Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Another year, another stolen election

I'm not sure why I am surprised, but I am. I mean, all the signs were there. Republicans posing as Democrats and undecided voters to try to sway opinion. Threats of eligibility challenges to keep voters home. And of course, malfeasance in Florida. Absentee ballots (around 60,000) from a predominantly Democratic county disappeared somewhere along the way. And many more did not get delivered to the requestors until election day, in spite of being due last night. Governor Jeb Bush was understandably concerned about the disenfranchisement possibility. "Canadian geese migrate south in the winter. The ACLU sued the state of Florida on Election Day," the governor said. "No big deal." The ACLU is hoping to extend the deadline for these voters to the same date as the out of the country absentee voters, which is November 12.

Which brings me to another point. There are more ballots outstanding in two states that could swing the outcome than the margin or Bush's lead. In Ohio, a large portion of these uncounted votes are from Democratic strongholds. In Florida, the disenfranchised come from Broward and Miami Dade. I'm pretty sure those are Democratic as well. With that in mind, how can either state be called? And why on Earth is Kerry conceding? Didn't Edwards say they would not rest until every vote has been counted? I can't think of a better way to let someone know to stop counting than to declare a winner.

Equally troubling is what this means for American politics. Misleading ads, outright lies, and manipulating the electorate have all been proven as viable strategies. Young people registered and came out in record numbers, only to find out that it didn't make a difference. What will that do to youth activism next time around? The flow of money into the elections increased to over $4 BILLION this election cycle. Think campaign finance reform worked? Exit polling showed a sleeper issue was on people's minds: moral values. And somehow, the people who lied, cheated, and manipulated through fear are seen as holding the high ground on moral values. A while back, there was a poll about whether or not America was a Christian nation. I think the answer today has to be a resounding YES. We are no longer a representative Democracy, we are now a representative Theocracy. Sure, you are allowed to practice whatever religion you want, but only one religion is sponsored by the government. Faith based spending goes to Christianity. The Christian right dictates policy on anything from interpersonal relationships to history to science.

For those who think we aren't in a Theocracy, wait until Bush gets his Supreme Court appointments. He'll appoint a few more Thomases and Scalias. The line between church and state will blur further. School prayer cases will make a comeback. Roe v. Wade is gone. People with no medical background will create a legal definition of when life begins. And it will be legal for the government to give tax dollars of all Americans to Christian groups. I give you, George W. Bush's legacy.