Monday, August 09, 2004

More on Kerry and other Ruminations

I have a friend in Los Angeles who says we should support Kerry, but hers is the best argument so far. It goes like this:

Kerry offers very little. We know that. In her opinion, the one advantage is that under Kerry, organizers can begin working on ISSUES rather than just AGAINST Bush. This argument, of course, makes one big assumption: that there is some sort of movement that actually will work on a progressive agenda beyond just "Stop Bush."

My fear, of course, is that Kerry will be greeted with a one or two year "honeymoon" in which the same "progressives" who urged us to support him urge us not to attack him so as not to hinder his ability to "get things done." If we aren't "unified", how on Earth will he get enough support to overcome what may still be a Republican majority in Congress? In fact, if he IS elected, he will come under a withering attack from the right as soon as his hand hits the Bible. Probably before. I doubt he will be able to take that pressure. This is what I see happening, and my friend agrees, so she is advocating among progressive organization to do some large scale organizing to have a realistic progressive agenda to push on a rather visionless Kerry. Progressives, she argues, need to be FOR something, and not just AGAINST stuff.

There are other assumptions here, of course. One assumption is that we'll have elections. Another is that there will be some level of correspondence between the votes cast and the announced results. My L.A. friend is not naive, however, and is hoping for a margin of victory high enough that Kerry will be able to overcome vote shenanigans. That's a tough one, because you only need to identify a few swing states with lots of electoral votes up for grabs, adjust your Diebold voting machines to give Bush the slimmest of leads (something in the believable range), add water and poof, you have a victory. Any complaints about vote shenanigans will be filed under C for Conspiracy Theory.

In any event, if you vote for Kerry using this same logic, I suppose I will forgive you.

A few more random notes.

Just after remembering it myself, I saw this article on the episode of "The Lone Gunmen" (The Spin-off from the X-files) in which a "terrorist" takes over a passenger plane by remote control and nearly succeeds in running into the World Trade Center. This episode aired nearly a year before 9/11 and the writers were suprised no one else notice, though the article does not probe into where their idea came from. The writer primarily responsible for that idea was not available for comment.

I also want to point out the strange and tragic death of Athan Gibbs. Gibbs was founder of Truvote, whose sole purpose was to create a voting machine that was electronic and verifiable. His system sounded good. You vote electronically. A paper receipt is displayed under plastic to be confirmed by the voter before being deposited in a locked ballot box for use in possible recounts and you are given a code number to check on the web to see if your vote was recorded correctly. It sounds like the company was making inroads. Unfortunately, Gibbs was killed when he "cut off an 18 wheeler" on I-65 here in Nashville and his car was totalled. I haven't been able to find too many more details on the wreck. It may have been coincidence, but it sure was convenient for the bad guys. As a side note, the African American Pastor Gibbs sounds like he was really a great and sincere man. You can read about Truvote at their websitehere. There is as of yet no mention of Mr. Gibbs' death or whether this will change their plans, though an article in the local press seems to suggest that they may not be able to move forward but will continue to try.

Speaking of electoral fun, I'm having the darndest time getting anyone interested in doing poll monitoring during the election. It's a little strange, though since I am a nobody, perhaps my suggestions are seen as unimportant. I have contacted my local NAACP chapter, People for the American Way, (doing vote monitoring in some states, though I think not Tennessee), claims to be working on nationwide vote monitoring) and my local electoral officials. I have received no responses. From anyone. My local peace group has no interest, siting voter registration as more important. Of course, since you have to stop registering voters well before the elections, the two ideas are not at all mutually exclusive. Perhaps the locals just see me as too curmudgeonly to work with. However, I still think it should be a high priority of activists, especially of the mainstream Democrat variety.

I also think instant run-off voting should be a huge item on the agenda. It works like this: you vote for whichever unlikely third party candidate you want to, but then you make a second choice, which counts in the event that your first choice doesn't win and your second choice would be in a run-off. (Of course, we don't have run-offs for President, so that would need to be changed as well.) That allows you to vote your conscience as well as worry about more pragmatic political issues. I've probably oversimplified it, but that's the gist of it.

Enjoy the meteor showers!


Post a Comment

<< Home