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Time to Put Democratic Senators on the Hot Seat

After the 2000 presidenial election farce, black representatives in Congress sought vainly to find just one Democratic senator to join them in a call to challenge the Florida electoral vote. None would. This time, those representatives may find more support when they call for a challenge to Ohio's electoral college delegation.

Perhaps the most powerful moment in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9-11" was the stony silence in the hall of the joint session of Congress as a line of African- American and other representatives of color stood up and pleaded in vain for just one senator to issue an official challenge to the Florida electoral college delegation and its vote in favor of candidate George Bush.

This Thursday, we are destined to have a repeat of that dramatic event.

Congressman John Conyers, (D-Michigan), the representative who has chaired hearings into the Republican-led efforts in Ohio to keep people from registering, to keep voters from voting, and to mess with the vote totals to keep the vote for Democrat John Kerry as low as possible--in short the "vote suppression" effort that was deliberately made over the course not just of election day but of the months leading up to the balloting--has vowed to challenge the state's delegation to the Electoral College.

Under the Constitution, it requires only one representative and one senator to initiate a challenge, which would then mandate an official inquiry into the state's election, and delay certification of the national presidential election results.

While it is unlikely, with a Congress firmly in the hands of the Republican Party, with the attorney general's office packed with Bush appointees, and with the FBI run by Republican party hacks, that any serious effort would be made to find out what actually happened in Ohio, such an investigation would at least serve to embarrass Republican officials, and to undermine the ludicrous Bush claim of a mandate for his second term of office.

With so many leading Democrats in Congress and the Democratic National Committee falling over each other calling for a cave-in to Republicans on issues from abortion rights and prayer in schools to social security "reform" and foreign policy, it will be fascinating to see if this time around, somebody on the senate side has the guts to join Conyers in his call for a challenge to the Ohio delegation.

One big difference in the new Senate, which has a net five more Republicans than the last one, is that it has a new black senator, Democrat Barack Obama from Illinois. Obama has not made his views known concerning Conyers' call but he is sure to be at least respectful of this senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. A number of other more liberal members of the Senate--including Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ), the latter eyeing a run for governor in New Jersey where Democratic candidates depend on heavy support in the state's African-American communities--clearly embarrassed by their silence in the widely viewed Moore documentary, may also want to take a stand this time around.

Democrats, particularly in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and New Jersey, but also across the country, may want to send messages to these and other critical liberal senators (how about the number one loser himself, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts?), urging them to heed the call from their African-American colleagues from the House this time, instead of lamely sitting on their hands the way they did in January 2001.

No doubt, thanks to Moore, there will be more than just a private filmmaker's camera in the hall this time around, panning over the Democratic senators in their seats. (Last time, the event didn't even make the news, despite the public passion and controversy over the outcome of the Florida vote in 2000, which is what made Moore's film sequence so striking.)

For the rest of this column, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

homepage: homepage: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

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No one f....s with the Bushes 03.Jan.2005 17:12

but try anyway

The corruption has past a point of no return. Just imagine, psychopath Bush hasn't been inaugurated yet he sends his mafia connected brother, his war criminal father and another war criminal Clinton probably to manage the 350 million in aid money. And no questions raised?

We Can Help 03.Jan.2005 17:23

Den Mark, Vancouver

Good article! In Vancouver, members of Vancouver For Peace & Washington Conservation Voters will meet tomorrow with local staff of Senators Murray & Cantwell & Representative Baird. Our message will be what we've been contacting them about for weeks, that our three congresspeople should support Mr Conyers (my former Rep!). I ask that Washington people phone local offices & DC offices & add to pressure & encouragement. Please do so before Thursday & then repeat that day. I ask that Oregon people do the same with your delegation. The Episcopal Church provides free phone line to Capitol switchboard, 800-270-0309. I'm happy to remember that Congressman Baird walked out with the Black Caucus four years ago. I trust he'd do that again.

People of Justice will NOT "get over it"! And we will NOT go away!

Den Mark, Vancouver

ANY senator who joins Rep. Conyers will be on the HOT SEAT 03.Jan.2005 17:26


the revered, paul wellstone wouldn't do it in 2k & no will in 04.

they know ANY senator who joins conyers will be abandoned by his/her own party. without the backing of their party, its time to look for another job. this is the "HOT SEAT" for career politicians

don't set yourself up for disappointment with"black" illinois senator obama. he takes his orders from folks in the "big house"/DLC , whose backing was a MAJOR factor in his election

i commend Rep Conyers, but the black congressional cacasus does not have ANY influence or power in the dempcratic party. Sadly , they will again be abandoned by dem party "leaders"

letter to Senator X 03.Jan.2005 18:57

Kathleen Mitchell mitchellkat@yahoo.com

Go ahead and use this, or pieces of this, to email senators. Took me a while to write it - I figure maybe it can get re-used a bit.

Dear Senator Wyden,

I urge you - no, I beg you - to please be the Senator who does the right thing and stands up to support any House member who contests the presidential election results from November 2004. I realize this seems like political suicide - many people currently believe that Bush won by a wide enough margin that voting irregularities weren't enough of a factor to change the outcome of the election, and think that those of us who believe in pushing this issue so far as to contest the results of the election are being whiny - but this is the most important thing you could do for our country right now.

I hope that you have been keeping up on this issue - there is a plethora of information out there that suggests that democracy was twisted, thwarted, and undermined in this last election. Voters were prevented from voting, totals were changed, voting machines switched people's votes, and votes for president remain uncounted ( http://freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1065). The people's demand that an audit of the vote take place has been denied or severely delayed in numerous places where an audit is the most necessary ( http://www.votecobb.org/recount/ohio_reports/). In a statistical near-impossibility, the exit poll numbers do not align with the final election results ( http://www.ilcaonline.org/freeman.pdf).

If this does not stop here and now, the breakdown will continue. Eventually no one will know if their vote counts - so why bother to vote? Democracy as we know it will die. The only way the government can continue to function is if the people continue to have faith in it. I beg you to help start the process of restoring my faith in the system.

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