Every so often, someone says I moved to Canada because I couldn't accept that the Democrats lost the 2004 election, that I am a "sore loser", and that no one should leave a country over who is president. Occasionally they throw in that they didn't like Clinton, but didn't leave the country when he was president. (How nice for them.)
I am forever explaining that we made the decision to emigrate long before the 2004 election, we filed our applications in early 2004, and we were leaving no matter who won. Liberals who briefly contemplated leaving the US after the last election - but who feel the election of John Kerry would have solved the problem - didn't go anywhere.
With that preface, I also say that the 2000 and 2004 "elections" figured prominently in our decision - but not solely because of the outcomes. Allan and I both believe that the US does not have fair and free elections. And if you don't have fair elections, what makes it a democracy?
(I used to blog about this all the time. There are lots of old posts if you feel like digging them up. Search for Black Box Voting.)
Through reading and observing, I've come to believe that the US is governed under a new form of fascism, one that retains the superficial appearance of democracy. We don't see tanks rolling down the street. There's no assassination or military coup. Elections aren't suspended - in fact, they're intensified. So the rest of the world, even the majority that knows the Cheney White House for what it is, is not unduly alarmed.
The citizens continue living their lives relatively undisturbed. They work, or try to, they struggle to support their families, they shop, they follow sports, they go to church, they watch TV. Ordinary life gets harder for many, softer for a few, but it continues. Activists, both left and right, continue to work on individual issues, judicial appointments or pending legislation. Sometimes they win, and are encouraged, and keep working.
Every four years, the circus comes to town. It appears to be an election. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent, thousands of hours of air time used, untold words written and speeches made. About half the eligible population trots off to the polls, thinking they have voted.
But it's a sham. It's a stage set. And not just because neither party is working for real change. Because it's not really an election.
In Mark Crispin Miller's new book, Fooled Again, John Kerry says he knows the 2004 election was stolen, but feels that political expedience demands he keep quiet. As you probably know, Kerry has denied saying this. Those of us who know Miller's work know that Kerry absolutely must have said exactly what Miller says he did.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman wrote How The GOP Stole America's 2004 Election And Is Rigging 2008, and, with Steve Rosenfeld, What Happened In Ohio (to be published in the spring). Read their most recent story in The Free Press.