VOTERMARCH AND VOTERWEST
Reports from the Troops
Activists and Resistance Fighters on
The Washington DC and San Francisco Actions
May 22, 2001
VIEW DC PICS: CHERIE'S VOTERMARCH ONLINE PHOTO ALBUM (1) PASSWORD: MAY 19
VIEW DC PICS: CHERIE'S VOTERMARCH ONLINE PHOTO ALBUM (2)
GINA'S PICTURES: http://darrias.com/votermarch.html
BUSHWHACKERS' PICTURES: http://georgewbushwhackers.com/diary5-19-01/index.html
VOTERMARCH.ORG's MAY 19 HQ: VOTERMARCH MAY 19 HQ
RANTS AND RAVES: http://votermarch.org/May19/May19rr.html
MEDIA COVERAGE: http://votermarch.org/May19/May19news.html
You may preview cuts from 30-minute VoterMarch Retrospective
Segment One - "Poem To The People" at:
Page will be rotated shortly to include reading of "Poem To The People"
from the Washington D.C. performance at VoterMarch.
The Diva's May 19 VoterWest Speech
(Introduction by Online Journal's James Higdon)
Despite that wonderful introduction, I'm new at this. The writing is something I do a lot of, speaking is not something I do a lot of, except for one-on-one, which those of you who know me, know is true.
I wrote a speech to read to you, but sitting behind the stage practicing, I decided not to do that. I decided to talk to you like I'd talk to you if it was just any one of you, and me.
First of all I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that you didn't have to be. Four years is a long time to stand watch, and since Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life -- 20 years can be a long time to stand watch.
So, I appreciate your dedication, and your showing up when you didn't have to.
I don't know how all of you got here, but I want to tell you how I got here. I was... Let me rephrase that: I THOUGHT I was radicalized by the impeachment of our last elected President, but I found out that I wasn't, when my democracy was stolen from me in November.
I had intended, after volunteering for the election, to go back to work; and I intended, In December, after all the votes were counted, to go back to work. That never happened, so I started my website about two weeks after the election, and that's what I do now. It's "The Bush Brothers Banana Republic Resistance," coup2k.com, and the people that come to my site go by many names. They're the "Resistance Fighters." They're "The Americans Formerly Known as Voters." They're "The Jaded."
They are people who feel exactly the same way you do, who maybe don't show up for these marches, but who exist, even though the media ignores them.
Some of the things we've found out -- The Jaded, The Americans Formerly Known as Voters, The Resistance Fighters -- is we found out that we're black. All of us. According to the media, everyone in this crowd is black. They say that the only people upset about having their democracy stolen are black Americans.
Well... They say it, and they're the media, so they must know. When they said it, I changed my race formally, and somewhere in this crowd today is a woman named Lynne from Berkeley, who welcomed me into the black race... officially.
I don't know where she is. She's never seen me, but she's my sister now. Our e-mails are, "Dear Sis," "Love, Sis."
Lynne promised me that, if anybody ever was offended by the fact that I claimed to be black, she would explain to them that I am just a very light-skinned member of her extended family, and that there isn't a black person in America that doesn't have a relative close to as light as me.
We also found out that we are fringe. The media told us that there's nothing mainstream about expecting the votes to be counted. All of us out here -- men, women, old, young, long-time activists, or rookie freedom-fighters -- we're fringe. We don't count. We're upset about nothing. There's nothing to be upset about.
The great thing about the Internet, is that within days of George Bush saying that, and the media spinning it as true, the internet popped a site called "fringefolk.com" -- The Majority Fringe.
For the first time in American history, the majority -- the plurality -- of the people that are out there voting, and being politically active, are fringe.
We also found out that it is more immoral, that it is more unethical, to have a sexual pecadillo, that to steal an election. This came as a big shock to me. I had somehow figured that if you disenfranchized -- as Lantigua wrote in The Nation -- over 200,000 voters intentionally... If you had 200,000 victims... That that would be a more serious crime than, say, cheating on your husband.
That's what I thought, but I found out that wasn't true. That's what all The Jaded found out.
And this was the shock to me: I really did want to believe the media... because the other option -- believing them to be liars -- means that we're up against something huge and dangerous.
And we are.
The point is, the media tells us what to believe about ourselves. And there are people out there, who don't show up to these protests, but who have access to the Internet, who are willing to sign their names to letters saying, "I feel exactly the same way that you do. I'm not eating the way that I used to. I'm not sleeping the way that I used to. I don't feel the way that I used to. America is not what it used to be. This isn't The United States of America anymore. This is The Bush Brothers Banana Republic. It is a place where we hold elections, so that people THINK they are free to elect their leaders, but if the counting of the votes means that the person the powerful want elected MAYBE isn't going to get to be the President, that if there's even that outside chance, the powerful can put a stop to it, and the media can say that that's legitimate."
That that is legitimate?
"Legitimate" means "legal." That doesn't cut any ice with me. There was a time in America when it was legal to own slaves; when it was legal to beat your wife, to beat your children; when it was legal to fire someone for being disabled (as if the Supreme Court doesn't try to make that happen again, with the Sullivan decision). There were times when horrible injustices were not only legal in America, but mainstream, and when speaking out against them made you "fringe."
For thirty years we moved in the other direction -- towards greater freedom, and a greater franchise. And November of 2000 put a stop to that. The Republicans had slowed it down for the last twelve years, but this election put a stop to that progress. We are moving backwards.
Look at the Supreme Court dec... I'm sorry. The EXTREME Court decisions. The Filthy Five: since the election, what have they told us? They've told us, "You're disabled? You have rights -- UNLESS you work for the state, UNLESS you attend a state university." If you're "the disabled," and you rely on your individual state -- California, Texas (where I'm from, which explains a lot), Mississippi -- wherever you're from, if your state decides that it doesn't want to have laws on the books protecting you? You don't have any freedom.
What else has the Supreme Court said? The Supreme Court has told us that we now live in a police state. You can be driving down the street, be stopped by a cop, and arrested and detained for -- and get this -- not wearing your seatbelt. I would like to know from anyone out there in the crowd, how you PROVE you were wearing your seatbelt. Does anybody have any ideas for me? How you PROVE you signaled a lane change? What do you do? Put out an ad in the newspaper that says, "Did anyone see me get pulled over?"
The Supreme Court has changed America. It is taking away our freedoms one by one. We're holding the line at 5 to 4, but that could change any day.
People say that they want to see the Filthy Five drummed out, but I'll tell you what, after what happened in election 2000, I am more scared of who Bush will appoint to replace them. I'm terrified. I've never felt so threatened in my life.
The impossible happened. The unexpected happened. Something I never believed would happen, happened.
And so I work for the destruction -- politically -- of the Extreme Court, the Filthy Five Injustices, the Bush Brothers, their enablers, and any and every person that had anything to do with denying the right to vote, and have the vote count, of any American.
I include in that the people in Manatee and Escambia Counties who turned off the optical scan ballot's ability to tell a voter that their vote was not going to count. I count in that people that worked at polling places and shut down early with people still in line. I have a long list of people that I consider criminal. I call them "coup-conspirators" -- criminal accomplices to the theft of MY democracy.
Something else all of you should know is, you are with family right now. And I'll tell you why we're family: because in America, every single one of you IS The Royal Family. That is THE American Dream. The American Dream is not a great house, a great car... maybe that's part of it for some people, but The American Dream has always been about ever greater freedoms, and an ever-wider franchise. It's never been about anything else.
So I use very strong language when I talk about the people I consider responsible for this mess we're in now. I say that I work for their destruction -- their utter political destruction.
I've been asked... I don't know if you know that Mad Grandmothers had one of their members visited by The Secret Service, because she acted on an action alert on my site. A Florida Congressman attacked gay students who visited him to ask for protection. And I asked people to write him and discourage him from letting his hate flag fly so freely. She wrote a letter to him, and the Secret Service showed up on her doorstep, and I was shocked. I read her letter. There was nothing there for anyone to be concerned about.
I use very strong language on my website, and people ask me, do I want to see Bush 'n Thugs, Inc. dead? And I tell them, "no." I want them all to live to be at least 200, and I want them to spend the next 150... 160 years looking into the eyes of every person that they meet, and knowing that WE know that they're CRIMINALS, that they're THIEVES, that they didn't "TRUST" us, that they LIED to us, that our votes meant NOTHING to them, and that given the opportunity -- and the support of colleagues that would make it happen and help it happen -- that they WOULD and WILL DO IT AGAIN.
It's not enough to say that Bush is not legitimate. That's a neutral statement -- neither good nor bad. We have to say that he is a criminal, and we have to say that every person that put him where he is, is a criminal. And if it isn't a crime to steal an election in America, then I'd like to propose a new federal law, MAKING it a crime. We could call it "The Bush Brothers Act of 2001."
Coup2k will last as long as we let it last. If we're angry enough, and committed enough, and if we speak to enough people, I am convinced... If everyone knew what we know, if everyone read what we read, if everyone listened to the people we listened to, and if everyone cared as much as we do -- this would be over tomorrow.
Bush would get on a plane, and fly as far away from us as he could get, because he'd be scared.
So, I'd love to see him discredited, and I'd love to see them all discredited.
As I said when I started, I'm not a professional speaker, and I have no idea how to get off the stage, but before I go, I want to read a little something that I wrote.
By the way, (regarding James Higdon's introduction, and the stuff about Jonathan Alter) Jonathan Alter wrote me about a piece I wrote called "The Death of Democracy: An Obituary," which I dated on the 9th of December, not the 12th. Most people count the Death of Democracy on the day that the Bush vs. Gore decision came down. For me, I didn't need to wait those 72 hours. As soon as they stopped the counting of votes -- as soon as they said they had the right to -- I knew it was over, and I changed from Tammy into "The Diva."
And I went online, and I got crazy...
And I intend to stay crazy and committed, loud, obnoxious, black fringe... for the rest of my life, or until I get my country back -- whichever comes first.
But another piece that I wrote that got a really strong response was inspired by an interview I did with LA Weekly. The journalist who wrote the interview described me as having sat down, and began my "tale of woe," which sounded very poetic, and reminded me of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
So I wrote a piece called "The Rime of the Political Prisoner," where I argued that every American is now a de facto political prisoner. We didn't choose to be where we are. We're not free, which means we are in bondage, which makes us prisoners. I just want to read a little bit of the closing of the poem to you. And if I get all verklempt, and choke up, and start balling, I'll just leave, and you bring on the next person.
Because this stuff still gets to me.
This is Part IV:
"...'There is nothing lost,'" [The WebMistress replied]
"'That cannot be found, if sought.'
Nor any evil that prevails, nor any damnable lie,
When exposed, and resisted, and fought.
And so, Attentive Protester, you find me thus
Telling my tale to those who will hear
Speaking my truth, to the courageous of us
Who must fight on for what we hold dear.
Who won, who lost, we may never know,
Hero Stevens mused in his dissent.
But the PEOPLE did lose, and WERE overthrown
By the message the Injustices sent:
That the ballot is not sacred, valued, inviolate
Where that ballot's preference might be
That the Injustices' selection is not the candidate
That ascends to the Presidency.
And that the Court itself, once held above
The fire of partisan flame
Is a star chamber deserving of nothing but
The People cursing its name.
'To save one life, is to save the world entire':
A Jewish axiom now of great fame.
'To save one vote, is to save The Vote entire':
Is a principle whose meaning's the same.
So easily dismissed, the singular life --
Or the singular vote, in this case,
'Perhaps,' some say, 'we should let go of strife,
And help our bruised Nation save face?'
For me, it matters little at the end of my journey
That my comfort was forever at peak.
It matters greatly, however, that I spoke my mind truly,
and that Justice I always did seek.
So I will fight on, even if 'tis alone,
For all that America must be.
I hold her, you see, to the spirit and tone
Of a promise she once made to me:
That her rulers would be Her People, The People,
That promise a ruler makes me.
And as her ruler, I'll not cease my dissent
Until America is once again free."
Mike Rectenwald's May 19th Voter March speech
Thank you. And thank you, Louis and the Voter March organization, for allowing me to speak today on behalf of Citizens for Legitimate Government.
"Election" 2000, in Historical Context
I have been asked why our group is called "Citizens For Legitimate Government." "Isn't the government already legitimate?" enquiring minds, most of them Republican, want to know. The question led me to consider what makes a government legitimate in the first place. Legitimacy of government, I reasoned, is judged by the fit between the existing government and the declared principles of that government. To understand a nation's principles, one would turn to its founding charter, its written laws, and its political history.
If one does this review, the short answer to the question becomes quite obvious. The U.S. government has been rendered illegitimate by its own standards, the standards of electoral democracy.
The standard of electoral democracy was eliminated when the vote counting for the Florida electorate was abandoned, and judges selected a president. Contrary to the Constitution, Dale Reynolds writes in his poem, "These Five Against Us All,"
They decided "Republic" meant Republican, though conflicts of interest they hadn't disclosed hadn't pre-empted the candidate they chose, and outside journalists reported it was Bush by a nose. Bush by 5 to 4, The United States Supreme Court said.
The standard for electoral democracy was eliminated when state officials and party operatives broke laws in key posts, spoiling the real electoral results. Reynolds continues, the Supreme Court "would not hear the protest of black Americans stopped outside the polls, or stricken, curiously, from the voting rolls."
The standard for electoral democracy was violated by the takeover of government by corporate interests--and we now have the epitome of that takeover in the white-collar criminal who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In terms of the letter and the spirit of the law, then, our current government is illegitimate--its establishment runs contrary to our nation's constitution, which expresses our dearest principles of representative, democratic government, and equal rights. Against these principles, we saw government officials, party operatives, and a federal judiciary, along with their media mouthpieces, use every means possible to suppress the truth of the voters' expressed will, and to install their own will in its stead. The list of these crimes is long, starting with an illegal purge of tens of thousands of voters, and ending with the Supreme Court Injustices, and I refer you to legitgov.org for the complete record.
The violation of voting rights in the millennial year brings back the long history of struggle for representation against oppression and vote suppression. A complete history might start with suffrage for propertied men in England and the Americas from the 15th century; continue with a centuries-long battle for lowered property requirements for adult male voters; go on to the eventual inclusion of most white working men by the late 19th century; detail the exclusion of African Americans from voting until the ate 19th century, along with a series of reversals and victories thereafter, including the Civil Rights movement; entail the exclusion of women from the franchise until the early 20th century; and include the barriers of racial profiling, property ownership, voting tolls, and literacy requirements lasting well into the 20th century, especially in the southern states.
