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Political scientist Lawrence Britt identified fourteen characteristics common to fascist regimes around the world. The United States has the dubious distinction of exhibiting all of them. The promotion of nationalism, disdain for human rights, scapegoating of  “enemies,” military supremacy, sexist public policy, media control by the powerful, obsessions with national security, use of religion to manipulate public opinion, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor power, disdain for intellectuals, obsession with crime, and rampant cronyism have all come to full fruition in the last four years.

Britt’s fourteenth characteristic, last but certainly not least, is the prevalence of election fraud. Their man is in trouble, so the 2004 vote theft has begun in earnest. The use of faulty voting machinery, the destruction of Democrat’s voter registration forms, and rulings that suppress voter participation have already taken place. Republican officials across the country are doing everything they can to prevent as many Democratic voters as possible from casting their ballots. The man most likely to play the Katherine Harris role in 2004 is none other than Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary of State.

Derisive terms like Uncle Tom should be used rarely. It is easier to use invective rather than well reasoned debate. Name calling can be an easy out. On the other hand, it works perfectly for the Ken Blackwells of the world. Mr. Blackwell not only has a name filled with irony, but he may have replaced Clarence Thomas as the worst Uncle Tom in the nation.

Blackwell began his descent into turncoat hell by doing everything in his power to suppress the vote in Ohio, one of the so-called “swing states” that will decide this election. He tried to uphold an obscure and seldom enforced law mandating that voter registration forms only be accepted if they were on paper of a certain weight. Blackwell still wasn’t finished. A federal judge ordered him to count provisional ballots that may be cast in the incorrect voting precinct. The legal fights will continue in Ohio and many other states until well after Election Day. It is likely that on November 3rd the outcome may still be unknown.

The voting booth is not the only place where the Bushmen are boldly engaging in thuggish behaviors. Mothers of dead soldiers, teachers and teenagers have all been ejected from or threatened at Bush campaign events if they say, wear or do anything that the Bushies don’t like. A group of teachers in Medford, Oregon wore t-shirts emblazoned with the plea, “Protect our civil liberties.” They didn’t walk in with Kerry/Edwards posters, they just believe that civil liberties are important. Unfortunately, their thoughts are in direct conflict with number two on the fascism top fourteen list. The teachers were told that their shirts were “obscene” and were shown the door.

An 18 year-old Iowan wearing a t-shirt that read, "Bush-Cheney '04: Leave No Billionaire Behind" faced an even chillier reception. He was warned that he ought not have any big ideas about exercising his first amendment rights. He was told, “If you protest, it won't be me taking you out. It will be a sniper.”

What is the standard bearer of the Democratic party doing while teenagers are threatened with execution? He is hunting ducks, or perhaps it is geese. John Kerry is dressing up like Elmer Fudd and shooting any bird that moves in a battle ground state, all in the hopes of getting the gun guy vote. I hope he succeeds. It would be a shame if he dressed up like an idiot and still lost the election.

While the man we want to fight the good fight is fighting game birds, a possible omen of things to come is happening because of flu season. Americans are going to Canada to get the flu vaccine they ought to have here in their own country. If Kerry loses many Americans will flee to Canada. We may become like undocumented Mexicans, sneaking across the border in hopes of finding decent health care and honest elections.

In the spirit of hope, optimism and accuracy it should be pointed out that Kerry has a good chance of winning. Most polls are skewed in favor of Republicans. If the race is allegedly a dead heat it means that Kerry is actually ahead. There have been huge surges in voter registration in swing states. These new voters are overwhelmingly anti-Bush and are unlikely to be included in polls.

Will a President Kerry be up to the challenge from Fox News and a Congress in all likelihood still controlled by Republicans? If his campaign skills are any indication of his governing skills then voting for him on November 2nd won’t be enough. We will have to simultaneously fight his battles for him and take over the Democratic party that has led us to this sorry situation.

If there is a fifteenth characteristic of fascism it is the existence of an extremely lame opposition party, but that must change. This should be the last year that Democratic incumbents get a free ride back into office. In 2006 there should be primary challenges for the Kerryesque members of the House and Senate. If we don’t lay down the law to the people who brought us to this precipice, we will be biting our nails again in October 2008.

As I bite my nails I may be packing my bags for Toronto.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in   Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City.  She can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at



October 28 2004
Issue 111

is published every Thursday.

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