Coastal Post Online

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January 2001

Florida Fraud Picks Bush For President

By Stephen Simac
After two years of campaigning and raising money, George Bush was rented for twice as much corporate funding as Al Gore. Even with that advantage he managed to sell less than half the American public on Republican soap. It took thirty six days of wrestling with alligators in Florida and the will of 5 Supremes to make him president of the United States by legal fiat.

He didn't win it by bringing more Americans to the polls to buy his product, that much was clear. Not much else was. To have a national election for President decided by the Alzheimer's' vote and Florida fraud was frustrating to the rest of the country. There wasn't much firm ground down there in the swampy politics of Florida, the Sunshine State. Election fraud is woven into the state flag, the weft for the warp of its red Confederate bars.

If anyone made out like bandits during the countdown struggle, it was the lawyers and the news media. The people got a civics lesson from the electoral college with history and legal professors on every channel. Most citizens decided the method was bunk, leftover from when slaveowners constitutionally got an extra 3/5 vote per slave.

It's a little different now. In Florida 3/5 of the descendants of slaves who wanted to vote didn't get their votes counted. This Supreme Court wasn't concerned about equal protection for them, only Bush voters.

Equal Justice For Sale

The best possible spin is that democracy works if you can afford it. Bitter political enemies kiss and make up before the Christmas shopping season is over. When the Supreme court calls a statistical tie in Florida in favor of their boy, Bush, the people accept the Rule of Law meekly. By now we at least understand the rules are as fuzzy as Georgie's math.

Gore did quote the defeated Democrat opponent of Republican president Abraham Lincoln in his concession speech. A year or so later the War of Secession was begun by Democrats. Perhaps it is time for northern and coastal states to secede from the bible belt states. We're basically supporting them like needy cousins who always want more. The national wealth flows consistently southward, most of it through military teats and pork.

We are definitely not one nation in ideology, and the middle ground is so narrow that two candidates couldn't quite fit on it.

For a while arcane details of election law were discussed by the relentless press and their talking heads. There was almost no investigative journalism of the fraud and irregularities. It was a short heady fling with American history and partisan politics.

Even people who didn't vote, became political pundits after the polls closed on that weird Tuesday. Everything began veering off script that night after the moon rose. First Gore won Florida, then Bush won it, then it's no man's land.

Cognitive Dissonance

Along about the time of the recanted concession call Gore had been up for over 72 hours, campaigning on Ritalin and NoDoze. He'd been crisscrossing Florida those last days and nights, trying to touch the silver heads of every senior, offering them free drugs. Many must have binged early on election day.

It was suspicious all right, with Bush's cousin at Fox "News" calling his win in Florida. Who called Gore's win earlier before the polls closed? Bush's brother in Florida was determined to hand his brother 25 electoral votes fair by hook and crook. His secretary of state shore looked good not using her discretion.

Entertainment wise, it was like a three ring circus for five weeks. The lawyers, the make-up, the dimpled chads, the hounds of the press, the half hearted protests, the candidates who couldn't work up much passion in any but the most partisan.

It aroused some voters, it jaded others. We might get some electoral and campaign finance reform out of this, maybe not. Americans have a short attention span. No prediction for two years from now is worth much, except that Dick Cheney's heart will be in worse shape.

We could learn from the past, but it's unlikely. People twist everything around to support their point of view, and ignore whatever doesn't. It helps keeps us from curling up in the fetal position in face of the almost overwhelming complexity of reality, but that's why we keep repeating history.

Bush Lite, Less Filling

George Bush, and Dick Cheney, is this veja du? We've never seen anything quite like this before. We should bipartisanly pray they don't start WW III.

Voters and non-voters, elected officials, expert opinioneers and appointed justices twisted or ignored any facts that got in the way of believing their side rightfully won. The Republicans had to work harder, since their guy actually lost.

Gore would have won Florida, if the divining rod for voter's intent was left in Democratic hands. Bush held the Republican trump cards in the Supreme Court and five of them said State's Rights be damned, in this case only.

Gore lost by trying to win Florida, in spite of formidable odds, not the least being the Governor brother. If he'd spent that much time in Tennessee, Arkansas or Colorado, he'd be swiping his card at the transition office now.

Gore deserved to lose for the way his followers attacked Ralph Nader for even running and environmentalists for even thinking about voting for Ralph. They were undemocratic and arrogant with their confidence in Gore's environmental values sadly misplaced. You can't change corporate influence by voting for it.

Why not recruit more voters from the half of Americans who didn't even vote, instead of blaming supporters of another party? Probably because surveys of non-voters show that half are reasonably politically aware, but would probably vote for a third party if they went to the polls. Easier to keep 'em at home.

It's Your Responsibility, Idiot

I have no sympathy for the legions of apathetic. They claim the rights of citizenry but not even the basic responsibility. I feel like slapping people who've never even seen a ballot, when they tell me there's no real choice. About the only way you can get people to vote for third parties is to confuse them with butterfly ballots. Yet it's the only way real change will happen.

It's a pity that corporations and millionaires supporting a lightweight like Bush could spend their way into the White House, even if they had to steal it. How do you convince half of Americans that either Bush or Gore is going to represent the public interest over the private interests of their financial stakeholders? With television advertising based on focus groups and surveys of likely voters.

Professional campaigners calibrate the buzz words, promises and phrases that hypnotize the electorate into voting for one pitchman or another. Busch or Budweiser, Coke or Pepsi.

Every little backwater county may get high tech voting machines out of this, but unless we reform how Americans vote and politicians campaign with structural changes, then only the richest Americans will have a representative democracy.

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