[Hpn] After the election

Anitra Freeman anitra@speakeasy.org
Thu, 07 Dec 2000 14:30:30 -0800 (PST)


Just some thoughts ...

Right for the wrong reasons, but maybe Ralph Nader was right. Certainly
George W. Bush's behavior in attempting to usurp the American Presidency
during the 2000 elections - blocking manual recounts of punch-card
ballots when he knows machine counts of such ballots are fulty because
he signed a Texas law requiring manual recounts in close elections -
has enraged at least half of the American people. 

Congress is going to be split 50-50 for the first time in memory. If the
Pretender goes to the White House, Joe Lieberman goes back to the Senate
- with no motivation whatsoever for cooperating with Republicans on
anything. My fears of George W. appointing a slate of Supreme Court
Judges who will reverse Roe vs Wade and other progressive precedents may
be lightened by the prospect of deadlocked battle in Congress over every
appointment. Similarly, it would also be impossible to pass any
regressive legislation - including George W's proposed tax gifts to the
wealthy.

For the next two years, politicians are going to be scrambling to
correct voting problems from outdated punch-card machines to
registration barriers to the Electoral College. Some cynics say that
American voters have a short attention span, and two weeks after the
Inauguration we will all be back to watching the Sports Channel instead
of CNN and everybody will forget fixing the voting procedures until the
next time we have problems during an election. But I think we can trust
at least some once and future candidates to recognize that the trend of
close elections is only beginning, and that their own self-interest is
served by improving the turnout to the polls and the accuracy of vote
counts - at least for those who will vote for them. And once one group
is doing it, those of other parties have to get into the competition. 
And two years from now a wave of angry voters are going back to the
polls. My bets are on Democrats and Progressives taking a majority of
open seats in the House and the Senate in 2002.

If Al Gore does pull the election out of the mud at the last bell, it
will be just as impossible for his administration to pass progressive
legislation in the next two years. An angry Republican half of the
Congress and an angry Republican half of the voters are going to be
calling *him* The Great Pretender, blocking legislation and court
appointments, and working toward winning in 2002 and 2004.

Either way, the majority of people have a stronger interest in politics
today than we have had in 30 years. The importance of each individual
vote has never looked as large, with whoever goes to the White House
winning it by the number of voters in a large high school.

There will be a great deal of work for progressives to do in the next
two years, and a great possibility of succeeding at it. 

Many voters have been outraged by George W, but Al Gore has not
successfully spoken for our outrage and gotten us behind him. I feel as
abandoned by Al Gore as I feel robbed by George W. and betrayed by Ralph
Nader, and many people I know feel the same.

Any group that does step up to speak for that sense of outrage and
promise to "throw the bastards out" could be swept into political power
on the tide. 

That makes this a dangerous time as well as a promising time. It is a
time when a Dr. King could fire people for justice, or a Robespierre
could fire people to a Time of Terror, or anything in between.

Of all the times when we must speak up and be politically active, it is
now.

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman / http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/
"We can't help everyone.  We can't fix everything.  It hurts. 
 But it is better to live with pain than to live without caring."