Monday, January 24, 2005

Get over it, my ass!

Voters Unite has put compiled a 70-page report, entitled: Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections. It is billed as, “Essential Information for Those Entrusted with Making Decisions about Election Systems in the United States.” The report, albeit long, is an excellent resource, loaded with facts and references. Don’t leave home without it.

Check out these historic photos from the Ukraine during the Orange Revolution. That is what democracy, and an engaged citizenry with brains and backbones, looks like. Amazing what common citizens can accomplish when they are not consumed watching insipid television programs. Bread and circuses; you know the drill…

Finally, it is with immense disgust that I present you with today’s winner of the Tinfoil Hat Award, given only to those (un)worthy souls who espouse garbage even when confronted with irrefutable facts to the contrary. And the winner is Leonard Pitts Jr., of the Miami Herald, for his editorial: Get over it, Sen. Kerry you lost, so let’s move on. Congratulations Leonard!

In his rousing diatribe, Mr. Pitts’ states: “I don’t want to hear anything else about Ohio.” He then goes on to write: “… what I have yet to hear any credible expert say is that these irregularities [of Ohio] made any material difference to the bottom line.” I can only assume that Leonard’s “credible experts” are more of the Kenneth Blackwell rather than the John Conyers variety, and his “journalism” tempered with yet another case of lazy and/or politically motivated reporting, or worse.

Lest the reader think otherwise, he assures us that he is serious about election reform, and the perpetrators of such heinous crimes should suffer the full weight of the law. How reassuring. He adds: “If we the people lose confidence in the integrity of the elections, we lose pretty much everything.” At least we can agree on that.

Now that he has confirmed his dedication to democracy, he devotes the remainder of his tirade to impugning the motives of the election reform activists, calling it a simple case of “sour grapes” and the Democrats behaving “petty and small.”

One would think that someone with Mr. Pitts self proclaimed cognitive abilities would be able to connect the dots and realize that election reform activists are patriotically attempting to ensure the integrity of future elections, an issue that he proclaims to care deeply about. But alas, this expectation is too ambitious, as Leonard sees no problem with the last election, although he appears to understand the importance of people having confidence in the process. Ah, the rancid smell of hypocrisy. Ain’t cheap talk grand?

Thank God that we have the likes of the noble Leonard Pitts doing his investigative due diligence, assuring us that the Ohio election was fair and balanced. I’m sure his thousands of disenfranchised, black brothers and sisters feel much better now that he assured them nothing was amiss. One is only left to wonder if Mr. Pitts attended the Armstrong Williams School of Journalism?

To save you the trouble of registering at the Miami Herald web site, the above-mentioned commentary follows in its entirety. My deepest apologizes for wasting the electrons.

Posted on Fri, Jan. 21, 2005


It's too late for a replay on the Ohio vote

I don't want to hear anything else about Ohio.

My apologies to the Buckeye State, but I've had it up to here with overheated Internet postings purporting to prove that massive fraud swung the vote in the state that decided the election of 2004. If you haven't seen them, well . . . I'm sorry your hard drive crashed and I hope it's fixed real soon. The rest of us have been unable to escape the nonstop conspiracy theorizing that began about 30 seconds after John Kerry conceded the election.

I thought it had petered out, but this week, the former candidate himself stoked the fire, making unusually sharp accusations of GOP malfeasance during a Martin Luther King Day breakfast in Boston.

Voting machines, said Kerry, were ''distributed in uneven ways,'' and voters in Democratic precincts had to wait up to 11 hours to exercise the franchise while Republicans breezed on through. What he didn't say -- what I have yet to hear any credible expert say -- is that these irregularities made any material difference to the bottom line.

That being the case, why are we having this discussion?


I don't mean by that question to trivialize the issue of election fraud. In a nation that required a Voting Rights Act to ensure all of its citizens equal access to the ballot box, few things are more worthy of serious concern. Election fraud -- whenever committed, by whomever and for whatever purpose -- is a threat to our political system. If we the people lose confidence in the integrity of our elections, we lose pretty much everything.

And if I were convinced that was what moved Kerry to speak out, I'd happily support him. But it seems obvious to me after two months of conspiracy theories that what motivates Kerry and many other Democrats isn't concern over election irregularities in general, but concern over election irregularities that may have benefited the other party.

He's a politician, so maybe it's naive to expect anything else.

Still, the talk has become tiresome. In listening to party loyalists obsess over how the election was ''stolen,'' I'm reminded of something a former colleague, a white guy from the South, once wrote about the Civil War.

''For years after the war,'' he said, ``Southern partisans vainly refought the Civil War battles, particularly the crucial second day of Gettysburg, as if trying to get a different answer to a math problem.''


There is, it seems to me, some of that going on with regard to the election. It's as if Democrats are trapped by hindsight, doomed to crunch that math problem in desperation until the numbers add up to a more palatable sum.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term Thursday.

It's no secret that some of us regard that as a disaster of Brobdingnagian proportions. Fine. There is no legal or moral requirement that anyone be happy about it.

But at this late date we are required to accept it. And to accept this: Unlike in 2001, when he took the oath of office with an assist from the Supreme Court, Bush was not inaugurated this time with any taint of illegitimacy. The election was close, but not that close. George W. is the duly elected, second-term president of the United States.

That some are still working that math problem at this late date, trying to make the numbers add up differently even as Bush places his hand on the Bible, feels petty and small. Feels like sour grapes.

In these next years, we will be tested in ways we can scarcely imagine. Do the Democrats really have the luxury of time to spin conspiracy theories that won't change a thing?

If there is a smoking gun, let's see it. But until and unless there is, we have little to gain from complaints like Kerry's.

It's time to swallow the bitter pill and move on.


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