They steal elections! Don’t they? States Rights Rot Rides Again
They steal elections, don’t they…
They stole the2000 election in Florida for ‘Dubya by roadblocking Black and Latino voting districts, by using confusing ballots, the so-called ‘hanging chads’, by purging scores of eligible and duly registered voters, the overwhelming majority being Black, as being “convicted felons,” and by arbitrarily closing down polling sites while scores of people were still on line waiting to vote. (I’ll never forget Ted Koppel’s Nightline capturing that in living color.) And most importantly, they got away with it.
Al Gore did nothing. Bill Clinton did nothing. The Democratic Party as a body did nothing about it.
They stole the 2004 election in Ohio for ‘Dubya using a house negro secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, as an even more arrogant cover. (See the moving documentary American Blackout to catch this vile piece of overseer work in action.) They did it by using almost the same tactics that were previously used in Florida with the emphasis here on the voter rolls purge, or the socalled ‘felon list’ and with voter machine shortages in black voting districts. This was especially done in an in your face callousness in the Black community of the state’s capital of Columbus! And here again, they got away with it.
Before that election, John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee, said that he was not going to stand for another Florida 2000. But when it was all over, he conceded the election the very next day! No fight. No investigation. No recount. No outrage. And, most importantly, no consequence for the perpetrators to be sure.
Fast forward to 2008.
According to NY Times reporter Ian Urbina, whose October 8th article States Purges of Voter Rolls Appear Illegal, is a must read, not only are Florida and Ohio again involved in the same purging process they employed in 2000 and 2004, they have a lot of company, including several so-called ‘swing’ states, or states whose electorial tally could swing an election either way in a close election, who are using the same practices, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina. Not to mention Louisiana and Alabama.
Make no mistake about it, this paradigm could easily be responsible for several hundred thousand voters being made ineligible to vote and knocked out of the equation on election day…Several hundred thousand!....
Maybe more than enough to steal an election. To be sure, this is happening on this scale, happening in all these areas, as a concerted effort to undermine Obama’s wide popularity, a popularity that neither Gore nor Kerry had against ‘Dubya.
In my modest judgment, Barack Obama should win by a landslide given his enormous popularity and given his relative puny opposition in a ‘free and fair election.’ But an election, certainly a close one, can easily be stolen from him, just like it was in 2000 and 2004. If he is to have a real chance at a fair election, and give himself a real chance to win, he, as the new leader of the Democratic Party, and that’s what he is now, must call out the guard…He must be prepared to defend those voters rights now and on the day of the election!
“But bro.zayid, that’s means he going to have to talk about race! And he’s not going to do that now! It’s too risky!”
It’s too risky not to, given these set of circumstances.
Here’s what that talk means. It means at the very least demanding that the Justice Department be on full and visible alert at all polling sites in all of these contested areas. It means not standing alone when he makes the demand. He should have Bill and Hillary Clinton stand with him. He should have Al Gore and John Kerry stand with him. He should have New Mexico’s Latino Governor Bill Richardson, the man who set aside his own candidacy to clear the way for Obama’s ascendance and who, in my mind, should have been chosen as his running mate, -He should certainly have that man stand with him. He should have ‘Yahoo’ Howard Dean stand with him. He should have Senate majority Harry Reid and House majority leader Steny Hoyer stand with him. They should all stand with him in a united front for a ‘free and fair election’! And let the chips fall where they may!
Failure to do that, no matter how polite or strategic he and his machine mean to be could easily result in another heartbreaking debacle.
If he doesn’t, don’t be surprised to hear stories about immigration officers doing sweeps or otherwise detaining and harassing Latinos in states like California, New Mexico, Texas and McCain’s own Arizona. Don’t be surprised to hear about scores of Black people turned away from the polls because their address did not match up or that they’ve been purged because they were “convicted felons.” Don’t be surprised to hear about long lines and shorts on available voting machines. Don’t be surprised to hear about roadblocks near Black and Latino voting districts like they also did in Florida…Because they’ll do it. They’ve
done it with it success before and they’ll do it again unless somebody stops them.
So what do we do?
This election is a going to be a global event. Organizations that the NGO status at United Nations should take a page out of Malcolm’s book and call on the UN to have monitors in all those contested areas.
Individually, voters should consider the following: One, bring proper government accepted ID with you to the polls and bring proof of address and if you recently moved or reregistered because you moved if you have something with the previous address as well, bring that too. Nip identity and address issues in the bud if you can on the spot. One of the last things you want to happen is to be offered a ‘provisional ballot’. Provisional ballot are for the most part political placebos, because they are given to prospective voters contesting their right to vote, but the ballot they are given is counted as a matter of law “after the election,” which means it more than likely would not even count. See the Help America Vote Act if you don’t believe me; Two, if you receive a sample ballot in the mail before election with the designation of your polling site, bring that with you along with proper id to avoid being runaround about “where you can vote.’ That happened in Ohio too; Three, Go to the polls early. We tend to go late. After work. Scores of our people who got doors slammed in their face in Florida and Ohio ran into that at night. This also gives you time to address any identification issues should they emerge. Four, make your voting that day an event. It is. Bring your children with you! My longtime friend and comrade Larry Hamm of the Peoples Organization for Progress said he is going to bring his daughter with him to be apart of that historical moment one way or another. By the God of our ancestors, I wish I could bring mine. But seriously bring your children with you! If you run into difficulty, let them see how you stand up for your rights and defend your dignity. Let them see how democracy really works along racial lines, so they can be prepared to face whatever this racial landscape may have them face. Finally, go in groups. If you belong to an organization, set up groups to go together. Be witnesses for each other. Take pictures bring video cameras. Document your voting as long as the process will allow.
Not talking about race, and not wanting to fight racism, is not going to make it go away. Only organized and well mobilized hell-raizin is what puts racism on its nasty flat behind. Nothing else.
Seize the time!
On Monday, November 3rd, Black Solidarity Day, we will be marching In Defense of the Black Vote from Broad and Market Streets, in Newark at 12 noon, to sound the drum.
Every shut ain’t sleep; every goodbye ain’t gone…
“And you stand there with a rope around your neck talking about ‘forgive them lord, they know not what they’re doing.’ As they’ve been doing it, they’re experts at it.”
©2008 all rights reserved
Bro.Zayid Muhammad is the national minister of culture for the New Black Panther Party. He can be reached at 201 602 0780 and firstname.lastname@example.org. This is essay is the first of several called ‘The Obama Essays.’
Friday, October 31, 2008
They steal elections! Don’t they? States Rights Rot Rides Again
Posted by blackstone at 9:00 AM