The long battle for voting rights brings us to Selection 2000, when the United States was driven far afield of its historical goal-- universal adult suffrage. In the year 2000, we were set back to a fate worse than that of pre-1832 Britain, when, before the first Reform Bill, only thousands of propertied men out of millions of British subjects could vote. In 2000, we were reduced to having three white patriarchs, one token black male, and one white woman determine the outcome of a presidential election--by, as Dale Reynolds puts it, a "majority of one."
The millennial election brings back the 1940s in Florida, when the votes of African Americans were called "little jokers." Made of tissue paper, these ballots fell apart and were thrown away by laughing vote-counters; the ballot was a "little joker" played on the African American "voter." In election 2000, over 180 thousand little jokers were dealt in Florida. At least 20,000 voters were purged in advance in a Jim Crow-like manner, never even making it to little joker status. Six million Floridian votes were thus rendered little jokers as well. One hundred million votes thus turned to little jokers.
These were considered by a Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice laughed scornfully and dismissed as ludicrous the idea of counting all the little jokers--in Florida, or anywhere else for that matter! The whole idea of an election had been an expensive joke played on the country--the vote wasn't required at all, the Chief Justice scoffed, it was always already a little joker!
The Selection and its aftermath is a nightmare of history come back to haunt us, in new, monstrous proportions. Our little jokers cast, the punch line of the bad joke was delivered: GW Bush, that Big Joker's face and his policies mock our expressed will. Bush's policies are an extension of the antidemocratic grab for power by which he seized office. The litany of these policies is familiar by now, so I will not repeat it. But a few adjectives will do: anti- women, anti-labor, anti-worker safety, anti-affirmative action, anti- public-health, anti-public education, anti-separation-of-Church-and- State, anti-consumer, anti-child, anti-environment, anti-end-of-the- Cold-War, anti-human, anti-other-species; Polices that benefit only one species--that species of Big Business Animal that wrecks the habitats of other species, like Exxon-Mobil, who junks Global-warning science while raising the Global temperature. Bush raids the national treasury and the national forests for one group only: Big Business Owners. He throws a few crumbs to the reactionary religious ideologues that delivered their lambs for the slaughter.
In light of this fraudulent and dangerous outcome, we say "Nevermore." Nevermore can our votes be little jokers. Nevermore can we be purged from the voting rolls--under the guise of justice, under the pretense of "equal protection," to "protect the interests" of the heir apparent!
At this point, what do we do? We say "Nevermore." But when complicity is tantamount to treason, and the consequences are literally world threatening, true patriots must say, too, "NOT NOW, NOT EVER!" We must explore every avenue for exposing and prosecuting the election theft, and for countering the Bush Occupation. We must continue to protest Bush's every appearance. We must oppose his every executive act with activism. We must boycott Bush's contributors, starting with Exxon-Mobil, the biggest polluter in Texas, the second biggest GOP contributor, and the force driving US policy against the Kyoto Treaty. We must register voters, starting with our neighbors. We must vote into Congress representatives and senators expressly opposed to the Bush coup and Occupation. We must call for investigations! We must work for impeachment! We must turn these jokers into wildcards to trump the kings. We must work to bring democracy to this stacked deck. We must work to bring down this precarious house of cards called the Bush presidency. We must undo the coup! That is what we must do.
Join us at legitgov.org or any of the other activist groups you find here -- join all Citizens for Legitimate Government, in our long haul quest to undo the coup, and redo democracy. Thank you!!!
We must undo the coup!!
PROUD TO BE ON THE FRINGE
This is the speech that Rose gave at Lafayette Park on the morning of May 19th, shortly before the VoterMarch to the Capitol steps.
Good morning, fellow patriots!
My name's Rose, and I'm one of the 'fringe people' who thinks that George W. Bush is a coward, a liar, a thief and a fraud. And if you think that Bush is an illegitimate president...guess what? You're a 'fringe person' too. That's right - according to the Toxic Texan, the ONLY people who oppose him are 'fringe people'.
The first time I heard this, I was somewhat taken aback. I've never considered myself one hundred percent 'mainstream', but I think I'm fairly normal; and certainly the vast majority of anti-Bush people I've met online and at protests are not at all what I would call "fringe".
But hey - if the term 'fringe' has been redefined, and it now means "people who love democracy, and prefer that the winner of a presidential election actually gets to be president" then you'd better believe that I want to be a part of that group.
And you know what? I hope that Dubya continues to call us fringe people. I hope that he continues to say that only fringe people oppose him - that only fringe people think that all votes should be counted and only fringe people think that paying huge sums of money to prevent voters from casting their votes is maybe not the best way to run a democracy. Because every time he calls us fringe, he proves just how clueless, arrogant and downright stupid he is.
On Jan. 20th, I joined over 5000 angry people in LA to protest ShrubÕs inauguration. And that night, other than a couple of 30-45 second spots on local news channels, I saw NO coverage of the rally. The mainstream media practically went into contortions in order to avoid giving accurate coverage of the tens of thousands of protesters here in Washington DC. Their reasoning, it seemed, was that they felt it wouldnÕt be polite to give airtime to people who were angry about the theft of the election - after all, Bush had to get up and give a speech that day, and I suppose it was terribly mean and heartless of all those people to try to distract him when we all know that when it comes to speaking, Bush is...well, "special".
The corporate media has decided that their REAL job is to alternate between acting as Bush's nursemaid and waving pom-poms in the air every time he pronounces a word correctly. And so it's up to us to make our voices heard, to let everyone in the country who feels as we do - and if you don't know by now that the MAJORITY of Americans feel as we do, then you've been watching too much Fox News - to let every patriot and lover of democracy know that NOW is the time to stand up and be counted.
A few months ago, frustrated by the media's refusal to acknowledge us, I started the Fringefolk Project. Many of you may have already heard of Fringefolk - I know there are a good number of Fringers here today. I want to take a moment to explain that Fringefolk is not another activist group - we're an online directory of people from ALL the activist groups. The directory - which is at www.fringefolk.com - gives concrete proof that we are NOT getting over it ...and because our pictures are posted in the directory, anyone who goes to the site can see exactly what the so-called 'fringe people' look like. We range in age from 15 to 82. We come from all over the country. We come from all walks of life -- teachers, lawyers, stay-at-home moms, executives, artists, waitresses, students, scientists, secretaries...we are the face of America; the Fringe MAJORITY.
Our mission statement is simple - to provide an online, ongoing protest against the right-wing coup and Bush's illegitimate presidency. Fringefolk is something to point to when people claim that the country has moved on - it's visible proof that we exist, and that we're not going to shut up and we're not going to go away.
When I started Fringefolk, I didn't know if people would be willing to take such a visible stand against the coup, but I knew I was willing. Today, if someone were to say 'Oh, most people have gotten over the election and moved on', I can offer them concrete proof that nearly 500 people have NOT gotten over it. And that's just the beginning; the Fringefolk directory grows daily.
If you're as disgusted and angered over the theft of democracy as we are, I hope you'll decide to stand up and be counted along with us. We will NOT move on until democracy is restored.
Frank Herbert once wrote: "If you think of yourselves as helpless...it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless..."
One thing that I have learned in the past few months is that the people who claim that one person can't make a difference are full of it. One person absolutely can make a difference. Just ask Katherine Harris if you don't believe me.
Everyone here is making a difference right now. And if you love your country - and I know that you all do, or you wouldn't be here - then you must continue making a difference. We can't afford to let a day go by without protesting the theft of democracy. The right-wingers want you to believe that you're helpless. The corporate media wants you to believe that you're helpless. They want you to feel so overwhelmed that you finally just sit down and shut up. Well, the hell with them, because IÕm not going to shut up. IÕm going to keep on yelling until my voice is heard.
My president is Al Gore. And I'm going to read you something that President Gore once said: "We need more people to believe in this country and to believe in our ability as a people to make it what it's supposed to be...we can change "politics" if we have enough people who are willing to push past the fear of disillusionment and disappointment and do what our Founders did and what each generation has done in really seizing the opportunity to make this country what it's supposed to be."
ItÕs up to us, guys. I love my country, and I believe in my country, and in democracy. And I believe in our ability to make sure that that lying, thieving SOB in the White House gets exactly what's coming to him. We will win. We will get democracy back. Because we won't shut up, and we won't go away. Keep fighting!
Ronnie Dugger's May 19th Voter March speech
The Alliance's website is www.thealliancefordemocracy.org.
The New American Democracy
It is an honor to be among you again.
On December 9th and 12th last, as the second millennium was easing to an end, our 212-year-old American Republic was stolen from us.
After the secret four-month constitutional convention in Philadelphia, a matron of the city asked Benjamin Franklin what they had produced. "A Republic, if you can keep it," Franklin said.
Well, we haven't kept it--we've lost it.
George W. Bush, his lawyers led by the crafty James Baker III, Bush's operatives in Florida led by his brother Jeb the Governor and Secretary of State Harris, and five members of the Supreme Court, inventing a new constitutional right for the occasion, usurped from the people the right to choose the President of the United States. The judges overthrew the government by selecting the President themselves, 5 to 4, rather than letting events take their constitutional course. When Governor Bush was sworn in as President by Chief Justice Rehnquist of the Court that had stolen it for him the government itself was seized in a judicial and presidential coup d'etat.
Bush gave James Baker the dog's assignment of seizing the Presidency in Florida as if it were a bone. The resulting compound crime was one clear line of events, each one pressed for or performed pursuant to a determined and relentlessly prosecuted scheme to abort the voters' will in Florida. Bush was guilty from the outset as an originator and throughout as the principal beneficiary, moving on many fronts to stop the vote recounting in Florida, refusing to agree to a total manual recount of the entire state, accepting the Presidency from Rehnquist after the Court had stopped that recount, selected him, and thereby stolen the office for him. As James K. Galbraith perceived, by obstructing the election of the President, the Bush people prevented it, causing democracy to miscarry. Taking the oath, Bush knowingly accepted the keys to the White House from the man giving him the oath and the four of his fellow judges who had stolen them. Together they denied the people of the United States the right to elect our President, whether it would have been Albert Gore or George W. Bush, for the four years 2001 to 2005.
Congress and the Presidency had already been delegitimized across the past 20 years, for most of us, by the triumph over the common good of uncontrolled campaign finance corruption and bribery. Now, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court delegitimized itself and therefore the court system arrayed below it. These are the only three branches that we have--this is no longer a respectable government. We have lost our entire government to a corporate oligarchy that now governs us without our permission.
Permit me to repeat what I said to you on January 20th. The only basis for democratic legitimacy is the consent of the governed. That was the deal. The Presidency has been seized. The government has been seized. The covenant is broken.
What does it mean, to admit, and to say, that your government is illegitimate? According to the Oxford English Dictionary it means the government is "not in accordance with, or authorized by, law." What Bush ravaged when he accepted the stolen Presidency was much more than our politics, more even than our self-respect as a democracy--he made a mockery of our most fundamental agreement to respect and obey the laws the government passes, to cooperate with the government because it's ours. This is what he has done to the country that we love, he has undermined the authority of law here. That is what we have lost, the very authority of law for our everyday lives.
Going about his first 100 days, he cuts funding for international family planning groups. He cancels new rules to prevent repetitive-stress injuries for millions of new workers. He cancels a tightening of the standard for arsenic in drinking water. He abandons his campaign promise to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. He reinstates the federal subsidy for roads into our trackless forests for corporate logging. He moves to weaponize space, under the cover of star wars, so that we can destroy any nation's communications from space and thereby dominate all the nations and peoples of the world. He puts a man over the Energy Department who wanted to abolish it. He refuses to slap price controls on power and gasoline profiteers. He shoves through the supine Republican-and-Democratic Congress an insane $1.3-trillion-dollar tax cut that further enriches the already rich on a ten-year set of assumptions that nobody, nobody at all, can accurately make, and which rises in the second decade to a four-trillion cut which will destroy Social Security and Medicare. He tries to "fast-track"--that is, to deny Congress the right to amend in any way--the corporations-first trade agreements, NAFTA, the WTO, the FTAA, that will destroy our local, state, and national sovereignty over our own environment, commerce, and working conditions. He calls protecting workers and the environment in these agreements "protectionism." He and his allies in Congress have crushed all talk of election reform because of the obvious fact that it insults him for stealing the Presidency. And everything he's doing, everything, has no color of law, is illegal, is illegitimate, is done in our names though not we, but five tyrannical judges gave him the power that he is so tyrannically abusing.
If he had not stolen the Presidency we would have to accept it when he and the Congress and their corporate paymasters abolish the estate tax--abolish the tax that curbs, just a bit, the relentless tendency of hereditary wealth to destroy democracy and economic justice--
But he did steal the Presidency, and when and if the Congress abolishes the estate tax--or does any of the legions of other things akin to it that he and the corporate lobbyists he admires are demanding--why, then, the hell we will accept it. That will be just the action of a gaggle of thugs in our house at night dressed up as hereditary aristocrats.
How, now, with a straight face, without provoking outcries of contempt, can the man in the White House, trying perhaps to deal with some crisis of order or rebellion here or abroad, invoke respect for the law having himself stolen the Presidency?
He is no President of ours. Our Presidents in this free country are only elected, they are never selected, never appointed. Only we elect our Presidents and George W. Bush is not one of them.
I see from the signs among you that you know this next: Having seized the awesome power of the Presidency to which he is not entitled, he uses that power only as a tyrant. He feigns law-abidingness as did the tyrant Peisistratus in sixth-century B.C. Athens, who won over the lawgiver Solon by "shows of obedience" to Solon's laws except, of course, to the one against tyranny. Although the President of the United States has absolute power only in some momentous areas, such as control of our foreign policy and the use of our military might, including our hydrogen bombs, Bush, having seized the office, fairly well fits the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a tyrant, "One who seizes upon the sovereign power in a state without legal right; an absolute ruler; a usurper."
Looking back we should, and at least some of us will, label this four years of the Bush illegitimacy as the Lawless Years, the Tyranny in American history, the Tyrannical Interlude.
We trust that George the Second will not be succeeded by George the Third--throwing us right back where we were in 1775--because we are men and women and students on fire with controlled anger and we refuse to consent.
We refuse to cooperate.
We refuse to accept.
We reject the Bush Presidency totally, altogether, in every particular--we will not forgive the theft it rests on, we will not forget that all its acts are "not in accordance with, or authorized by, law," and we will work to turn back on these four years and all the preparatory associated betrayals of the people's good since the early 1970's and cancel the damage to the extent we can.
