|December 21, 2004|
The Republican Leadership’s Problem With Democracy
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
The Republican Party leadership in the era of George W. Bush seems to be demonstrating a serious problem with the basic concepts of American Democracy. Our Founding Fathers started this nation on the path of greatness by establishing a growing citizen control of our government by use of the vote. For most of our history, our national political story has been one of greater and greater democracy. The greatness of the American experience was historically defined by our democratic processes instead of our military or economic power.
The United States of America was a great nation long before it achieved our current world military and economic dominance. Our military and economic power arose from our true strength which was the commitment of our citizens to our national purposes -- because of the power of the vote! Voting gave the average American a strong personal stake in government policy and national success. The Bush Republican leadership is putting this citizen commitment to our national destiny at serious risk, as they threaten to manipulate our right to self-rule, by playing games with the voting process.
In the last two Presidential elections, Republican Secretaries of State in key swing states (Florida in 2000 and Ohio, Florida, etc. in 2004) have seemingly manipulated voting rolls and regulations before Election Day. They seemed to have sabotaged legal vote recounts after Election Day in the 2000 Florida and 2004 Ohio races. In those two situations, the Republican Secretaries of State were serving as Bush statewide campaign officials while they were seemingly twisting voting regulations to benefit Republicans seeking office.
Republican leaders in most states have engaged in actions both legal and otherwise to limit the opportunities of likely Democratic voters to exercise their voting rights. See: "Stolen Election?" and "Republican Dirty Campaign Tricks 2004." Many of these Republican leaders have used Republican dominance of our federal courts to keep legally cast votes from being counted. Republican dominance of all branches of the federal government has kept investigations into vote fraud from being undertaken in most cases and carefully controlled in many others.
The powerful alliance of our largest media corporations with Bush Republicanism has stifled awareness of the vote fraud issue for most casually informed Americans. Republican buzz words like "conspiracy theory" have routinely been substituted for real investigative journalism. Non-fact based criticism of exit polling has been substituted for real mathematically based analysis of fishy vote totals. The media has been harping on the fictional "Bush mandate" and "morality voting" when real journalism would be examining the serious threat to American Democracy in vote fraud and not having legal votes counted.
The entire American way of life is under attack by a small number of politically and economically powerful leaders in our government, media and some elements of our largest businesses. We have Fox News, Sinclair TV stations, most other major newspapers and TV stations, the corporate controlled Republican Right Wing talk radio programs along with the rest of the Corporate Media all spinning the news we see in ways that make being an informed voter difficult. We are constantly fed the Corporate Republican view on everything. We have almost all voting machines manufactured by companies with close ties to Republican partisans. These companies control our vote counting process often with no auditable paper-trail.
Winning political power can and does put huge amounts of government cash into the hands of politically connected companies. Cheney’s Halliburton has received billions of taxpayers’ dollars as a direct result of Bush Republican policies being pursued after power has been obtained in questionable elections. Many other companies including those involved in culling legal voters from the voting rolls or illegally funding Republican campaigns have directly benefited from government contracts. Trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest of individuals and huge corporations have been granted after these same questionable elections. Monopoly controls over the largest media companies have been weakened as a result of these questionable elections. Environmental regulations, safety standards, health standards and labor laws have all been changed to benefit the Corporate Bush Republicans as a direct result of questionable elections.
It is increasingly looking like our American Democracy and American way of life is being undermined from within by a powerful few for financial profit and political power. We need to protect our national identity and greatness as a nation by having a spirited nation debate on voting. We need to return to our historical traditions of having clean, honest elections with ever expanding control of our government by well-informed average citizens. We need to undertake as our most important national goal to limit the political power and political control of the super-wealthy class or large corporations.
The Party of Lincoln has to begin an internal debate over their commitment to American Democracy versus the desire of powerful leaders and financial backers to achieve power. Republican voters and local leaders need to seize control of their Party from corrupt leaders bent on achieving power at any cost. The average Republican voter, like the average American citizen, values American Democracy and American traditions more than they value any particular group of politicians. Republican leaders will eventually face internal revolt if they continue to hide examples of vote fraud or promote vote suppression. Our American Democracy will definitely destroy any political movement that opposes our tradition of ever-expanding voting rights. The Bush Republicans need to get on the right side of history or face destruction as a political movement in time.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio.
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