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“It's not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by almost a million votes.”Greg Palast, November 1, 2004

On January 6, 2005 the United States Congress certified the results of the election that took place last November 2nd and declared that George W. Bush had been duly elected president. They certified a lot more than an election outcome. It is now official. This nation has become the world’s most powerful banana republic. Perhaps the Bush family will have presidents for life, just like the Duvaliers in Haiti.

America is governed by one party rule, the press does not dare provoke that one party, the opposition party is afraid to oppose, the wealthy are getting wealthier by using the national treasury as their private piggy bank, civil liberties are under assault, workers think themselves lucky to earn starvation wages at Wal-Mart, and the man nominated to become the chief law enforcement official in the land has put in writing that torture is not such a bad thing after all.

Of course a defining issue for any banana republic is a non-existent or corrupt electoral system. For the second presidential election in a row thousands of Americans were denied their right to vote or voted without the certainty of knowing that their ballots would be counted.

It is very disturbing indeed when urban legend becomes fact. Every black American with internet access has received a hyperbolic mass email declaring that they will soon lose their voting rights. The email tells us that we will lose our right to vote in 2007 unless the Voting Rights Act is extended.

Whoever started that email should get busy and send us an update. We have lost our right to vote because of arcane rules about provisional ballots being cast in the proper precinct. We have lost our right to vote in the state of Ohio when voting machines sit in storage on Election Day and thousands go home without voting because they could not or would not stand on line for hours. We have lost the right to vote when the state of Florida can falsely claim that thousands of law abiding citizens are felons and thus keep them from getting anywhere near a voting booth.

The denial of voting rights has become acceptable. The chicken hearted opposition are more afraid of looking like sore losers than they are of actually being winners. They could be liberated by the knowledge that they have nothing left to lose and go down fighting. They obviously don’t agree, preferring to labor in the shadows and pretend that they have done a great thing because they go through the motions of asking Alberto Gonzales to disavow torture but then admit they will vote to confirm him.

The losing leadership doesn’t even have the decency to shut up. Terry McAuliffe continues to brag that he is as good a corporate bag man as his Republican counterparts. Credit must be given where it is due. At least the Republican political whores know how to win elections. McAuliffe is both a political whore and a political loser.

John Kerry has done McAuliffe one better. It is probably fitting that he cut and ran so that he didn’t have to suffer in person on January 6th. He ran from Congress and didn’t stop running until he got to Iraq to visit the troops. Before he took off he publicly stated that he would not join in opposing the Ohio electors and gave us another reason to shake our heads in dismay:

“I will not be taking part in a formal protest of the Ohio Electors. Despite widespread reports of irregularities, questionable practices by some election officials and instances of lawful voters being denied the right to vote, our legal teams on the ground have found no evidence that would change the outcome of the election.”

How do you both acknowledge irregularities and “questionable practices” and also conclude that the outcome was correct? In general one should not agree with Republican talking points, but the term flip flopper does come to mind at moments like these. 

It certainly must be true that God has a sense of humor because Kerry also planned to observe an election in Palestine. Hopefully the Palestinians don’t have to deal with Ken Blackwell or provisional ballots. If they do they certainly won’t be able to count on Kerry to put up a fight for them.

As usual it is black America that fights for justice when no one else is willing to do so. Congressman John Conyers took the lead in investigating the Ohio vote theft. His colleague Stephanie Tubbs Jones took to the floor of Congress and formally announced opposition to the certification of Ohio’s electoral votes.

The rest of the Democrats made a timid showing on the day they should have fearlessly gone into the breach. Senator Barbara Boxer had the decency to join with her House colleagues and protest the Ohio vote theft. She was the only Senator who took a stand and spoke up for justice.

A banana republic can change if its citizens are willing to fight. The Democratic party certainly can’t be counted on to defend social security, our right to vote or our civil liberties. If the rank and file continue to support worthless Democrats we can look forward to inaugurating Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jeb Bush four years from now, assuming that we still have elections at all.

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


January 13 2005
Issue 121

is published every Thursday.

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