One idea for something that can be done now to limit that damage--an idea from Professor Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School--is a firm resolve among the Senate Democrats to confirm none--none--of Bush's Supreme Court nominations, just letting the high court drop low to seven justices, or six, leaving those remaining to ruminate on the trust which their institution has forfeited. The Senate Democratic leaders shy, of course, from this, as from any bold idea, but Professor Ackerman has proposed an appropriate remedy.
The Constitution permits impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors. Seizing the Presidency ranks among the highest crimes ever committed in the United States. Bush should be impeached, but it's not going to happen in such a Congress as this one.
A milder, but equally effective remedy is available, however, for the crime committed by Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and O'Connor. Scalia told us all about Article II of the Constitution, that the people don't have the right to elect the President, but he failed to tell us about Article III. Article III provides that "the judges, both of the Supreme Court and the inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior." The five judges who stopped the election and chose the President they preferred should be removed under this clause in Article III. Resolutions should be introduced in Congress to remove them; perhaps we will elect a President and Senate who will throw out as many of the five as still dare to sit up there in 2005.
Obviously this is a time, these are four years, when we citizens must stand forth as citizens. How about some citizens' indictments? For purposes of discussion, I propose that we draw up and inscribe our names en masse, on the Internet, to a citizens' indictment of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, James Baker III, Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Anthony Kennedy for the high crime of acting together to steal the people's right to elect the President.
Democracy without the people controlling the counting of their own votes is no democracy. Yet it goes unremarked in American elections that in most of the precincts of the country the votecounting is done invisibly in computers. Computers are not adding machines, they are machines that obey orders. Computer votecounting codes are prepared by computer programmers in the pay of the private election-business companies, which jealously guard the codes as "trade secrets." Elections can be stolen by the computer programmers, for themselves or for their companies, without leaving a trace. Democracy itself has been privatized--that is, corporatized--and our elections are subject to the tyranny of machines that conceal the counting of our votes from us. As votecounting specialist Dr. Rebecca Mercuri wrote recently, "a government that is by the machines, of the machines, and for the machines can scarcely be called a democracy."
To get our country back into our possession I believe that we should count our own votes again with our own hands and eyes in our own precincts on election night across the country--we are dumb to trust the election corporations' computerized systems, run by often computer-illiterate local election officials relying heavily on assistance from the companies, to count our votes in secret.
I believe, and challenge you to consider deep in your soul and in your body, that we should now go into nonviolent rebellion against the theft of our democracy last December in all its forms and manifestations--
And that the first step in this revolt is to agree that we will not call Bush President.
Don't Call Him President.
Although I am fond of the idea of calling him George the Second, most people will probably feel better just calling him Governor Bush. That's OK. It's civil, and acknowledges he was a governor.
But can we agree never, in any context, written, spoken, or even in our thoughts, to call him President Bush unless and until we elect him? In all our references to him let's call him, civilly but noncooperatively, Governor Bush. Let's write letters challenging reporters and TV for calling him President. Let's amiably, but seriously tweak our friends over a cup of coffee or at dinner if they call him President. This is one unmistakable symbolic way we can nod to each other across political parties, recognize each other across colors, and join together across this beautiful continent as the free Americans who will not accept an appointed President of the United States.
Second, how about a Back to Texas Movement? Bush and Cheney, Back to Texas. Rove, Armey, and Delay, too-Back to Texas.
We should refuse to acknowledge the authority of any judge whom Governor Bush appoints and the Senate confirms. Every federal judge he appoints is illegitimate, whether confirmed or not, and can have no lawful authority to sit in judgment looking down on us from those high federal benches. On the door of any judge Governor Bush gets confirmed should appear the word, "Illegitimate." And when we get a President and a Congress with the courage to do right by the United States every one of them, including especially any of his people who may make it onto the Supreme Court, should be impeached as unlawfully appointed by an unlawfully appointed President. When you steal our country, "Let bygones be bygones" is out, and out for life.
Unless the Democrats in Congress stand tough against the illegitimate President all of us must demand to know, Why not? One main reason the American Republic is in terminal trouble is the fact that most of the officeholders of the Democratic Party, up at this level, have sold their souls to the major corporations and the very rich. Now our collective civic disaster has gone far beyond the tumults of party politics. This is the country we love and would die for and millions of our fellow citizens have. We must, I believe, ask Al Gore, too, why, when the Supreme Court announced that it had stolen the Presidency from him by a 5 to 4 vote, he said that he accepted it. This was his moment as a leader to say, "No--this is our country--we love it--you cannot have it--I am not the issue here, the United States is, and your decision is judicial tyranny." I believe Gore has to get right on this if he wants to continue to lead.
When the world's superpower ceases to be democratic it's the world's business, too. We should get together into a movement in order to invite a small group of distinguished former officials abroad, comparable in stature to our former President Jimmy Carter, to form a small international commission to investigate the 2000 presidential election--the outrages against African-American voters in Florida, the standing of an election when the Supreme Court aborts the votecounting, what we Americans are supposed to do about the fact that the President of our country was appointed by five judges who preferred his election, how we have come to let private corporations take over our votecounting and do it secretly, invisibly, in computers.
Governor Bush's people become indignant when the United States gets thrown off the UN body on human rights--as if his seizing the most powerful and the most dangerous office and military in the world leaves our government with the same standing we had before that happened, in the eyes of democratic civilization. --As if when the people in the rest of the world, told that he, himself, has decided that we will violate the ABM ballistic missiles treaty and the Kyoto treaty on global warming, should meekly accept this world-convulsing tyranny with what Governor Bush calls civility.
We citizens fighting to save our country not only from injustice, but now from illegitimate injustice, should demand that the Senate ratify the treaty establishing the proposed international criminal court not despite the fact that some Americans might get indicted, but because they might.
Finally, it is time, oh, it is time, for us to form now, among all our organizations, with all the sad, drifting citizens looking for hope for our country--it is time for us to form one national people's movement, independent of any political party, the Independent Allies, to demand and fight, for example, for--
Public funding of our elections.
Single-payer national health insurance.
The restoration of the corporate taxation system and the progressivity of the income tax, replacing the Social Security payroll tax with the increased revenues.
Limits on the size of corporations, the cancellation of their alleged "personhood" and their alleged personal constitutional rights, a stiff criminal law taking them completely out of our politics, and the confirmation of their original nature as our artificial creations totally answerable to and totally subordinate to democracy.
Limits on personal wealth, and a guaranteed annual family income.
Free education as high as any student can make the grades.
First-home building subsidies and the opening of some public lands as trust lands for homesteading to redeem the American dream of a home for every family.
Equal rights and equal pay for women.
A living wage by law for every working person.
Repeal of the Taft-Hartley law and criminal prosecution of corporations that bedevil union organizers.
That's just for starters.
And it is far past time that such a new national people's movement should link up with the citizens' movements abroad that are in nonviolent rebellion against the corporatization of human life, to work together worldwide for such attainable goals as--
Clean energy, wind and solar, and the as-rapid-as-possible phasing down and out of oil, coal, and nuclear power.
For international trade for people and the environment everywhere, not just for the rampaging transnational corporations.
And for world citizenship, and an international democracy with a constitution worthy of the human race.
None of this can we get just because our government has been stolen.
Some of this we can get fairly soon only if we rebel and organize and mobilize, as independent allies for communication, education, and action, in coalitions of coalitions, and then in one confederal, interacting coalition of independent organizations, all together.
Let's start with a bumper-sticker rebellion.
Don't Call Him President.
Governor Bush/Is Not the President.
The Supreme Court/Is Not Supreme.
Bush and Cheney-Back to Texas!
Much of the work of building the movement is not high-profile--it's demonstrating, registering voters, teaching people about instant runoff voting and proportional representation, marching and rallying as we are today, confronting our representatives, getting out the vote--it's day-in, day-out dutifulness.
More and more of us will move gravely into nonviolent civil disobedience, too, as history requires--direct civil revolt--risking ourselves, peacefully putting our bodies where our patriotism is, facing handcuffs, locked doors, frozen faces, tear gas, police phalanxes.
The time has probably come to quit going where they go, Seattle, Washington, Davos, Quebec City, Qatar--and to go where we want to go to do what we want to do. To mobilize and to go meet in small numbers and large, to act for and plan the society we want and organize to get it.
Whatever we do, let's do it nonviolently. Only nonviolently.
Let's have a rule among all the people we agree to work with that we are against violence against persons and will not enter into coalition or cooperate with anyone who reserves the right to engage in any kind of violence.
At Seattle, the only people who committed violence against people were the police. But at Washington last year, as policemen charged crowds on horseback and idly knocked over young people armlocked together blocking streets, demonstrators threw rocks and other objects at police--I saw them do it. At Quebec City last month, the police gassed the protesters, and people from the Alliance saw some in the crowd throw rocks and other heavy objects at the police.
Learning from Gandhi and King, if the police attack us we will not respond physically--we will not oppose them--we will not touch them.
Violence against people? No. Violence against the police? No. Violence against property? No.
You won't pledge not to be violent? Then you're off on your own.
Learning since Seattle that the municipal police forces in major U.S. cities and in Canada are trying to repeal the freedom of assembly, we will assemble when and where we wish in crowds as large as we wish--always nonviolently, anti-violently--and we will morally overpower the marching, militarized, pepper-gas-firing police by the simple fact that we are the peaceable people.
We need the leader for all this. God, we all know, we need her or him. We don't have this yet.
So I have a proposal.
Let's bring back Martin Luther King.
Let's join our African-American brothers and sisters in their just call for reparations for slavery. Slaves worked to build this nation. They helped build this Capitol in front of you. They hoisted Lady Liberty up to the top of that dome. For this their pay rate was $5 a day. The United States government cut the checks for their work not to them, but to their owners.
Let's go with the slaves' descendants and with every other oppressed group to renew, to revive, Dr. King's great project, which he was raising money for just before he was murdered, to have a vast encampment for peace and economic justice in Washington, to end poverty, and stop the Vietnam war.
It was bad then, people in poverty, blood in the streets, people dying on TV every night. But it's bad now--we know the world's great misery is within our reach to ease--the corporate oligarchy has stolen our government from us--and they are blowing up the ABM and Kyoto treaties and reaching to control the world from space.
We are not going to just stand quiet for this.
We are, after all, Americans.
Let us declare ourselves, here and now together, the Democracy and Justice Movement.
We are Democrats, we are Republicans, we are Greens, we are independents, we are progressives, conservatives, populists, moderates, libertarians, everyday Americans, we are whites, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, men, women, workers, students, we are straight, gay, bi, and God knows what else, and what we are all is free, standing whole in the same dignity, self-respect, and power of being persons, just as our forebears did when they launched the American Revolution.
We are patriots--we are patriots--we all want to be just, we all want to participate in governing our own town and our city and our country and our world, and we will not be cooperative and obedient as usurpers make over the United States into dominator of the world.
Let's pay more heed to the likes of Scalia, William Buckley, Tom Delay, and George Will when they instruct us that the American Republic is no democracy and we should be grateful for the chance to serve our betters.
Through the past two centuries by our many struggles we have been realizing the promise of the American Revolution, step by step. We have added, to the Republic, with one citizens' uprising and movement after another, freedom from slavery (though not yet from penury) for blacks--the legal right to form labor unions--an effective revulsion and rebellion against an unjust war that we were waging smack dab in the middle of that war--the vote and legal equality for blacks and women--equal treatment for gays.
But our persecuted labor unions are still ravaged by laws written for the corporations that are now exporting our industries and raging out of control all over the world, and the disparities of wealth and poverty among us, and between us and the rest of the human race, are becoming morally unbearable.
If Bill Gates stopped to pick up $100 bills all over the street, he'd lose money. The assets of the 450 billionaires in the world are equal to the assets of half of humanity. Two billion people have no toilets, and no schools, but they do have anemia. The sales of the 200 largest corporations are 18 times the combined annual income of the 1,200,000,000 people, one in every four of us on earth, who live in absolute poverty on $1, or less, a day.
Perhaps finally now, taking all this and the theft of the Presidency into account, we have to square our shoulders a bit and just let the old American Republic go, they've ruptured it, so let's just let it go, and get about the work of forming, how we don't yet know, but together, and sooner, not later, a new American democracy,--
--wherein we accept each other in deepest equality,
--where everybody's vote is counted and every material body of opinion is represented proportionally in the government,
--where our President is the one who gets the most votes,
--where the members of the Supreme Court must stand in a contested election every eight years,
--where the fairness of democracy has come to mean, also, a democratic distribution of the goods and services that everyone has a right to in order to have a fair chance to realize his or her best self.
Let's come together here in Washington--next fall?--next spring?--let's decide when and how together--and occupy the place, after all it's ours, and stop the government. Just stop it. Make the Capital the epicenter of a national nonviolent revolt, for full citizenship for the citizens of the District and full citizenship for us all. Stop the crimes against democracy here in the Capitol, and over there at the White House, and over there at the Supreme Court, stop them just by being here, peacefully, eloquently, honoring, remembering, and reciting from, Martin Luther King. An encampment, speaking out, picnics, singing, dancing, sleeping on the grass! And, when we're ready, we'll start things up again as the New American Democracy--the American Revolution--Democracy, and Justice--at last more nearly realized among us,
And then, we whisper, to each other, and to ourselves,
The New American Democracy.
In this speech Dugger was expressing his own opinions and was not speaking for an organization. He wishes to thank, for ideas which one way or another are included in this speech, Marcus Raskin of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., Professor Steve Russell of San Antonio, Tx., Nick Seidita, Northridge, Ca., and colleagues of Dugger's on the Council of the Alliance, especially Ted Dooley, St. Paul, Minn.; Nancy Price, Davis, Ca.; Sue Wheaton, Tacoma Park, Md.; Stefanie Miller, Indianapolis, Ind.; Vikki Savee, Sacramento, Ca.; and Dolly Arond, Northridge, Ca.
Lou Posner's May 19th Voter March speech
founder and chair of www.votermarch.org
What of ELECTION REFORM?
The greatest democracy on earth has the most antiquated and UNEQUAL voting machines in the Western world, and some of the most unequal and unfair voting practices in the entire world! How can we fail to address our duty to preserve the tools that ensure the principles of our founding fathers that are the very bedrock of our democracy, the tools and principles that make us CITIZENS in this world, citizens of a great shining democracy and NOT subjects in a dark tyranny.
What of these? How can we fail to address this matter NOW?
