Preparing for a Crooked Election: Angst for Nothin’
Question: What good are democratic solutions if democracy no longer exists? Answer: Good question. For one writer's take on this conundrum, read on.
Damn those Bushies! They've really gone and done it this time. Not only have they stolen another election, thereby placing American democracy within a hair's breadth of disappearing forever, but they've also messed with my very identity as an observer of the country's national political scene. I couldn't stand them before; now I double can't stand 'em. (I'm not sure, but I think I just may have breached the threshold for being reported to Homeland Security.)
Here's my dilemma: For a while now, I have called myself a "political satirist/commentator." While not the catchiest of labels, it is apt. But suddenly, with American democracy being so last couple of centuries and Bushvision now all the rage, I'm a little unclear about how to proceed in a literary sense. It's all so neo to me.
Figuring I might look to history for guidance, I Googled "Mussolini regime top political satirists." Strangely, nothing.
Who'd a-thunk it'd be so hard to make fascism funny?
Even, though, if in sad truth we've long lived in an America where the fix has been in and all efforts at change have been for absolute naught, at least I was unhappily unaware of this and thought my wise-guy, semi-informative scribblings might be helping "the cause" in some small way.
Truly, however, it doesn't matter whether we've been screwed for years or if it's just now become da bomb, because even one fixed election is one too many. Irksome democracy fact #1: it dies the very moment elections are no longer verifiable and fair, and from then on, all the writing, emails, phone calls, protests, actions, and anything else one considers components of a healthy political system (like votes) suddenly matter neither jot nor tittle.
Only because of the persistent and indefatigable efforts of never-say-die Americans does our once-wonderful nation still have one small toe outside the grave: folks like the bloggers on Democratic Underground ( http://www.democraticunderground.com/) who have not let this issue die; Keith Olbermann ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240) as the lone corporate media figure to report regularly on election shenanigans; and patriots like Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org ( http://www.blackboxvoting.org/) who has been, literally, going through Florida's trash and finding missing poll tapes (tossed by mistake, I'm sure). We can only hope that the recounts in New Hampshire and Ohio (and, perhaps, Florida) will lead to the overturning of the election, the perpetrators of the fraud being frog-marched to prison, and John Kerry losing his bizarre, infuriating, newfound reluctance to take his rightful place in the White House. (Don't even get me started.)
Barring that, though, I will personally be left to wonder: What do I do now?
I don't want to just inconsequentially prattle on in an occasionally amusing sort of way while American fascism flowers (if fascism "flowers"), providing dark-edged laughs while my country goes deeper into the rabbit hole. If that's the row I hoe while off to work I go, hi-ho, hi-ho (sorry, got carried away there; just practicing for the gulag), I then just become another part of the obsequious machine, a sort of court jester for the Axis of Weevils, a.k.a. the Bush clan.
Being cognizant, I will not be a cog.
One thing of which I am sure: No matter the venue or how my message evolves, I will keep writing. I am a writer; a writer is what I am, and a writer I shall continue being. I write, then I write again, and if there's time, I write some more. (I could elaborate but don't want to overdo it.)
It is paramount that I not lose sight of the primary reason I picked up the pen in the first place. Well, not the pen, exactly, but rather the word processor, but even that's not totally accurate, because, really, how am I gonna write that way -- just pick up the keyboard and shake words out of it? That's kind of silly.
Where was I? Oh, yeah: Anyway, my main aim, by airing whatever message I may have at any given time, has always been to try to help get America headed in the correct direction again.
Oh, sure, the attendant worldwide acclaim, fabulous riches, and non-stop groupies that typically accompany the career of your average political satirist/commentator are kind of nice. But though "the lifestyle," as some of my more jaded comrades call it, is a veritable hoot and decidedly decadent, it is not an end unto itself. (Note, especially to wife: This is what is known as "extreme artistic license.")
Again, though, the challenge is: where do I journalistically go from here to try to make a positive difference? It seems pointless trying to espouse democratic solutions when democracy no longer exists; it's akin to suggesting an anger management class to your neighbor after he's killed his family.
Well-meaning, certainly, but a smidgeon moot.
America is now in uncharted political territory, and so naturally, for activists of all stripes, there'll be a shakedown cruise. Some, especially those on ships headed for, say, Fiji or Finland, may not be coming back, but for those of us who stay, we got some 'splorin' to do right here at home.
The answers shall come. We'll find our paths, even if they lead underground for some. (I sure hope I'm not among that group, because I don't do well in dank, dark, smelly sewers with rats and spiders and monsters and stuff in them, especially if I have to slosh through disgusting yuck while lugging around a big old typewriter, because that's what I would need if I were going to keep writing since there's no electricity down there for a computer and even if there were, I'm sure the government would be hip and easily able to trace anything I'd send out and then . . . well, I think you see where I'm going with this.)
Now, in a nod to at least faux maturity, I will say that, unlike the Infallible and Chosen One (one guess only), I do know I can be wrong, and when I am, I freely admit it. It happened once in 1979, and possibly in 1985, too, although I could be wrong about that, in which case, I'd be wrong now which I would admit if I had to -- freely, of course.
What I'm saying in a strange, perhaps even understandable sort of way, is that it is possible -- though, I think, highly improbable -- that the election was on the square. If so, it's truly a measure of how bass-ackwards everything is now that I would actually be, in a brain contortion worthy of an M.C. Escher drawing, relieved, since it would mean that Americans could yet eventually -- theoretically, at least -- have a shot at electing a competent human being, or a reasonable facsimile, or even an unreasonable fat simian, as president of the United States someday. I try not to think about this too much, though, 'cause it means, in effect, I am hoping Bush actually did get more votes than Kerry.
This does kind of bring up the depressing but inescapable fact that whether the election was rigged or not, tens of millions of Americans, for whatever reasons, still voted for Bush, a fact that has also put a real damper on what otherwise should have been a joyful occasion: SETI's first contact with extraterrestrials. Wouldn't you know it? We connected with life forms on another planet who'd caught a gagging whiff of our "election" results, leaving them scratching their huge heads with their extended arms and gecko-like fingers (all aliens look the same, apparently).
They promptly hung up.
Be that as it may: This harebrained fair election/future decent president hypothesis is probably fatally flawed regardless, since it doesn't consider the unlikelihood that four more years of Dubya, independent of his (il)legitimacy, will somehow leave intact any viable political opposition, but, hey, in this real-life Twilight Zone we now occupy, ya gotta scratch for whatever positive news you can find.
Besides, I'm in favor of just about anything that will keep me out of those sewers a little while longer.
Ah, hope. There's still a small sliver of time to validate (or refute) the suspicions of those of us who smell something rotten in Diebold. My best guess, though, is, unfortunately, that no matter how painstaking the research nor how much proof, documentation, and testimony are provided to prove the 2004 election theft, Bush will remain in office.
Because, tell me: Do you really think the Bushies will give up power, no matter what comes their way?
My point exactly.
So, depending on time and events, I may continue to connect with you, dearest readers, in more open forums like this one, or perhaps I will be seeing you "down below." If it's the latter, please don't forget your galoshes.
And, as long as you're making the trip: Could you maybe remember to bring some typing paper, too?
Copyright © 2004 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
Published originally in Online Journal. http://www.onlinejournal.com/
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