This is one of the most troubling, enraging things I've ever read about our political system. It's a story of outrageous, shocking Republican vote fraud, vote suppression, and outright criminal behavior. It credibly calls into question the legitimacy of not only the 2000 election, but that of 2002 and 2004. It is a dire warning of what is happening to our democracy, as the Republicans have hijacked it and bent it to their own ugly, dishonest ends. I know I often take an urgent tone in my postings, an urgency driven by my profound anxiety for the future of our beloved country, but this is indeed something you should read. Some brief excerpts among the author's MANY examples and observations of Republican fraud:
It [Election Day] was a long hard day. I stayed at the EP headquarters from 6:00 in the morning until 8:30m that evening. I don't think I had one minute to myself that entire time.
One of the last phone calls I fielded was from a volunteer who had witnessed some election officials carrying the official ballot box at her precinct into a room where no one else could see what was going on. When she was prevented from following she called me. I asked her if any Democratic poll watchers had been present as the box was carried off. She said she wasn't sure but that she'd try to check. She called back in a little bit to say she couldn't be sure, but that now the ballot box had been taken out to someone's car and placed in his trunk. She had noticed that the official seal had been broken before the man got in his car to leave.
It doesn't seem right. Should I follow him? she asked me.
It was late. I knew she's been there all day in the rain. I knew the early reports had Kerry winning Ohio (and much of the rest of the country) based on the exit polling. Most of all I was tired and ready to get back to my Hotel and get some dinner. I made an executive decision.
No, don't worry about it, I told her. I'm sure one of the Democratic Party observers knows what's going on. Come on back.
Are you sure? She asked. Yeah, I'm sure. Just write up a report when you get back. She said okay, and hung up.
Later that night, sitting on my hotel bed, watching TV as the "official" returns came in, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Miraculously, stunningly, what had appeared to be an easy Kerry victory was fading away leaving behind a bitter taste in my mouth, as state after state switched from the Kerry column to the Bush column. I kept remembering that last phone call. A gnawing anxiety, fueled by my guilty conscience, began worming its way through my gut. I'd made the wrong decision. I'd fucked up big time. I finally turned off the television around 1:00 a.m. too depressed to keep watching.
In the weeks and months that followed I read as much as I could about the trail of "dirty tricks" by Republican operatives, the myriad of "irregularities" that somehow always favored Bush over Kerry, the affidavits from voters of intimidation, long lines, etc., that made it difficult to vote if you lived in a Democratic precinct, and all the various statistical analyses that tended to show just how improbable Bush election had been. But I didn't need convincing at that point. I already knew the election had been stolen.
I'd know since that night lying on a bed in a Hilton Hotel, far from my family and friends. Known even before I got a call from my daughter, in tears over Kerry's defeat, and anxious for her older brother, about what a Bush victory could mean for his future. I knew because I'd just been a witness to it. Nothing I'd done had prevented it. Not the money I contributed, nor the time I had put in as a volunteer. Not one damn thing.
...at present we are at the mercy of a silent coup. One where the media and the leadership of the Democratic Party have been effectively muzzled. One that is watered by a spigot of corporate money pouring into the coffers of Republican politicians and lobbyists. And one that is beholden to the radical agenda of certain fundamentalist right wing Christian pastors whose congregations provide the organizational muscle to pull it off. People ask if this is really happening why don't the Democratic leaders believe it? I think they do. I think Al Gore and John Kerry both know their presidencies were taken from them. And I think many of their fellow Democrats believe it too. But they're afraid to talk about it, afraid of destroying their political careers should they ever dare to speak about what they know to be true. So I'm writing this diary to let them know that I believe that these elections have been stolen. And there are many more like me. We'll have their backs if they ever have the guts to do what Mark Crispin Miller and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have done, which is simply to speak the truth. Our elections are a sham and its about time more people started saying so, inside the Democratic Party, and out in the progressive net roots. Because until we conquer our fear of this topic, until we confront our denial of the truth, we have no hope of taking back our country from the criminals and fanatics that are now in charge.
I hope you'll join me.
You better believe I will. How about you?