For years, experts have decried the antiquated equipment and practices, they and government agencies recommending reform, but our legislation has not acted on those recommendations. What are we waiting for that we ignore these sacred obligations to the constitution's most fundamental guarantee?
Today, let us look at "America," where a government is now disconnected with its country. Look at what has happened to this so-called democracy, in our recent presidential race. The high court stopped a legal hand recount and substituted their own votes to replace those of the electorate, the bedrock principle of ANY democracy. In other words, they canceled our democracy. They declared their winner as THE winner, vacating the votes of millions because of an alleged unfairness to only ONE citizen, who was only ONE candidate, in a regional state governed with an iron hand by that one candidate's brother. As a final insult, the Court told the people - not to worry, this is a one-time only deal - it will not be repeated.
One might ask, if the decision is so good and fine, why can it not be repeated? Now, the court knows it has created a precedent, yet it pretends it will NOT be a precedent, as if this election and hand count were "sui generis," when elections and hand counts go on and have gone on ALL THE TIME IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE PAST IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR OWN LAWS! Indeed, the hand count is part of the WHOLE and NO LESS than the whole election. And all the experts in many states know perfectly well that the hand recount is the ONLY way to settle these things, being done routinely in the very state the candidate hails from, signed into law by his own hand. Indeed, this candidate, under the media radar, demanded and got a hand recount in another state in the country, in a brazen example of hypocritical "privilege," and "special rights." But the high court chose to ignore this inconsistency, this inequality, and by so doing, gave aid and comfort to all the irregularities and all the lawbreaking that accompanied this state's vote. People who get away with committing crimes with impunity, passed over by the highest court in the land, are only further emboldened to repeat them.
Ah, the beauty of possessing no conscience: Lie and then call your opponent a liar. Demand hand recounts where they favor you and then call your opponent a criminal for demanding hand recounts where they favor HIM. And the final slap, GO AWOL and then accuse your opponent of despising the military.
But the Court seems to ORDAIN that it will not happen again, providing a balm to the masses, a false sense of security that their democracy is still alive, unchanged and unmolested. But it is not, my friends. Judges may rule, but they can never ORDAIN. They cannot project their decisions and their orders into the future, onto future courts and what they will do. The Court, comprised of mere mortals, have wrested from the "demos" the one power granted directly to the people in the government scheme known as democracy. That is a moral outrage no words can adequately convey.
Oh, but there were such difficulties, some say. It was messy. Yes, democracy is messy, which is why laws are created to ensure fairness, laws this high Court criminally ignored. It is not a fast buck made in a bubble economy. It is, as Winston Churchill said, the worst form of government except for all the other forms of government. A real democracy is hard work. It is patient work.
It is NOT, as we have seen with our country, the perfect scam. Where we are awash in evasions from officials who say, "I can't answer that, I refer you to another official," and that official refers back to the first official, or another official, or in the most egregious case, reporters are referred to an outside, private company, which unilaterally disenfranchised thousands of citizens of their right to vote, largely wrongly, it is later discovered, but implemented without question in many areas of this one state. But when some election supervisors, seeking to uphold their duty to the Constitution, asked this company for information on their methodology and quality control, they were told it was proprietary, commercial information and they couldn't have it.
Think of that, my friends. The constitutional right to vote is outsourced to a private company with no legal accountability. The privatization of a citizen's right and duty to vote. It should strike fear in all our hearts at the ease with which these "officials" dismiss this breach of government trust and the social contract, as the state government refers you to the company, but the company refers them back to the state, and in the end all the accountability that an election is designed to be is lost forever in a series of "I refer you to, I refer you to, I refer you to. . ." The perfect scam. No democracy, no accountability, no blame. And all permitted to go unpunished because of a high court's deliberate running out of an imaginary and unnecessary clock, for the sake of "fairness" to only ONE of the candidates, and to appoint that favored candidate a leader in a country founded upon democratic principles.
WE MUST NEVER let this happen in our country. A statement throwing down the gauntlet, pledging that we will NOT let this illegality stand. We will be legitimately governed, but never ruled or overruled in this most important of rights. I used to fear the enemy, but today I fear my own corrupt countrymen and their greed for power at the expense of people and democracy.
Elections are not merely a substitution of ballots for bullets, of this candidate or that. An election in a Republic is the expression of the will of it citizens; it is our franchise, our birthright, a viewpoint that is as conservative as the Constitution itself. But in our country, it has been trampled upon with mob actions by a party and pistol-whipped into meaninglessness by a partisan court.
We must NEVER let this happen here. We cannot look away from our duty, in constant need of recharging, to preserve the tools that ensure the principles of our founding fathers that are the very bedrock of our democracy and our republic, the tools and principles that make us CITIZENS in this mortal world, citizens of a great shining democracy and NOT subjects in a dark tyranny.
05-28-01: Democracy's vital signs improve at Voter Rights March
By Dwayne Eutsey
WASHINGTON, DC, May 19-The sky was overcast early Saturday morning and a light smattering of rain fell as I made my way from the metro station to Lafayette Park, site of the Voter Rights March.
Trudging across the gray, mostly empty streets of the capital, I couldn't help but compare this morning to the scene last January on Inauguration Day. Despite rain and icy temperatures, the vibe in DC was crackling dissent then as protesters crowded the streets by the tens of thousands, outnumbered only by the massive show of force made by the police and military.
Now, as an occasional car or SUV splashed by or a group of men wearing expensive suits arrogantly strode past expecting me to step aside for them, I couldn't help but think that the soggy quiet was an unpromising omen for the march.
My interior landscape was just as gray. I was groggy from a rough workweek and from my one-year-old twins causing a few restless nights for my wife and me. In a larger sense, too, I was feeling burned out after enduring four months of the Bush regime's relentless blitzkrieg against progressive democracy in America. Like the slogan of the evil Borg in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," I was beginning to feel that resistance may indeed be futile.
Unfortunately, my hopes didn't improve much as I approached the White House. Across the street from the occupied President's House, I could make out a very small group of people gathered near the fountain in Lafayette Park. Resisting the urge to turn around and retreat for the day into the bookstore I had passed a block or so before, I thought I'd give the demonstration a try, however large or small it might turn out to be.
Although about fifty people were there when I finally straggled over, the initial low number didn't seem to concern anyone. In fact, they were downright enthusiastic, discussing bus rides from around the country (everywhere, from New York to Alaska), laughing at anti-Bush slogans on homemade protest signs, and sharing stories of renewed activism that has ignited since January 20.
As I milled around listening to these animated discussions, I got a sense of how each individual story was part of a larger, vibrant national narrative. It's a story as old as our country, one of passion for democracy and hope for a just society, but one incompatible with the fables promoted through corporate-owned media. I only saw one cameraman from the local ABC affiliate at Lafayette Park, so I doubt the story made much of a splash in the mainstream consciousness this time around either.
But that's not the point, really. I realized that no matter how large the Voter March would turn out to be or how much coverage it received, it was important that we still come together in a shared community and celebrate that we're not alone. The online protest community, effective as it is at transmitting information quickly and keeping the drumbeat of dissent pounding around the country, can't replace the spirit this kind of face-to-face communion generates.
As the morning progressed and the day began to brighten, our small group of enthusiastic protesters proved to be a tiny seed that soon sprouted into a sizable grassroots march that filled the streets of DC. By the time the last speaker was finished, the group had swelled into a broad range of energized Americans numbering in the hundreds.
Led by folk singer and activist Les Souci, who carried an enormous American flag fluttering in the increasing morning sunshine, we rallied
behind a group of World War II veterans and marched by the White House, chanting and blowing horns. We were barely out of the park when our first victory was scored by drawing the attention of surprised tourists away from the White House and onto signs protesting the stolen election. After the initial shock, many people smiled and gave us a thumbs up, and some even joined the march.
With DC police on motorcycles and in squad cars escorting us through Saturday morning traffic, the march grew to at least 1,500 to 2,000 protesters, according to most estimates. People throughout the city honked their horns, waved, and smiled as we chanted that Bush is a thief and that we weren't going to "get over it." I saw a group of African-American girls in their mid-teens eagerly join the march, chanting with the rest of us that they were never going to forget what happened in November.
Aside from one guy who drove by alternately flashing three fingers then one finger over and over again (he was either saying that "W won"-get it?-or he was proudly telling us his IQ . . . or both), everyone else who responded to us was positive. It was, however, a bit unsettling to see so many people who appeared puzzled or stared at us blankly as we marched by. Maybe these poor souls just aren't familiar with what democracy looks like.
By the time we reached the Supreme Court, the momentum of the march was rolling full force. In a unified, thundering voice that must have shaken the windows of the building, if not its foundation, we shouted "Shame on the Court! Shame on the Court!"
We finally reached the Capitol Building where we hit the steps like a wave, flooding the area with protesters. It felt nice to sit in the
occasional sunshine and cool breeze, listening to the voice of speakers like Lou Posner, the march's organizer, booming throughout the mall area. The only minor flaw in the setting was a lone rightwingnut heckling speakers and holding up a puny sign with a patch of the American flag stuck beneath a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker. Apparently he was unaware of the new civility his president has brought to DC.
When I realized what he was doing, I made my way over and stood beside him, holding overhead the Gore/Leiberman sign someone had given me during the march. Bracing myself for an elbow in the side, a fist in the face, or obscenities shouted in my ear from this guy, I noticed he had scrawled his name and address in pencil on the back of his sign, perhaps for when his medication wore off and the authorities needed to know where to return him.
The man from Stafford didn't do anything, however, except have a couple heated but brief exchanges with protesters. Mostly everyone ignored him. It's hard to imagine the same tolerance at a rightwing rally, isn't it?
After I left the rally, walking across the mall area to a metro station, I had a renewed and reassuring sense of hope. I saw all the people peacefully strolling around among the monuments and museums, all different races and cultures, families and homeless people, affluent and poor; and I remembered the face of an elderly Asian woman who drove by during the march, the look of joy and gratefulness at seeing us in the streets; I even thought of old Stafford, Virginia, and how he could be the lone heckler at our rally and not get pelted with stones or torn to pieces by an angry mob.
Reflecting on this and filled with the positive vibe of the march, it occurred to me that our democracy may be shaken, but it's still got a
heartbeat. And I realized that democracy's heart pounds a lot more vibrantly whenever we come together and infuse it with the kind of spirit generated by a celebration like the Voter March.
I'm willing to wager that this ain't something I would've found in the bookstore, either.
A Report from the Voters Rights March
By William Rivers Pitt
“You can’t stop a rooster from crowing once the sun is up, and the sun done come up.” - Old folk saying
The train jarred to a stop in the station as a wet dawn peeled across the sky above Washington, D.C. I rose groggily from the cramped, lotus-like ball I had been trying to sleep in, gathered up my bag, and walked into the cavernous emptiness of Union Station. My head was thumping sickly as I collected my wits; in order to ensure a quiet night of rest, I had medicated myself with a healthy dollop of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
When I had first boarded the train at 8:30 pm in Boston the night before, I had figured on a long, lonely trip down to D.C. I had not been five minutes in my seat, however, when I heard a snatch of conversation from the seats in front of me.
“…saw the VoterMarch website a few weeks ago, and knew I had to come…”
I lurched over the headrest and introduced myself. Here were Laura and Adam, taking the same journey for the same reasons as I was. Laura, in fact, had been in Washington for the inauguration with the 30,000 other protesters who had been so assiduously ignored by the media. Laura and Adam were perfectly normal people. They were not pierced, purple-haired anarchists. Adam worked for Sun Microsystems, and Laura was out from Colorado on a tech-work contract that would keep her in Boston a year. They both could have passed for accountants in any city in America. This was, I felt, a very good sign. I reasoned that it would be harder for the media to ignore a protest driven by ordinary citizens.
Laura, Adam and I wandered into the bowels of Union Station on the morning of May 19th in search of a cup of coffee. This proved to be a hard nut to make. The place was deserted, all food shops closed. We finally found a barbecue joint run by an early-rising Korean family, and as we sipped their potent brew, we talked about why we were here.
The Voters Rights March to Restore Democracy had several specific purposes behind its inception, a long laundry list of grievances dating back to the chaos of the Florida vote recount and the intervention by the Supreme Court on December 9, 2000. Underneath it all is a motivation that harkens back to the days before the voting reform laws passed in 1964. At the bottom, the Voters Rights March was about protecting the basic American right to vote, and about ensuring that all the votes which are cast are counted fairly and equally.
By the end of this day I would meet a dozen people from Florida who believed their votes had not been counted. The hurt and anger in their eyes was fresh and electric; after 157 days they had not “gotten over it,” and were I to make a bet, I would confidently put money on the idea that they never, ever would.
The other protests I had participated in had been focused on a specific, narrow grievance – the Gulf war, the death penalty. This march was focused upon the fact that a basic and fundamental American right had been abrogated, and because of this, a man had been installed in the White House who had not won the election. Nothing like this had ever happened in all of American history, and the fact that ordinary American citizens were compelled to come to Washington, D.C. from as far away as Alaska, California and Minnesota in defense of the simple right to vote exposes the degree of rage that lingers in the electorate.
Laura, Adam and I decided to take the long way to the rallying place at Lafayette Park, walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. When we finally arrived in front of the White House, my heart sank. There were a few early-bird high school groups, and the anti-nuclear protest station that had been in place since 1981 squatted eternally in the Park, but beyond that I counted a meager collection of six Voter March participants.
I made myself busy for the next couple of hours as the Park began to fill with protesters. I introduced myself to Democratic activists from Kansas, Pennsylvania and Arizona. I helped construct a sound stage where speeches would be delivered around noon. I snapped pictures of signs and banners that began to wave in the swelling crowd. Somewhere along the way I lost track of Adam and Laura, though I occasionally spotted them in the crowd.
I must have spoken to 50 people before 10:00 am, and I was impressed by the amount of information they possessed. This crew was not a bunch of young reactionaries simply looking for a reason to shout. The median age of the gathering was about 40, and they all knew exactly why they were there.
I would start a sentence about ChoicePoint, and they would finish my sentence with specified statistics on exactly how many Florida voters had been blown off the rolls before the election. I would say, “The Bush energy policy…” and eight people would turn to finish my thought, using phrases like “money laundering” and “campaign contributor payoffs.” I felt like I was sitting in my living room conversing with 100 manifestations of my own brain. I have never been quite so comfortable in the company of strangers. Even my ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ t-shirt drew compliments, proving to me that these people had read the right books.
