recipe for democracy

Basic ingredients: universal suffrage and fair elections.

What makes this a democracy? At this point, to think the 2004 elections were fair and correct, can only be ignorance, whether willful or otherwise. Here's a good wrap-up of the situation in Ohio.

If you saw the movie Unprecedented - and if you didn't, rent it now! - you'll vividly recall the heartbreaking scene where Congressperson after Congressperson - all African Americans, by the way - were not allowed to object to the Florida vote count.

Who will object to the Ohio count?

Tomorrow, January 6, Representative John Conyers of Detroit will rise and object to the vote count in Ohio. He will not be allowed to speak unless at least one member of the Senate agrees to let him have the floor.

Who will let him speak?

It takes only one member of the House and one member of the Senate to stop the acceptance of the Electoral College vote and force a legitimate debate and investigation. Just two officials out of 535 can halt the final acceptance of the election. The law was written that way because nothing is more important than the integrity of the vote.

Will anyone rise from the Senate floor to second Congressman Conyers?

I ask again: If we don't have fair elections, what makes this a democracy?


allan said...

A good read.

Anonymous said...

Who knows if this will actually happen, but Keith Olbermann (MSNBC Countdown anchor) thinks up to six Senators will stand up tomorrow. The point person seems to be California's own Barbara Boxer. She's got the gumption to do it, too.

Regardless of what anyone believes the odds are regarding machine-related fraud (likely but unprovable, I think), the widespread and extremely well documented voter disenfranchisement was appalling and IMO unconstitutional -- and calls the entire election into question.

(Tamar, who doesn't have a blogger account)

laura k said...

Thanks Tamar! I was a behind the curve on this - which was a good thing, since I spent a fair part of my day encouraging people to write to their senators and get the word out about this.

Re appalling and unconstitutional election: yup.

Eraserhead said...

A few things. We are not a democracy. The framers of the constitution were very weary of democracy's. That is why we are a representative republic. We elect people to represent our districts in our states.We do not, as individuals, represent ourselves.We have someone(whom we hope will represent our needs) do it for us. So, if we elect jackasses with no back-bone and lots of special interests to represent us.............this kind of shit goes on.

As a more conservative person than yourself, I do think we( you, I, and the other people who are not knuckle draggers and actually care about our government )are not being accurately represented by the people being thrown in front of us to vote for. So despite different political outlooks, I think we are on the same page.I am outraged daily.

I am also curious, why is a representative of Michigan standing up to object to the vote in Ohio? That is not being very "representative" of his state. I think the people of Ohio and their representative should be doing the objection.

My two cents. Peace.

laura k said...

I can assure you we are not on the same page. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

laura k said...

P.S.: representative democracy can still be a democracy. Democracy does not have to be direct by definition. A truly representative democracy would be fine with me. I'm hoping Canada comes closer to that.

The founders of the US weren't "weary of democracy's" [sic]. There wasn't one around to be weary of. They were sick of being controlled by the crown and wanted greater independence (and profits), but tired of democracy they were not.

Unless... wait a second. Unless you mean wary, not weary. They were frightened of giving too much power to the people - and justifiably so, since they were a tiny minority of wealthy, educated landowners. The ridiculous electoral college is one remnant of that fear.

Eraserhead said...

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." -- John Adams

"The general object [to which we´ve gathered together in this convention is] to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy." ---Edmund Randolf at the Constitutional Convention

On democracy James Madison wrote: "A common passion
or interest will, in almost every case ... [combine to destroy] ... personal security or the rights of property ... [and insist on] ...reducing mankind to a perfect equality ... in their possessions, their
opinions, and their passions."

Sounds pretty down on Democracy to me.

laura k said...

Oh here we go. Why do you guys bother reading this blog and posting here?

I could go through my Bartlett's and come up with all kinds of quotes, too. Grabbing a quote out of context says nothing, proves nothing. Like quoting the bible, one can find something to support any point of view.

As for personal freedom and the former USSR... all I can do is roll my eyes. You're trying to make a point about the lack of personal freedom in a representative democracy, so you use a totalitarian state as an example?

Gee, you sound a lot like someone who is not supposed to post here. And you accused me of living in the past! Please go back to your own pasture where you belong.

Eraserhead said...

I will quit for today. I know, I know, opinions are like assholes....

I read your blog because I enjoy it. I like reading other points of view. I have also followed your experience with the immigration issue. If only Switzerland would take me.

As a fellow dog lover, I think your dogs are cute.

Anyway keep warm. Peace.

laura k said...

Thank you, E'head, that's very kind. And if you read my comment re representative democracy, we are mostly in agreement.

I certainly agree that the authors of the US Constitution were not great fans of democracy. And the winner-take-all system that creates the tyranny of the majority, as I like to call it, is highly flawed. I personally don't think that's down to representative democracy - it could be solved with more proportional representation. (And throw out the damn Electoral College!)

But anyway, thanks for reading and for your comments. It was the recent "anonymous" commentor that was bothering me, because I think I know who he is. Persistent bastard. :)

laura k said...

"Perhaps if people like you and I were more willing to set aside ideological differences to fight common problems, we might get somewhere.

I think that so long as "the right" and "the left" refuse to unite against the oligarchs we will continue to lose."

I don't think this is possible, or even something to strive for. We may agree on what the problems are (and I'm not sure we do), but our preferred solutions - or even the directions we would head in, the bases of those solutions - would be radically different. I couldn't unite with people with whom I feel little philosophical common ground.

I'm not asking you not to post here. But I don't intend this blog as a forum for debate.

I totally respect your right to your opinions and your right to debate them, but I respectfully ask you not to do it here.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to you.