Thursday, October 06, 2005

people cheat -- but would they STEAL ELECTIONS?

Which is the more believable claim:

(i) All people are totally honest and when offered opportunity, motive and access to steal vast amounts of money and power -- they will abstain.
(ii) Some people are not-honest, and when given the opportunity, motive and access -- will steal in order to attain vast amounts of money and power.

If you're not worried about Election Fraud, (vote stealing, election rigging...whatever) then you are probably one of the honest people who would abstain if given opportunity, motive and access to steal vast amounts of money and power.

Given that YOU are an honest person, which is more realistic:
(i) that "all people" are like you and the ones who aren't are statistical noise; or
(ii) Not everyone is like you, and cheating in order to attain vast amounts of money and power is a possibility.

Election Fraud isn't a conspiracy theory, like little green men or Santa Claus (which is a real conspiracy, I have proof). It's a tried and true American tradition.

I was a fresh young college student once studying political "science." I thought, "science! Finally how things REALLY work." Semester after semester of Plato's Republic, Seminars on Central America -- writing Amnesty International letters -- nothing. No science. No insight into "how things REALLY work."

Then I had my moment of clarity -- a Model UN Security Council competition -- where I really woke up from my slumber.

Literally.

The competition was in Boone, NC. My team was me and this chain-smoking cracker adult student -- lets just call her Tina. We were Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and we sat next to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) -- this cute guy with sparkling green eyes and olive skin. Since we weren't permanent members and therefore likely wouldn't "win" the competition, we Germans made quick friends.

The first day we lost a shit-load of ground b/c we weren't in on the caucus action. It took us all day to realize it, but people were making deals behind the door for real shit -- cigarettes, money, sports tickets -- you name it. I was flabbergasted. The Soviet Union was the worst offender -- he was an asian evil genius who drove a muscle car. That night I went to the "social," and after seeing our faculty sponsor (an elderly ex-Anglican priest who looked like a Catholic Opus the Penguin) doing a rather good Mashed Potato to "Walk, Don't Run," I decided it was time for bed.

That night I awoke to the sound of Germany reuniting. My team mate apparently brought GDR back to the room to "caucus." They caucussed all damn nite. The caucussed on the bed. They caucussed on the floor. I eventually had to seek asylum in France's (this really sweet gay guy who travelled alone) double room.

By the end of the competition we had somehow taken Third Place. I gave Tina the ribbon. She deserved it. On the way back over the mountain we stopped at a "yard sale" sign attached to a school bus. It looked like the peddlers actually lived in this bus by the side of the road in Banner Elk. I bought a yellow plastic peace symbol for 10 cents. I still have it.

There's all kinds of cheating.

Maybe you didn't see the long lines in 2004. Lines that are more than an hour long aren't just an inconvenience, they're an obstacle. When Florida scrubbed 92,000 minorities from voter rolls, it wasn't just bad accounting -- it threw the election. PRIVATIZED voting machines with "proprietary software" isn't a modern technological advance -- it's a cloak of secrecy.

People cheat.

Back in the day, my father-in-law -- "possum cop" in the mountain of Upper East Tennessee -- fought election fraud the good old-fashioned way: following the ballots. He has tales. Multiple ballot boxes. Dumped ballots. Polling place violence. And (it's an oldie, but a goodie) flyers in the Democratic hollars that advertised inaccurate election dates.

Not everyone is honest.

See with the eyes of a thief for just a moment. Walk into a store and shoplift whatever strikes your fancy. Hone your craft. Notice how "stores" lose their meaning as takers of your money. Now, they are simply a resource. You can pay or not pay. Stealing is a state of mind. You either do it or you don't. There's nothing in the aether that keeps you in line. You make the choice. For the "honest" person who doesn't steal, it's not part of your conceptual framework to see "the cracks."

But once you've SEEN it, you don't forget it.

People who are working their asses off to protect our elections are not "oppressing" you -- the campaigner. We need you to do your work and do it well -- but mark my words on this: YOU NEED US TO OUR WORK AND DO IT WELL.

If you are de-moralized in your campaigning because everywhere you turn there's people who believe our elections are rigged, then think for a moment how the voter feels.

Election Fraud didn't just rear it's head for the first time in 2000 -- it has a LONG history in the United States. If you don't believe me, then get out in your precinct and talk to some old-timers. Caucus. Talk to the bookies who hang out in dive bars -- they are the "groundhogs" and like to brag. Sometimes police officers will talk. Sometimes, people on the city council -- if you have something to offer them.

It's not a perfect world. Look for the cracks, caucus and trust no one.

How to Rig an Election in the United States
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/voting.shtml

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