The speeches began around 11:30 am. By this time the crowd numbered in the hundreds, and more buses were arriving each minute. We heard from Lou Posner, one of the central organizers of the march, who looked like a blue-suited roadie for Crosby, Stills & Nash, but had the eyes of an assassin with his mark in the gunsight. We heard from one of the leaders of OralMajority.com, who declared his candidacy for the governorship of Florida and delineated all the reasons why Jeb Bush had to go. We heard from a woman who had been an observer during the recount, and she bore witness to the mob action and calumny that motivated this march.
Soon enough, the moment arrived. The signs and banners were hoisted, and the crowd formed into a long column as we began our march to the Capitol steps. I took a spot at the vanguard, just behind the main Voters Rights March banner and next to an elderly group bearing a loud sign that read, “WWII Veterans Against Bush.” An older woman with a bullhorn became the chant leader; she looked and sounded like a union organizer with many marches under her belt.
As we passed the White House I found my voice, and raised a bull-throated roar that quoted the title of the column I wrote back in December: “Not my President! Not my President! Not my President!” As I howled, I pointed a fist at the residence, where the usurper lived in illegitimate splendor. The chant was picked up by those around me, and as we passed the Treasury building it was being shouted by everyone in the march. I paused to look at the mass of people behind me. I am no good at counting crowds, but it seemed clear that the six who began the morning had swelled into the thousands. Traffic stopped around us as our police escort led us slowly towards the Capitol. Many of the drivers we had slowed with our procession beeped and waved, drawing a cheer from the marchers.
Some of the chants heard on the street:
“Gore got more!”
“We’ll move on when he moves out!”
“Investigate the fraud!”
“Where’s the Washington Post now?!”
“Count all the votes!”
“Shame on the court!”
The march passed the Department of Justice, where we paused and shouted for an investigation of the Florida vote. We circled the Supreme Court and heaped vitriol upon those who had broken faith with the American people by selecting a President before the votes were counted. Every step of the way we were photographed by tourists, some of whom were gape-mouthed at the fact that there were still people angry about the election. Not one person, however, gave us the finger or shouted us down, a testament to the hope that America knows full well that all is not right with its election process.
We arrived at the steps of the Capitol around 2:00 pm sweaty, sore-voiced, but not nearly finished. Lou Posner addressed the crowd again, warming us up for the speakers to come. Among the crowd was a figure in a brown cowboy hat, a pot bellied man with a mustache and sweat-stains growing under his armpits. He held aloft a Bush/Cheney sign and tried to shout down the speakers as they came to the podium, but was himself shouted down by the marchers around him. After a little while he disappeared. Once this lone Freeper was gone, we were alone among the faithful, unmolested by any GOP supporters.
Darting through the crowd was a cameraman for CNN, and the march organizers did their best to give him clear shots of the crowd and the signs they carried. I wondered to myself if the images he was capturing would ever find their way onto a news broadcast. I had my doubts.
After a number of speakers got the crowd’s juices flowing, a man in his 60s walked slowly to the microphone and began speaking in a quiet voice. His name was Ronnie Duggar, founder of The Alliance for Democracy, and he had spoken at Dupont Circle during the inauguration protests in January. As he spoke, the crowd hushed, for surely there was power in his diminutive frame. I cannot begin to give you the electricity his words gave the crowd with these simple, typed sentences. But I would be remiss if I did not share some of his speech with you, for they were the best I have yet heard. They burned. Here are some slices of his most notable comments, re-created to the best of my abilities from my tape recorder:
“After the secret, four-month Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a matron of that city approached Benjamin Franklin afterwards, and asked what they had produced. ‘A republic, if you can keep it,’ Franklin said. Well, we haven’t kept it. We’ve lost it. George W. Bush and his lawyers, led by the crafty James Baker III and five members of the Supreme Court, who invented a Constitutional right for the occasion, have usurped from the people the right to choose the President of the United States. The judges overthrew the government by selecting the President themselves, 5-4, rather than let events take their constitutional course.”
“When Governor Bush was sworn in by Chief Justice Renquist of the court that had stolen it for him, the government itself was seized in a judicial and presidential coup de’tat.”
“Congress and the presidency had already been de-legitimized across the past 20 years by the triumph of uncontrolled campaign finance corruption over the common good. Now, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court de-legitimized itself and the court system arrayed below it. This is no longer a respectable government, because we’ve lost the only three branches of government we’ve got. We’ve lost our entire government to a corporate oligarchy that now governs us without our permission.”
“We will label these four years of Bush illegitimacy as the Lawless Years, the tyranny in American history, the Tyrannical Interlude. We trust that George II will not be succeeded by George III, throwing us right back to where we were in 1775, because we are men and women and students on fire with controlled anger and we refuse to consent!”
Mr. Duggar went on in this vein for some time, his voice quivering with rage. The cheering swelled to a roar as he called upon us never to name Bush president. Call him Governor among friends and family, at the bar or at work, Duggar asked, and in this daily act of dissent spread the word that the fight is not over, will never be over, until the man not duly elected is cast from the White House like so much refuse. Duggar called for the organization of a multi-faceted group, based upon the framework of the old Rainbow Coalition, whose cause will be the re-invigoration of democracy and the reformation of American voting rights.
Duggar concluded his remarks quietly with a solemn invocation: “When we’re ready, we’ll start things up again as the new American Democracy, the new American Revolution, democracy and justice at last more nearly realized among us. And then we can say to each other, and to ourselves, 'Yes...the new American Democracy.’”
The speeches and music went on into the afternoon. I worked my way through the crowds, meeting, networking, getting and giving information. As the sun got lower in the sky I felt the quakings of exhaustion in my legs, and shouldered my pack to leave. As I made my way back to Union Station, I considered everything I had seen and heard.
I was reminded of an interview I had seen on television once. A musician was talking about the first Velvet Underground album ever released. The album sold only about 2,000 copies, this musician said, but everyone who bought it went out and started a band. I think this Voters Rights March will have the same effect.
We did not shut down Washington, D.C., and I doubt our number rose above 3,000 people. But each and every person who came, those from New Jersey, California, Alaska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oregon, New York, Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Arizona to name a few, will all return home knowing they are not alone. They will become active within their sphere, and if we come back together in a year, our numbers will have certainly grown. Big storms gather around small particles, and there were thunderclouds on the brow of all present on May 19th.
This is only the beginning.
William Rivers Pitt
The San Francisco Herald
Contributing Writer for:
My experience at the Voter March
by Nancy Lynn Nagy
Attending the Voter Rights March in DC is probably the most important and rewarding thing I have ever done for my country, my children and my fellow citizens.
After driving all night to get there my arrival in DC was somewhat discouraging. It was raining, I was tired and felt more like getting a motel room and going to sleep than protesting.
It did not take long for me to perk up, however. As our group of Tennessee FringeFolk made our way towards the park carrying our signs reading "TOXIC TEXAN", "RE$IGN THIEF", "SHAME" and more, the horns started honking in support immediately!
The trip to the park got better with every step. A group of Chinese men was taking pictures of a monument, when they saw us with our signs and asked us to pose with them for pictures. They took several pictures, each taking turns standing next to us!! I had to laugh, I thought about how they could probably sell those pictures of themselves standing next to a American Bush protester holding a "Re$ign Thief" sign for big money in China!
When we came around a bend in the park sidewalk, a large group of African Americans was unloading from an out-of-state chartered bus and they too immediately swarmed over us with support. One woman grabbed my "Re$ign Thief" sign and said "Yeah, Resign Thief!" and stood with her friends and the sign for pictures. When they caught a glimpse of Susan's "SHAME" sign they started chanting, "Shame, Shame, Shame on you Bush"!! I thought this was very interesting, and I took note throughout the day of how much public support for our cause there was!!
At the initial gathering place in the park, my son and I wandered around a bit, talking to people about their experiences in the election and what they thought about this mess. One man from Florida was very vocal about what he thought of Baby Bush's phony election reform that does not address any of the criminal atrocities that went on in Florida and believes firmly that they will do it again if we do not prosecute them now. I agreed. Also, he stated, "Here's the picture I would like to see; Ted Olson prosecuting Jeb Bush"! It will never happen I said to myself, and I am sure he knew it too!
I am sure that you have heard from many about the support we got from people in the streets. The horns honked consistently. But there was one part of the March that the horns were especially numerous and extremely loud and it lasted for probably a couple of minutes. This gave me shivers down my spine and made me feel that maybe there is hope after all. Also many pedestrians who were probably visitors to Washington, crossed the street and joined our March. I was amazed. It was awesome.
My favorite chant was: "On no, Gore's Ahead! Better call my brother Jeb"!!
The most revealing part of the March for me was when we were gathered in front of the US Supreme Court. The Voter March people had set up a microphone and camera where we could make comments to the US Extreme Court Injustices. It was then, watching these people from Florida tell off the Court, that I realized the full impact of what they did to these people, this Country and our Democracy. They literally stole from them their sacred right to vote, raped our Democracy, and trampled over our very being in order to make their power grab!! I understood fully now, how the media had done its best to minimize and downplay what had really happened in Florida that day!! It had started early on the election day morning and no one, in spite of all of their complaining to elected officials, newspapers, etc. did anything to help these people of Florida cast their votes -- their legal and Constitutional right to vote !! Believe me I was impacted deeply!!
That is why now I say to you that I will NEVER compromise my belief as to what I think should be done to GW Bu$h, Jeb Bu$h, Jim Baker, Katherine Harris, the InJustices and anyone else who took part in this unlawful Coup! These people should be investigated for the HIGH CRIME OF TREASON and punished according to the law and the Constitution as required. Impeachment is too good for them !!
Unfortunately at the rally on the Capitol steps there was a Bush supporting heckler. He did a good job of repeating his brainwashed right wing rhetoric of "W. won, get over it!" I asked him nicely to leave and to go join his like-minded friends at the Lincoln Memorial. When he opened his mouth to speak, I almost vomited from the smell of alcohol on his breath. So of course you know I couldn't resist. I asked him if W. had given him a case of beer in exchange for coming over to our rally and supporting him. He wouldn't answer me, of course. Later he either left or he was asked to leave. I was glad. I never want to hear right wing rhetoric again!!
The speakers were magnificent and inspiring!! Their words were music to my ears! After many, many months of tap dancing around the truth and literal silence on the issue of Bush's illegitimacy and the $tolen $election, it was so good to hear someone talk with some sense!!
The fact that not anyone from the mainstream media bothered to cover the March, convinced me completely that the press is being controlled by the White House. One can only imagine the fiasco and media circus if this was a March about Clinton lies or Gore $tealing the $election !! The hypocrisy and bias is beyond belief !!
I am sorry for those of you who could not make it, because I think that it would have changed you in a way that you could never go back, just like it changed me. Please join in our non-violent rebellion of Bush!! Never call him President !! Challenge the press and your friends when they call him President!! Write to your elected officials and challenge Bush's legitimacy with them. Also please join in every effort to protest Bush whenever he comes near your area and in every effort to bring about election reform!! Sign petitions to the Congress and to the UN asking them to investigate the election. This is so vitally important Patriots! I believe that if we let this slide that we will be doomed for a long rough ride to the end, and no one knows how long that may be. I cannot and will not leave this legacy to my children.
It is my duty and it is your duty to stop this and we must do it now!!
Nancy Lynn Nagy -- Summertown, Tennessee (Bu$h stole Gore's home state too!!)
by S. L. McKay
As we began to make our way to the Voter March East gathering in Lafayette Park, a group of college-age youth walked past us, sneering and rolling their eyes. They were about half a block ahead of us when one of males turned around and shouted, "Get a life"!
The rain had stopped and we had found a great parking space on 17th NW. Auspicious signs on the Saturday morning of the first Voter March for Democracy in Washington, D.C. We were dressed for success, with anti-coup signs that read "Toxic Texan" and "Resign Thief" as well as buttons and T-shirts with similar sentiments. As we began to make our way to the Voter March East gathering in Lafayette Park, a group of college-age youth walked past us, sneering and rolling their eyes. They were about half a block ahead of us when one of males turned around and shouted, "Get a life"!
Such wit! Such bravado! Most definitely a Bush supporter, the young man was a perfect mascot for those who not only do not question a coup, but also get agitated when they see Americans exercising their free speech rights.
Sad citizens such as he apparently believe that understanding and believing in the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution and gathering to defend it means that one has no life.
Perhaps these "Americans" also think a woman who has spent her existence tending a home, raising a family, and going to church on Sunday has no life.
"I have never protested in my life, can't quite explain it. I just had to come," soft-spoken Cletties Self stated flatly. The unassuming grandmother from Louisiana went on to tell me about how the hard-edged philosophy of the New Right has invade her daily life as well as our national elections. Her decision to march in D.C. was no more profound than her decision to leave her church, where she had worshipped for decades, because the Sunday sermons had become political lectures about the sins of Left and salvation of the Right.
When her son asked her what she wanted for Mother's Day, Cletties didn't hesitate "a round-trip bus ticket to Voter March." She and her husband traveled a thousand miles and two days with a busload of Texans. The group arrived shortly before the march began and were leaving soon after it ended in order to get back to their daily lives.
>I only spoke with her for a few minutes, but she had the quiet wisdom that only comes from a full and wonderful life.
>Voter March for Democracy could also have been called Americans March for Democracy. Citizens from as faraway as Alaska made the journey to our nation's capital. Buses carried many from Texas and New York. Some folks flew, but most packed up the car or van and trekked from the Plains, Great Lakes, Mississippi Delta, and Ohio Valley. They drove in the rain and through the night, across the Great Smoky and Appalachian ranges. Caravans formed along the eastern seaboard down from Maine and up from Florida. Hippies, Yuppies, Gen X, Y and Z showed up. Men and women, married and single, gay and straight, walked side by side. Veterans from World War II to the Gulf War were present. Seasoned activists and newbies mingled. People of all ages, teenagers, newlyweds, and grandparents carried signs and symbols expressing their outrage at the past and hope for the future. Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists; Greens, Democrats, Independents, conservatives, moderates, liberals; people of all colors and socio-economic walks of life chanted "This is what Democracy looks like! This is what Democracy sounds like!"
The diversity and camaraderie among the marchers was summed up well by Fitz Fleenor of Nashville, Tennessee, "Observing plenty of Greens, made me realize that you don't have to be a Democrat to care about the "Toxic Texan" stealing the election. It was inspiring to get to meet people from different groups whom I communicated with over the Internet. You know, putting the name with the face. I really love D.C., and being with others who echoed my feelings about being patriotic. Not exactly textbook patriotism, but patriots (all of us)--just the same. I'm particularly empowered by the "Voters Bill of Rights," which gives me a banner to carry into the future."
