November 19th, 2004

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Democracy in Question

Published on Thursday, November 18, 2004 by Inter Press Service

US Election: Democracy in Question

by Ritt Goldstein

STOCKHOLM - John Zogby, president of the polling firm Zogby International, told IPS he has been calling it "the Armageddon election" for about a year. Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader believes the Republican Party was able to "steal it before election day."

Facts suggest something went very wrong on Nov. 2.


"What they 'do' is minorities," Nader said, highlighting the thrust of Republican efforts, "and make sure that there aren't enough voting machines for the minority areas. They have to wait in line ... for hours, and most of them don't. There are all kinds of ways, and that's why I was quoted as saying, "this election was hijacked from A to Z," Nader told IPS.

That is an important part of the collapse of our democracy.

Zogby was concerned about the difference between some of the exit polls (surveys of individuals who have just cast ballots) and the official vote counts. "We're talking about the Free World here," he pointedly noted.

Maybe soon that problem will be solved, when Americans no longer are "free."

Anyone who says I'm overreacting needs to ram their head against something, if it takes that to stimulate their cerebral cortexes. Habits of "thought" that have worked, sort of, for our whole lives no longer are adequate. They will get us killed. Me, you, everybody.

"Something is definitely wrong," said Zogby.


"People are deeply concerned that this is the end of American democracy, that we cannot get a fair election," Wasserman said, poignantly adding, "there was no question of apathy in this election--we had more volunteers than could be used ... thousands and thousands of grass-roots volunteers."

My wife has spent the last four years worrying that the Bushists would steal the election, and I would try to reassure her by saying the exit polls would tell us if something went wrong. Then in 2002 the exit polls were shut down, so I had more trouble devising reassurance. Then, this year, the exit polls show something went wrong, but it appears the Leader's inauguration will proceed anyway.

With American democracy, until now, providing an effective model for many, as Zogby said, "we're talking about the Free World here."

I suppose this means it is not just the responsibility of Americans to restore American democracy; the whole world has that responsibility. How can they help? How can Canadians and Latin Americans and Europeans and Asians and Africans and Australians and all the rest of the inhabited world help?

Help us get rid of the voting machines. Please, help us get rid of the voting machines.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

No surprise

I would like to talk, as I may have done before in this journal, about
terrorist attacks on American soil.

One morning nearly a decade ago, I got out of bed, went to the
kitchen, turned on the television, and saw the wrecked building in
Oklahoma City. It was a federal government building. I called my
wife at work and told her that neo-Nazi, "tax-protestor" types had
blown up a federal government building in Oklahoma City. Not only was
I not shocked, I correctly knew the culprits would be hateful white
Americans.  I knew because of the educational efforts of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I've been to the Oklahoma City bombing site, to see the memorial. It
is excellent, in the way an essay is improved when you remove stuff,
to say more with less.

That was in 2000, therefore before the 9/11 attacks. On 9/11/01, I
figured the terrorism came from another source, not from white guys
with homemade "license plates." Again, I was not shocked that there
were attacks. Indeed, the attacks were not as numerous and ongoing as
I'd expected that day, and I was pleased that the attacks ended and no
nuclear bombs were involved. However, I was, shall we say,
astounded that the buildings collapsed. That required some recovery,
because I had not known the effects of fire on steel buildings.