Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Democracy is bad for freedom

XX has a good post on the chance of a "July Surprise" to swing this election. Trish draws together a number of undemocratic attempts to rig the election, many no doubt illegal, because retaining their power is obviously more important than retaining our tenous hold on democracy. It would be startling, I think, to look at a detailed list of all the attempts to rig both the 2000 and now 2004 election. As Trish mentions, there's evidence of a "July Surprise". And voting machines that can't be examined by outsiders that manufactured by a diehard Republican. And threats to cancel the election if there's a chance that terrorist threats might swing it to Kerry.
On top of that, I might add that Florida is still suffering from the modern day Jim Crow-style voter roll purges. Thousands of people who are not felons were denied the right to vote in 2000 because their names supposedly were mixed up with those of actual felons. Instead of rectifying the situation, the state coughed up another bogus list of supposed felons to deny at the polls.
And of course, you toss in campaign behavior that may or may not be out and out illegal, but certainly is unethical. For one thing, there's the use of taxpayer funds that should be for other things being routed to campaign events for Bush. The "Mission Accomplished" photo op. The NASCAR race. The campaign materials praising Bush's tax policies in the materials the IRS gives out. The campaign commercials for Bush's Medicare policies paid for by taxpayers.
All this distracts from the fact that Bush's just day-to-day PR-motivated behavior should be enough for people to toss his unprofessional ass out of office. The refusal to answer questions that would take him off-message. The inane non-answers to the questions he actually allows. The ruthless control of the press corps. The telling of outright lies and then the denials of those lies later. The lashing out at those who dare point out that he lied in the first place.
And of course, all that makes it all so easy to forget that the RNC has a privately-owned propaganda wing worth untold billions of dollars. Fox News and the New York Post. Clear Channel. Almost all of talk radio.
All of this is horribly troubling--to half the country. For some fucked-up reason, the other half of the country feels like this is either just fine or that liberals are conspiracy theorists. The latter is what I usually hear when I point out how little respect BushCo has for democracy, that I'm just being a conspiracy theorist.
I imagine that the frustration I feel is similiar to that of people who attacked Nixon for being a crook before it finally dawned on the entire nation that yes, he really did let his people burglarize his opponent's headquarters. I imagine that the first people to get angry about Watergate were dismissed as conspiracy theorists.
What kills me is that Eisenhower is the last Republican who got and held power while managing to respect an open, fair democractic system. (Well, to be fair, Nixon won fair and square the first term, as far as I know.) Nixon's people felt like burglary was justifiable if it got their man in office. Reagan's people felt like they were even more above the law than that--manipulating hostage situations, selling arms to potential terrorists and other outright enemies of our country, helping wage illegal wars where murdering and torturing civilians was standard practice--all these were acceptable if it helped keep themselves in power. Bush I was a member of Reagan's administration, and we all know it's likely he had more of a hand in the manipulative power plays than Reagan himself. And we all know how Bush loyalists in the media, the government of Florida, and the Supreme Court gave him the Presidency he couldn't win on his own.
Alright, I feel better. But if one more Republican voter accuses me of conspiracy theories because it's ridiculous, simply ridiculous, to think that this administration, which is peopled with Nixon's people and Reagan's people, would even think to do illegal/unethical things to undermine our democracy and keep themselves in power, I will blow up.


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