Finding fulfillment through meeting and finding common ground with people from different walks of life. Mr. Fleenor not only has a life, he has a lust for life.
The marchers were simply the faces of America. Citizens united to protest the illegitimate Regime, widespread voting irregularities and possible fraud (in Tennessee, Missouri, and Michigan as well as Florida), and promote positive solutions to make sure that what happened in election 2000 will never happen again. Those that participated in Voter March believe in civil rights, which include the right to vote and have that vote be counted. They understand that having a voice in our representative democracy is the birthright of every American.
"I had to do something," commented Darryle Heslop of Neosho Falls, Kansas. In addition to traveling to D.C. to stand up for the "Voter's Bill of Rights," he has gotten involved back home a place he calls "GOP territory." Coup2K motivated him and two of his daughters to run for local offices. All three democrats were elected the election of one democrat in the area was a surprise, three was a miracle! It indicates that conservatives willing to look past partisan rhetoric are not too pleased with the direction their leaders are taking their party and our country.
Turning anger into positive
action by working to improve one's community. Sounds like this guy and his
daughters have very productive lives.
We gathered at Lafayette Park to reaffirm what our minds, hearts, and souls have been telling us: Americans do not get over a coup. One person, one vote and that vote must be counted. The first leg of our protests was mostly about building and drawing energy from one another. It was as easy as breathing clean air. Thousands of complete strangers unified by a universal belief in fairness, equality, and justice. A community of humans, who readily agreed to discard the layers of social and economic veils that separate us in order to work together to repair and strengthen the core beliefs that unite us.
Jack Hamilton, a student at Texas A&M, told me that he "came to D.C. to tell others that the good people of Texas do not support Bush." He expressed personal embarrassment about the selection of Bush by the United States Supreme Court because Bush was from Texas. I then reminded him that Bush has spent quite a bit of his life in Connecticut, Maine, and Washington, D.C. He is as much a Texan as Larry Hagman.
A young man who is willing to speak out against a member of his state's ruling dynasty is rare. Sounds like he is already more of his own man than the Resident will ever be. Jack's definitely got a life.
As we streamed from Lafayette Park onto the streets of our nation's capital, something magical began to happen. One would think that as the group spread apart its energy would dissipate. Yet it did not. With each step, the dynamism increased. It wasn't until we were marching along Constitution Avenue that it hit me. I should have been exhausted, not only from the hike, but also from the continuous chanting of slogans "Selected, Not Elected," "Cheney needs a heart; Bush needs a brain," and "Gore Got More," but I wasn't tiring out, I was firing up! We all were.
Without a doubt we drew strength from one another, but something else was propelling us. My epiphany came as we approached a somewhat average looking middle-aged man dressed in a sports coat and slacks. He was standing on the street corner across from us, waiting for the light to change, seemingly oblivious to the loud humans that were flowing past him like a river. Then suddenly, as if jolted out of a trance, he put his thumb and index finger up to his mouth and gave us a blaring whistle and pumped his other fist in the air. This caused our section of the line to cheer wildly and even more loudly.
We were focused on creating awareness, on breaking through the haze of apathy. We, the People, formed a rainbow of humanity, streaming along the streets as far as the eye could see and filling two of five lanes normally reserved for motor vehicles. The looks on people's faces were priceless curiosity and confusion replaced by dawning recognition and gleeful affirmation. Folks responded, as Americans must, in their own unique way. A bus driver beep-beep-beeped while his passengers pressed their faces against the windows, cheering and waving. Car after car slowed and honked, passengers waved and whistled in agreement. Pedestrians applauded, whooped, waved, and snapped photos. A beverage vendor on the street corner nodded in appreciation. A man on a bike, who rode by twice, and then followed us to the Capitol. A couple across the street seemed to want join in us, so we waved them over and they did! My personal favorite was when the few sour-faced hecklers were drowned out not by our chants but the cheers and car horns of other Americans that had no prior knowledge of the scheduled march.
Like lightening rods, each time our energies sparked an observer's interest, the sensation heightened and expanded. Their response did not simply buoy us, it catapulted our message beyond our physical reach. The observers connected with us and became part of the march. The marchers physical boundaries, but the spiritual boundary expanded in all directions. There were barriers, to be sure. Walls of closed minds existed but could not stop the potent positivity created by a pro-active group projecting sentiments that struck a chord with other open minded individuals. We connected! And it was a truly groovy experienced.
"I'm here to get the word out. Florida was not the only state where odd things happened," explained Marvalene Pankey of St. Louis, Missouri. She is part of OPERA:
Opposition Parties Election Reform Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to looking in to voting irregularities in Missouri.
The afternoon was spent on the steps of our nation's Capitol listening to a wide range of speakers. Some reiterated the stunning events of the past six months, covering moral, ethical, social, legal and political dynamics and offering perspective.
More importantly, all offered constructive ways to effect change. The blame game has no winner. We must be willing to do what we can to educate and empower ourselves, and then reach out to others. Success begins and ends with each of us.
"After speaking with and listening to several people, young and old, from Florida about the outrageous voter fraud that went on from early in the morning until the closing of the polls in the evening on November 7, 2000, I will NEVER compromise what I believe should be done to George W. Bush, his brother Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris and the felonious five! Impeachment is too good for them!" exclaimed Nancy Lynn Nagy, a Tennessee Fringe Folk.
Those of us who have followed the presidential campaign, what transpired in Florida and the unmandated agenda that is being forced down the majority's throat know that Nagy's sentiments are justified and shared by millions of Americans. Yet at some point, we must move past the anger in order to heal, and to stop the obscenity. Ironically, the righteous anger stirred up as a result of Coup2K is a potent part weapon, once it is channeled toward positive change.
Ms. Nagy's willingness to turn her anger into action to effect positive change is a big step toward this end. She, along with thousands of other citizens from across our country, can feel proud about their contributions to improving our democracy. Their individual participation in Voter March East on May 19, 2001 may not seem significant right now, but history has shown nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.
Those that don't "get it" can only respond to those of us that do in single-syllable corporate-driven slogans like "get a life." To them, I do not waste my time. Yet to any that have not dead-bolted their hearts and minds, I say: I have a life and choose to strive for a more enlightened one. If that bothers you perhaps you should check your pulse for you seem to lack that which separates human from machine.
From: <Susan M.>
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 7:47 AM
Subject: Voter March DC
I have to tell you after attending the DC event that I too was disappointed in the turnout. I thought by (roughly) counting the people in line that we might have near but under 1,000. I read on the web later that there were 2,000 but I believe that was an exaggeration. I would like to have seen 50,000 or 500,000 thousand. However, after my initial disappointment when I saw the crowd, I became pumped and excited as the protest commenced. I'm sure you have heard people say that we were greeted with cheers and favorable honking all along the route. That is not an exaggeration. I was surprised at how many DC motorists and tourists were cheering us on. I was amazed by it.The DC taxi drivers and city bus drivers were obviously on our side. As we were going up one busy city street toward the Supreme Court. the noise started to reverberate off the buildings and became almost deafening. Most of the cars at the intersection were laying on their horns and honking in approval. A big semi truck driver honked his horn in the rhythm of us chanting "Gore got More". The honking at that street lasted for several minutes as we passed through. I have to say that the DC police were very polite and helpful. They didn't voice an opinion one way or the other but they escorted us along the route and were not abusive at all. I didn't know what to expect because this was my first protest. A protest virgin no longer! Anyway, I think that I will write the police department in DC and commend them on their behavior. Eight (including a dog) of us made the trek from Nashville to Washington. We drove all night and marched all day in the muggy heat without sleep. But I have to tell you-every single person on our journey is more dedicated than ever to restoring the voting rights of the American people. Everyone has voiced how glad they are that they went-so even though our numbers are disappointing-the Protests was WORTH IT! I wouldn't have missed it for anything-I feel that I have finally done something for my country. This is a chance for us to work even harder to face the challenge before us. GW's crew are masterminds at propaganda, so it won't be easy. Apathy is our worst enemy.
From: <Alfred S.>
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 3:47 PM
Subject: [fringefolk] votermarch - wahoo
Got back from DC about 4 today, Sunday, finished unloading, with some unpacking left, but too beat to finish it without a rest - maybe tomorrow.
The crowd really liked the T-shirts, and they want more. I told many that the background story of the graphics would be posted on the fringefolk website. I refer to the one contained in emails I saw on Friday. I talked with Rose about this, and she agreed. T-shirts T-shirts T-shirts is about all I did all day Saturday, and I heard very little of anything anybody said on stage, even though I spent the whole time within shouting distance of the microphones. I can't wait to read transcriptions, and/or see and hear them on the web; well I guess I do have to wait- no choice. Most of what I did hear (about 5 minutes' worth, all told), was stirring, informative and/or INFURIATING, especially the newer foul things coming to light about goings on in Florida before the election. What a bunch of stinkers!
I met lots of great people this weekend, and I'm very proud to make their acquaintance, and hope to see them all and work with them again, very soon. Especially all those babes from all over the country. wahoo. (Sorry guys- one must have priorities). LOL
I must rest, but just one more thing. This news about the White House trashing lie really kills me. I believe it of course, but it is UN-BE-LIEVABLE. This country has been taken over by ... I've run out of words- no combination of a few words begins to be adequate. This disillusioned idealist is beyond cynicism. I'm pissed. I want to be first in line when we throw all dubya's stuff out the windows of the White House. No need to be gentle- he is the worst kind of squatter.
To: <CitizensForLegitimateGovernment@yahoogroups.com>; <Dem-NC@yahoogroups.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <Voter@yahoogroups.com>; <VoterNC@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 6:45 AM
Subject: [fringefolk] Voter March!
I just wanted to take a minute to say how glad I am that I was able to make it to Voter March! It was inspiring to see all the protesters marching, stretched out for blocks! The best part was all the drivers and pedestrians along the way who honked in support or gave us thumbs up! I feel certain that most American's feel like we do, but with the state of the media, they just don't realize that there are others who are organized to help them express themselves!
The speakers and entertainment were great! Unfortunately, my husband and I had to cut out after about 4:30, right after the moving tribute to the protesting veterans! (I kept wondering what that idiot heckler who went on and on about the military votes would have thought of those brave men and women if he had bothered to stick around long enough...although I was happy when he had left!)
I also wanted to say I was sorry to those of you who I had hoped to talk to there, especially those of you from NC. My husband and I had just flown to DC from Nice France on Friday evening, and I think I'm still (even today) feeling the effects of jet lag from my first overseas trip! I don't think I was able to form a coherent sentence on Saturday, although I did make a point of going up to Mike Rectenwald to commend him for giving a great speech.
I did take several rolls of pictures, and hopefully when I get them developed, I will upload them to my website! I'll let you all know when!
Thanks to all the organizers for providing such an inspiring day!
"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"
"Those who cast the votes decide nothing! Those who count the votes decide everything!" (Joseph Stalin)
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 4:24 PM
Subject: [Voter] VoterMarch - Washington DC May 19 report
Just a really quick note - it was great! I would estimate several thousand people - the march went on for several blocks - not "huge" as demonstrations go, but what was most impressive about it was the grassroots feeling, the creativity of all the homemade signs, and the friendliness everyone showed. It was wonderful to see so many kindred spirits all in one place - and another thing that struck me was the friendly reception everyone showed us, from the tourist trolleys to the cars at intersections - universal encouragement! All in all a very special experience. Thanks everyone for organizing it. We're definitely going to keep on doing this.
From: "Linda C. McCabe" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 11:08 PM
Subject: [BBBR] Voterwest, an activist's dedication, the Diva's video, etc.
Tammy and the Resistance Fighters, I was glad to be a part of the Voterwest rally. I rode down with two of my dearest friends who are veteran activists. They've been fighting for social justice for literally decades and have arrest records for civil disobedience to prove it. They are both in their seventies and didn't feel that they were physically up to marching, so we went directly to the rally site. So I missed out on marching and chanting. The reports I've read makes me a bit envious that I didn't get to participate in that. I had originally hoped to stay after the rally and chat and schmooze with BBBR members, but that was not to be. You see the gentle soul who drove had fallen earlier that morning, but insisted that he was alright. His wife had wanted to take him to the emergency room to be checked out. He knew that I was going to meet them shortly and he didn't want to disappoint me or to miss the protest.
As the day wore on, he started to admit to his wife that he was in a lot of pain. So we left early at about 3 pm. Later that evening, he consented to going to the emergency room. They did X-rays and found that he had broken two ribs that morning. Never let it be said that those fighting for social justice aren't committed to the cause! I gave birth without any drugs and I'm still amazed by how he endured such pain for so long without any complaint.
On a lighter note, I enjoyed meeting Tammy, Chuck, Sandy and Mindy. I wish that I had gotten pictures of all of us close up together, but hind sight is 20-20. Tammy is still being self-deprecating about her speech. Last night at our monthly NOW chapter meeting, two of our interns had specifically mentioned how much they enjoyed the speech given by The Diva. Sarah thought that your throwing away a written speech and talking off the cuff was very inspirational. You connected with her, even if it didn't feel like it at the time. And as someone who has over twenty years public speaking experience, I must reiterate that you did a fine job. Not el sucko as you seem to think. Of course everyone can be their harshest critic, so if you want to analyze your speech and figure out where you could have nipped here and tucked there - go right ahead because that's how you improve. It doesn't mean however that the audience didn't appreciate what they did see, it only means that you can make it better. Hell, even the Big Dog can learn from his public speaking mistakes. (With him it's namely to try to make it come in shorter than 97 minutes. ;-) )
I also picked up a copy of the video "Bushwacked" that is available on BBBR. It is really fabulous. Hell, if I had but known how good it was, I would have pushed it at the table. We are going to show it at our chapter meeting in June when the topic is Voting Rights. This is a great tool for quickly educating and entertaining people in a setting and then bringing out the big guns about how to go about the nuts and bolts necessary in reforming our laws and/or ENFORCING THEM!!!
One of my favorite parts in that video are the scenes with State Senator Sheila James Kuehl. She is a hero of mine and I love, love, *love* hearing her speak. I would love to see her run for Congress, Senate, Governor or yes, President. Zelda Gilroy for Prez. Now that would upset the Rabid Right! LOL. I'm going to end with that pleasant image in my mind. A vocal and brilliant feminist who is an out lesbian running for president. She'd get my vote and all of my support.
Linda McCabe, Sonoma County
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 2:25 PM
Subject: [Voter] The March was AWESOME!!
