -- or, the riggees - must speak now, or forever hold our Ps and Qs (lest we face some future draconian Fatherland -- er, Homeland -- Security sanction).
Speaking of speaking, some quotes from the letters follow. The wiseacre remarks are mine, naturally. (I'm not laughing at these fine folks; I'm crying with them.)
"We're.sick of how mainstream media think that honest elections are less important than the Virgin Mary appearing on a cheese sandwich. Whatever happened to 'investigative journalism'?" -- David B. Jacobson, El Dorado Hills, California
David! Where have you been, man? For today's reporters, the cheese sandwich story IS investigative journalism. Besides, ferreting out information about the 2004 (s)election just looks like too much, well.work.
"How on Earth can we pretend to spread democracy abroad if we can't even get it right here?" -- Norm Gold, Sacramento
I wasn't aware we were even still pretending to spread democracy. Doesn't everybody know the Bushies are just kidding about that one-- in an imperialistic, mass-murdering, joking sort of way, of course?
"In Volusia County [Florida], which relied upon optical scan ballots, Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org discovered the certified poll tapes from the counting machine in a garbage bag behind the elections' office warehouse." -- Bill Kopper, Davis, California
This does look bad, but think how much worse it would be if Florida hadn't cleaned up its act after 2000. Besides, certified poll tapes are awfully bulky and take up a lot of space needed for other things, like, say, fake poll tapes.
"Take our 'democracy' -- please!" -- Henny Youngman, (no city given)
Um.it's possible I made this one up. I retort, you decide.
Will sending letters to newspapers save our besieged country? This is a poser, but after consultation with experts and the Magic 8 Ball, I'd have to say: "Ask again later." I mean: "Hell, no."
But it's better than not sending them. If American democracy has a chance of surviving this Bush-induced hell, it will be a total grass roots affair -- the grassiest and the rootsiest.
Every step, from the tiniest on up, must be taken by citizens to raise the largest stink possible about the election chicanery. The hope is that some wannabe Bernward or Woodstein will catch wind and perform some honest-to-goodness investigative reporting, forcing the American torporate media to cover the story by dint of its sheer impact, one akin to getting smacked in the kisser with a big, wet mackerel. (Uh, it's probably time to lay off the dime novels.)
I suggest we bug the crap out of our senators and representatives, too, to not only demand a thorough investigation of the whole sordidness, but because of the drop-dead date of January 6, 2005. Although all states' electoral votes will be certified December 13, January 6 is the day the votes actually become official after their counting in a congressional joint session.
This is also the moment electoral votes' legitimacy, from one or more states, can be challenged via an objection signed by one representative and one senator (per Chapter 1, Section 15 of Title 3, United States Code).
Once it is "received and read," both the Senate and House then separately consider the objection. If each house independently decides the objection is merited, they can then concurrently perform a gang kibosh on the electoral votes gone wild. (U.S. Code is slightly more formal.)
Viewers of Fahrenheit 9/11 likely remember the scene where, according to Wikipedia, "19 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (and one other representative)" strode to the podium during the 2000 electoral votes' counting to challenge Florida's batch, needing just one senator's signature to legitimize their objection.
Nary a solon came forward.
"Nothing's changed," one might say. "The GOP controls both houses," one might say next. "Even if a representative and a senator did object, there's no way even one chamber, let alone both, would invalidate a state's votes," one might glumly finish, probably with one's lips forming a barely perceptible yet undeniable little frown.
Frowneth not, sayeth I! By January 6, the Ohio recount should be concluded. If the recount, other investigations, and/or lawsuits there (or elsewhere) bear fraud fruit, how would even the Republicans sell their acceptance of such tainted balloting to the American public?
They'd undoubtedly try, because, after all, they are Republicans (or, more accurately, grotesque, soul-eating creatures assuming Republican form). Even so, 'twould be a hard sell even for them to convince Americans to acquiesce given indisputable proof of electoral skullduggery.
Is it realistic to expect at least one congressperson and one senator to actually put country before self-interest in this sorry day and age? Good question; stay tuned.
Meanwhile, send those letters to the editor -- please!