We're back early due to extreme conditions (a 2-year old who REALLY needed a nap) but it was just fantastic! Such energy!! :o) I know CNN was there, along with ABCnews but the ABC guy didn't have a camera, just a mic. there was a story this morning on CNN - allpolitics section but not coverage - just the announcement of the planned rally/march.
There were a couple other media types there so let's hope we get a bit
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 6:08 PM
Subject: [Voter] THE MARCH? WOW!!!!!!!!!
The march was incredible folks....absolutely, undeniably INCREDIBLE! My guesstimation would be about two thousand people! (truly a guesstimation, this was my first big protest)! So many people, all colors, all sizes and shapes... with two things in common, a good heart and rage at the stolen election! Many, many thumbs up and pumping fists and car horns!!! The people know we are doing the right thing! There was only one repug jackass from Virginia with a bush/cheney sign. WE tortured him! He left... I said good riddance...NAZI! Why did I enjoy saying that to him so much? ;-) At several points I was getting hot hoarse and tired....then horns would start honking and I would get re-energized! IT WAS AWESOME FOLKS!!!!!! The p.a system was incredible... the speakers could be heard way down past the reflection pool! People stopped and listened, I saw them! There were many, many more people for us than against us! Thank you Lou, Rose, Bob, Juliet and each and every one of you I walked with! A special thanks to Joe Forgy, "our" WWII vet! This was just the beginning people. There was news about a law suit coming and more evidence that Greg Palast has! IT WAS TRULY HEART WARMING TO WITNESS IT ALL! Those of you that couldn't be there, I can only hope that I have conveyed to you how wonderful it was to be a true patriot today!
Much Love To All My Fellow Dems!
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 6:26 PM
Subject: [Voter] Re: THE MARCH? WOW!!!!!!!!!
We did get some kudos from DC cops and I learned of one woman cop that actually wanted to be there with us but couldn't.
One costume was of a guy dressed as BIG MONEY and he was chained to the Capitol (a woman wearing the Capitol). They were great. Big Money is going to take care of you he kept saying. Even onlookers liked it.
At the Extreme Court, we placed ballots in a trash can and gave messages that were recorded for the Extremes.
We had one persistent freeper and while he was annoying I'm hoping he also learned something from the outstanding speakers. What we what (clean elections and campaigns) is for everybody. But what he doesn't want (a real investigation) is just too bad.
Learned of an action to happen in Tallahassee in June I think. Check out http://www.democracysummer.org/.
Heard great music and I particularly enjoyed the jams of Memphis Gold. http://www.memphisgold.net/. All the music was excellent and I think the music brought some people towards us. You could also hear the speakers for a long distance.
Even though some people were afraid to join us, there were LOTS that heard something new they haven't heard before. I even saw some actually listening. The walk was probably longer than anybody realized, but worth every ache or pain.
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 12:31 PM
Subject: [fringefolk] Eyewitness Photos of WashingtonVoterMarch at Venice Beach
On the Steps of the Capitol
Eyewitness Washington VoterMarch photos available for viewing today at Venice Beach. You won't see this on the news! I don't know how many thousands of us there were in Washington, D.C. yesterday - but the support we got from the passers by, the people sitting in traffic waiting for us to cross, the POLICEMEN CHANTING "Oh No Gore's Ahead; Better Call My Brother Jeb!" ALONG WITH US, the people honking relentlessly and waving their hands out the windows of their cars - reduced me to tears as I marched. When we passed the Supreme Court Building - Rose started crying.
Rose was the star of the morning. Her speech was so good that she was being interviewed all day. Juliet Stewart, Lou Posner, Bob Kunst all gave inspiring speeches in the Woodstock-like atmosphere. I can't thank Lou enough for having organized this extraordinary event. I spent the day signing up more fringefolk and getting autographs. The whole march was filmed. The music was fantastic. I got more pictures of "Dogs for Democracy". I had to leave early to catch my flight, so I missed Les Souci's protest songs; but I have a feeling that this will remain a cult film for a while until we are able to take the networks back.
I finally met Fredi (frederique n. sol), Les Souci, Bob Fertick and Juliet Stewart. Juliet said she will be visiting California soon.
Jamie called from San Francisco. I HEARD YOU JAMIE!
WE ARE AMERICA FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!
I told a group of bush supporters at the airport on my way out (I guess they don't call themselves "republicans" any more.) that their party is not fit to lead and that next year when we get the senate back - they can look forward to seeing bush and his father, Kissinger and the Supreme Court Five - in jail where they belong - then we can talk about "getting over it" - ALL FIFTY MILLION OF US. The republican party is dead in California and after this, I don't even think de-regulated capitalism/slavery is going to survive of the people. One guy tried to deflect my points by throwing abortion and "being Christian" into the argument. But I told him the Bible clearly does not condemn abortion. In an eye for an eye - the child is not even a person while it is in the womb; furthermore, Jesus would not spend his time incarcerating 20 million women and doctors. The main "bushsupporter" eventually gave in to the Bible argument and was compelled to concede that Jesus would not have spent his time persecuting women and doctors; so I called him a hypocrite! I told him he had no right to call himself a "Christian" if he does not even try to be like Christ! He is just using the name "Christ" to endorse his own dishonorable ambitions! I got mad when he tried to blame the energy crisis on California. We managed to remain civil during the entire discourse and departed as friends. He said he admired my passion and commitment, I fanned my face and smiled as I said it was nice to finally be able to talk to a republican without completely losing my cool. I showed him the Fringefolk catalog; he turned the pages and looked at the people in it.
Come down to Venice Beach to see the photos and the Fringefolk autographs after noon today.
Subj: Report: Million Voter March
Date: 05/21/2001 11:35:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jane Baker)
To: email@example.com, DivaTex@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi y'all... Please let others know about these things below--spread the word:
I attended the Million Voter March on Sat. May 19th, in Washington DC. Although there were not 1 million people there in corporeal form, there were more than 500 million people there in spirit (I'm trying for a moment to be a little bit optimistic...)
But I still feel that it was the moral and civic duty of EVERY American citizen (regardless of their political affiliation) to be there IN PERSON. And so many people WERE ***NOT*** THERE IN PERSON (and therefore they were--alas--shirking their duties to the society and the civilization.)
This was NOT a rally about political affiliation. THIS was a rally about the basic fundamental human right to vote and have that vote fairly counted in a democracy!
Without any question it has been proven that the democracy has been taken away from the people, and the 2000 coup ("election") is one of the more major signs and signals of this.
THEREFORE THERE IS NO EXCUSE for America (all of it) to have ONE INCH OF APATHY in their minds and in their behavior.
Everyone who reads this, should call upon all Americans to come to the NEXT rallies and marches, which should be happening very, very soon (it's up to you hearing this, to create these, and to get the good P.R. out to the press/media so that people know about these events.) WE MUST BE PERSUADING EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN, THAT THIS TYPE OF SOCIAL PROTEST IS ***URGENT*** AND ***REQUIRED*** IF WE ARE TO EVER OBTAIN A DEMOCRACY AGAIN, AND IF WE ARE EVER TO PREVENT EVEN WORSE INFRINGEMENTS ON CIVIL RIGHTS & HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE FUTURE.
WE MUST BE PERSUADING EVERYONE THAT PARTICIPATING IN THIS SOCIAL REVOLUTION IS NOT ONLY ***IMPERATIVE***, BUT THAT THIS IS THE FULLY AND TRULY ***AMERICAN*** WAY, AND THE ***AMERICAN*** THING TO DO!
IT IS ***UN-AMERICAN*** TO BE IGNORING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR COUNTRY AND/OR TO BE DOING LITTLE OR NOTHING ABOUT IT. WE MUST TAKE A STAND.
"You got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything."--Aaron Tippin (singer), from song, "You've Got To Stand For Something."
"I can't explain it, and I can't understand, but I'll come down and get my hands dirty, and together we'll make a stand."--Martina McBride (singer), from song, "Love's The Only House."
(Aaron Tippin & Martina McBride are singers in today's country music genre, and their CD's are found in music stores in the country music section.)
WHERE WAS EVERYONE LAST SATURDAY? I expected to see so much more of you at the rally (the one organized by votermarch.org on the west steps of the Capitol building.)
Although few attended (I'm embarrassed and ashamed to say the approximate number of how many people were there in person), there was much solidarity among those who DID attend. People did come from all over, and that includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, and other places. The largest VISIBLE delegation by far was from KANSAS--all women, by the way. Women have always been at the forefront of suffrage rights, not simply for women, but for others as well.
But in terms of where things SHOULD BE, we have millions of Lady Liberty's around the country who refuse to get off their pedestals and do anything to be truly American. Fighting for civil rights is the American Way.
Likewise, Gentleman Freedom's should get off their couches and out of their routines of griping with their pals about politics, and instead be actively sounding the alarm nationwide.
This is not funny, and it is not fun. We do not protest because it's "cool/hip" or because it's fun. If so, nobody will take us seriously.
If there is no real mass movement yet, it is our fault--until we get it going. Let's not just keep the idea of a mass movement a fanciful fantasy in our minds. If we want a mass movement, we have to fight "tooth and nail" (but nonviolently) for it. We must win America over by getting them to realize the dangerous place our country is in--and to realize that sporadic & poorly-attended protest rallies are not going to get anything done.
WE MUST ***NOT*** PRESENT THIS AS A left-wing idea, because it is NOT. Democracy is for everyone, on the right, and on the left, and everyone else who doesn't fall in those two categories.
If we really want massive protests, which indeed the reality of these dark times makes necessary, then we must win over the populace of America by presenting this voter-rights cause as a mainstream American imperative.
The Million Voter March had a low turnout in part because of the lack of good PR. I didn't see ANYTHING in any major newspapers nationwide about this. Who is sending out the press kits for these kinds of protests? Without good press kits, you will get nowhere. You must have a major presentation (fine stationery, photos, endorsements by mainstream and prominent citizens, etc., anything that presents these protests as VERY VERY VERY ULTRA AMERICAN. Because truth is, this movement is indeed VERY VERY VERY ULTRA AMERICAN. If you don't believe that, if you don't convey that, how do you expect anyone to take your well-deserved sense of alarm seriously? We must get in touch with this truth. And present it truthfully to the media. And present it with the best P.R. skills absolutely possible. If your various organizations do not have good P.R., you MUST find the right people with the most outstanding P.R. skills to get the press kits looking impressive and well-worded so as to attract mainstream America, and to get these press kits out to all major news sources including radio and television. Many radio stations, and some TV stations provide FREE PSA's (public service announcements, a form of advertising, and which is often the same length as a 30 or 60 second commercial) to nonprofit organizations. Who is checking into these P.R. possibilities NOW?????? It MUST BE DONE PRONTO, and with EXTREME DEDICATION, all this P.R. work, or this movement will surely fail!) ============================================ We must NOT think that being entertained (soccer, little league, golf, "E.R." on TV, etc.) is so important to us that we refuse to do the bare minimum (show up at a major protest rally in D.C.) WE WILL BE TRULY SORRY, AND DEEPLY REGRET IT, IF WE DO NOT PUT THESE VANITIES ASIDE, AND FOCUS ON WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT FOR OUR COUNTRY (and for the world, which is affected greatly by what our country does.) In Biblical times, the prophets were in the streets, telling people that it was URGENT to set aside their vanities, and to attend to the business of advancing social justice and turning away from corruption and social evils. But the people were mostly apathetic and did nothing of what they should have done. The society crumbled and became vulnerable to takeover. The people of Israel were captured by the Babylonians and taken away. They didn't pay attention to the signs that their society was crumbling, and they wouldn't listen to the prophets-- indeed they attacked the prophets who were speaking out for their own good, and they put some of these prophets to death. The resultant destruction of society led the nation of Israel into captivity by the Babylonians. Only THEN did enough people feel remiss, and say, "By the waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Zion." And still they would remain captive under the Babylonians for centuries.
How long will it take for America to wake up? Its fate shall be captivity under a foreign power which will not permit it normal freedoms and normal human rights, unless repentance (=turning away from social injustice and apathy) happens amongst Americans now!
REPENT AMERICA! RESTORE DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE! Or we too will become as lost and oppressed as the Israelites under the Babylonians!
NO VANITY! NO APATHY!
NO VANITY! NO APATHY!
NO VANITY! NO APATHY!
Tell mainstream America that the Biblical account foretells what will happen to any civilization if they permit the kind of social injustice and apathy that Israel did at that time in history. America is doing the same, or maybe worse. Mainstream America IS CAPABLE of coming around to understanding the Biblical prophets, and how their message is MOST RELEVANT to TODAY, and how it is urgent to not simply agree with the message, but to ACT ON THE MESSAGE and LIVE THE MESSAGE. Our duty is laid out for us. If we do not do our duty, the society will destroy itself, and we will regret it, lament it, grieve over it, and it will unfortunately be too late.
If you were AT Saturday's rally, I was the lady with the "No Apathy" (circle with slash through the word "apathy") sign. I selected this because I feel that in the light of the shocking 2000 coup, there is an absolutely appalling level of apathy in this country. America must wake up, but it won't unless those of us who are already awake GET OFF OUR BUTTS AND SOUND THE ALARM IN A MANNER THAT IS GOING TO ATTRACT MAINSTREAM AMERICA, and motivate them to do something besides just nodding their heads and saying "I agree with you." Never mind that they "agree" that democracy is a good thing! ARE THEY WILLING TO FIGHT FOR IT? THIS IS A CRUCIAL QUESTION! HOW WILL ***WE*** PERSUADE THEM THAT DEMOCRACY IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR?
And do you call "having the "right" opinion on democracy" a fight? It's not equivalent to a fight. SHOWING UP AT THE MILLION VOTER MARCH ***WOULD HAVE BEEN*** EQUIVALENT TO A FIGHT, but just saying "I agree" and staying at home--that is NOT fighting for democracy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After the rally, my Michigan group took our signs to the streets of Washington DC, putting them nearly in the face of drivers at intersections. There was a lot of traffic and the drivers REALLY DID PAY ATTENTION TO THESE SIGNS...
I saw a girl about 8 years old in a car, pronouning the word "apathy" that was on my sign. It was probably the first time she saw that word. Now she will ask what it means. This is good. It will start people thinking.
I saw all kinds of people, black, white, asian, who nodded and gave thumbs up to the signs we had. They rolled their car windows down and said "thank you." We replied to them, "Tell your brothers and sisters! Sound the alarm! The revolution is now!"
But, we did learn a lot from the people around (often in the streets passing by.) Many were in solidarity with us, but there were also several people whose responses to us were disturbing.
For example, our signs said "America! Pay Attention!", "One Nation Under Fraud", "No Apathy!" "Put Democracy Back In America--Fight for Civil Rights and Voter Rights!", etc., but there was a woman who walked by us and with a nose-in-the-air superiority attitude, coldly said, "I voted for Bush." She missed the whole point!!!!! THOSE WHO VOTED FOR BUSH ***SHOULD*** BE VEHEMENTLY AGAINST THE COUP!!!!! It's one thing to be a conservative, and quite another to be an anti-democracy person. This woman was lost--she didn't realize that democracy is gone out of America!!! That Republicans too should be up and fighting for democracy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way, I have mentioned before that I do know at least 10 Republicans (nationwide it may amount to hundreds of thousands or millions of Republicans who might also someday stand for the democracy, but for now are not willing to be active in it) who are opposed to the coup and they very much want to see democracy restored--though too many of these Republicans, right now, are simply those who "agree" with me, and didn't bother to do their civic duty and go to the national voter march & rally in DC last Saturday!) SOMEONE SHOULD BE OUT THERE ORGANIZING GOOD REPUBLICANS TO TAKE A STAND FOR THIS DEMOCRACY, HAND IN HAND WITH DEMOCRATS AND OTHER PARTIES. THIS SHOULD BE A PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY OF MANY PARTIES WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE COMMON GOOD.
I ALSO THINK--IF WE WANT A REAL DEMOCRACY RESTORED TO US--THE EFFORTS HAVE TO INCLUDE REPUBLICANS AND MANY OTHERS. Who among us is going out there and seeking support from good Republicans? They ARE there-- and will support you--but you must get busy inspiring and motivating them to join the MOVEMENT FOR THE RESTORATION OF DEMOCRACY. Most reading this will not agree with Republican ideology (I don't agree with Republican ideology either), but if you can learn to agree that there are Republicans who will also support the restoration of democracy, you will have gotten very important and *** ESSENTIAL *** allies for the movement.
So here we were, with our signs, on the street corners of DC, getting a lot of attention and some of it disturbing. Another example: A group of kids (late teens or age around 21/22) laughing at us, ridiculing us, rather than stopping to think about what our signs were saying. One young man says something provocative and insensitive. I said to him, "Are you aware that there was an overthrow of our democracy in this country? Are you aware that voters don't have the rights they should (and even before the overthrow, didn't have the rights they should?) For, with the electoral college, if you look at its effect mathematically, it essentially disenfranchises many voters in certain geographic areas from their vote, and essentially nullifies it. For example, essentially, a vote in Wyoming counts 3 times as much as a vote in California. This means that 2 out of 3 votes in California are not counted. Therefore, this is not a democracy, and voter reform is needed to restore democracy."
The young man's reply: "Are you from California? Why don't you go back where you came from? You don't belong here!" (But I told him that God wanted me in DC that day, and that God wants HIM in DC, too, and may God bless him as well. Of course, he then withdrew his hostility and parted in a more friendly manner. It helps to have a knack for de-fusing aggressive tension.)
This young man's initial response (to my information about our democracy being stolen from us) doesn't show any logical reasoning ability on his part at all... and...
It's a disturbing attitude. As I have said before (some of you have received my e-mail), our young people are not getting the proper education in critical thinking skills, and our nation and world is going to suffer for this, unless our mass pro-democracy movement includes a sub-movement to advance EDUCATION so that the populace can really think clearly and vote clearly on the issues.
A third example of what disturbed me: A middle aged woman, with what appeared to be a husband, both with the appearance of affluence, walked by and read our signs, and then smiled to herself (as if patting herself on the back) and told us, "Hey, it's okay, we voted for Gore." WELL, SHE IS MISSING THE WHOLE POINT TOO!!!!!!!!!! To say that it's okay because she voted for the "right" person????? IT'S ***NOT** OKAY THAT AMERICA HAS BEEN ROBBED OF DEMOCRACY, and that is no matter WHO you voted for!!!!!! This woman needs to wake up and realize that "voting for the right person" doesn't accomplish much, especially in a society where an electoral college, voting irregularities, and voter fraud, are rampant. "Voting for the right person" doesn't get you anything except a worthless--I mean worthless-- pat on the back. Don't we realize that we are punching ballots or pressing bars for candidates, and in essence it doesn't matter who we vote for, because the forces against really counting our votes are so strong that these forces are determining who is really in power? The only thing that can overpower these strong anti- democracy forces, is the collective power of the people, and this collective power of the people will not be strong enough unless it includes everyone in mainstream America (and hopefully some non-mainstreamers too, as we all need to work together; there is no strength when there are divisions and factions that prevent everyone from standing strong together against the forces of apathy, fascism, destruction, and anti-democracy; we must put aside divisions and factions and fight for the common good of our nation...) Environmental causes? Health care causes? Fine and good, but we must not let these take away our strength in fighting for something FAR MORE URGENT AND FUNDAMENTAL: DEMOCRACY ITSELF! If we divert our energies away from fighting for democracy, we will surely lose the fight, and we will regret this bitterly.
I would urge the nation to focus 99 percent of our energies on the pro-democracy movement. The other stuff must have to wait. For if we wait 4 years and think our votes can restore democracy, we are deluding ourselves and being fools. We cannot wait 4 years. We must start the revolution now, and we must include Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and anyone else in any group, and anyone else even if not affiliated with a political party, and we MUST make everyone see how URGENT this is. We have lost the democracy and it will get far worse. We must have a revolution now. And in true spiritual tone, the revolution must be peaceful and nonviolent. Read Gandhi and Jesus now for inspiration and ideas.
Our votes have been nullified. In 4 years, they will be equally (or more) nullified. Too many Americans are on their butts, thinking, "Oh, I'll just vote for Gore again in 2004." WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING???? WAKE UP AMERICA, YOU DO NOT HAVE A VOTE! Nobody's vote counts. Face this unpalatable truth now--and SPIT IT OUT. Deal with it!
We must realize this, and revolt, and fight with all we have to do more than restore the kind of quasi-democracy we've had (with the electoral college, etc.), but to IMPROVE the democracy to a TRUE democracy where all votes count equally and are not tampered with by hackers, corporate espions, the media, the various parties' corrupt factions, etc.
Have we forgotten Watergate? Nixon's people tampered with the election and the democracy. At least our nation took a stand and send them packing. What's wrong with us now? Can't we see that Bush's people have made the "roaring lion" of Watergate look like a wussy-kitten-pussycat? The magnitude and scope of today's-era corruption in our country is not grasped at all! It is not understood how vast, widespread, and enormous these evils are. It is also not understood that the people can unify and change this! WE ARE OBLIGATED TO EDUCATE ONE ANOTHER...
EDUCATE YOUR FELLOW AMERICAN in the TRUTH! ***NOT*** a "truth" that says "I agree" or "right on" or "you really rock", but a truth that says, "S.O.S.! Mayday! Save the country! Repent! Attend the demonstrations! Organize the demonstrations! Publicize the demonstrations properly! IT'S OUR DUTY TO MAKE THE DEMONSTRATIONS ATTRACTIVE TO MAINSTREAM AMERICA, and TO DO IT NOW. THIS IS OUR DUTY, THIS IS OUR FOCUS. LET US NOT BE DISTRACTED by griping sessions, political humor, and other vanities. LET US GET TO WORK."
I seriously encourage people to take the picket signs to the streets of every community in this country, and do this DAILY--EVERY SINGLE DAY, people should be out there everywhere with their signs.
Over the weekend, I also rode the Metro subway and had small (but readable) signs about restoring democracy through fighting for civil rights & voter rights, which I held up to the windows at every stop, and believe me, a few hundred people of all kinds paid attention to these signs and reacted. Many reacted with "thumbs up". And that's a sign to you all, THE REVOLUTION IS THUMBS UP. Go, Go, Go. Revolution NOW! (These people will join the movement, but the movement must be much better publicized--Go and get your best P.R. people working for your progressive pro-democracy organizations NOW!)
We can walk everywhere we go with small signs like this, we can take the signs on the bus, etc. People do read them and people do react. Get the people thinking. Don't just "agree" with the movement: actively show your signs daily. I now have a vow to, as often as possible, at least a few times a week, when I'm walking from one place to another, to hold up my "No Apathy" sign and "Restore Democracy to America" sign. YOU ALL CAN DO LIKEWISE, AND YOU CAN COME UP WITH EVEN BETTER IDEAS THAN THIS. I've observed that walking with the signs, having them on the subway, etc., DOES MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE. So don't wait till the next rally. YOU CAN DO SOMETHING JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY LIKE THIS, to make a positive difference.
Take your signs to busses, trains, buildings, etc. everywhere, and every day. Talk to America. THIS IS URGENT.
What are you doing this week to make the country wake up?
Nobody can afford to sleep--and you can't afford to let anyone sleep. NO DOZ, AMERICA.
To quote something recently sent out to various lists, again:
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything is seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that WE MUST BE MOST AWARE OF THE CHANGE IN THE AIR--HOWEVER SLIGHT-- LEST WE BECOME UNWITTING VICTIMS OF THE DARKNESS." --Justice William O. Douglas.
WE MUST BE MOST AWARE OF THE CHANGE IN THE AIR--HOWEVER SLIGHT--LEST WE BECOME UNWITTING VICTIMS OF THE DARKNESS.
>>>>>>>>>> TELL THIS TO EVERY AMERICAN.
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
AMERICA: WAKE UP! ATTENTION! REPENT! NO VANITY! NO APATHY! NO DOZ!
--Jane Baker (a Democracy Fighter from Michigan)
From: "Beverly "
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 2:13 PM
Subject: [Voter] Re: Nice Kudos from Alterman on _The Nation_ (Online Media Reporting)
My post upon reviewing the video clip on Indymedia: "Voter Protesters were awesome!" by Beverly 2:07pm Sun May 20 '01
I am proud of these protestors! What is wrong with being a "white pissed off middle class liberal?" Gee, I admired the Seattle protesters and have become more anti globalization anti corporate dominance than I ever imagined possible these last few months! I am a more vocal environmentalist too. Sounds as if the Voter protesters are just the group whose vote gets courted or so it seemed until now. "They " say suburban middle class voters decide elections (usually). If they are angry, this administration has a real big problem. I thought it refreshing to see the silent majority of America get mad and vocal. Wonder why mainstream media ignores them? It is more than about Gore and Bush, it is about the whole system that has failed, so it took a stolen election for the "comfortable in the burbs" to wake up! I am proud of these protesters!
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 6:05 PM
Subject: Great speech!
Sorry I didn't hang out for the Chevy's thing but I had to go. I just visited your website. It's great...It will take me a while to get through it all.
Can I suggest also that you put some info or a link to Instant Runoff Voting, which also would have made for a fair outcome.
You've got a great sense of humor, keep up the great work.
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 7:15 PM
Subject: [Voter] Listening to Voter March speeches on http://www.radioleft.com/
I listened to a lot of the speeches at the march on http://www.radioleft.com/
There were a lot of good speeches, and some good music too. I am listening now as I write this, about 7:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. They are supposed to continue rebroadcasting the speeches until Monday.
Very interesting, all of the people who were listed as felons in Florida who weren't felons. That should be looked into more.
http://www.radioleft.com/ will also be doing other things in the future. They have been receiving many emails. They are asking people who listen to email them. Very good, I can listen and email at the same time.
Lester Tinnin CA
I could not go to San Francisco
From: "digrappa" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 10:19 AM
Subject: Dear Diva:When in the course of human events it becomes...
necessary to act with deep honesty, authentic outrage, civic duty, and out of deep disgust for the installation of an illegally inserted executive branch head, ( and his entire false cabinet) it becomes necessary to confront those forces which violate our American conscience and sense of justice: Bush junta and Company, far right wing zealots, including misguided KKK, Nazi party members, misguided Christian sheep, led by R. Reed and other CC leaders, Mr. Moon, especially billionaire corporations, Fox mogul Murdoch, who just wants to be king of the world, multiple white females paid big money for helping overthrow our government via media propaganda, some misguided military and police heads, who aren't sure of their duty to the Bill of Rights, and a multitude of chickens in the media business, who are whores for lies and deceit and rival any of the propaganda machines in dictatorial countries. As a result of this assault upon our freedoms, Constitution and basic rights: like voting and having it counted, our human rights (like sane medical care), like campaign finance reform, like preserving our natural resources, and providing for the common good (welfare as Jefferson put it), like providing renewable energy to preserve the precious air we breath and water we drink, like preserving Social Security for our elderly and making sure they don't have to choose which bills to pay each month: energy costs, food or medicine, insuring excellent education for ALL of our children, paying teachers much better salaries, and a host of other social and ethical issues, WE THE PEOPLE PLEDGE OUR LIVES, OUR MEAGER FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR TO RESTORE OUR NATION TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA USING LEGAL MEANS, NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE AND JUST GOOD OLD COMMON SENSE!
Your friend and fellow believer in democracy and the Bill of Rights,
C.A. Di Grappa
(Please print! Thanks for the great speech on Saturday May 19! God bless you! We have not yet begun to fight! Truth in the end always wins out. But it is a struggle to get it out when you have the liars out there who want to destroy our nation and our Constitution! Keep up the good fight! Never give in to their intimidation. We are in this for the long haul! I have great confidence in the good people in this nation. We shall overcome this assault by the corporate slavemasters and others who have contempt for the people! If Martin Luther King Junior were here today, he would be organizing massive strikes and nonviolent protests all over the country. May we emulate what he died for, truth, justice and fairness, and above all love! I bought a great bumper sticker at the rally: It reads: "Love your enemies ~ It really gets them confused" LOL! Martin would love this one!)
Please share with all!
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 3:29 PM
Subject: [Voter] Re: That's the news (Voter March)
--- In Voter@y..., Rosen wrote:
> That's the coverage so far- an announcement.
I'm so sick I could throw up. I've had the TV on all day at work (CNN) and nothing.. not a word. At 6 o'clock, when Kelly Wallace did her live broadcast in front of the WH, you could HEAR the noise in the background. She dismissed it briefly, saying it was a group protesting one of Bush's nominees then immediately went on to talk about Israel. Not even a camera shot or a mention of the march. Most of the MAJOR NEWS all day has focused over and over on Israel, Bush's radio address and the "monkey man" in India.. and of course, the missing Intern.
I'll check the big 3 channels at 6:30 and of course, I'll see if "Reliable Sources" and Howie mention it..