Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raiders of the lost recount

By Capt. Fogg

I've yet to read any reviews of HBO's latest creation Recount. It's about the deep, wide and muddy river of corruption that runs through Southern politics and about how democracy was torn from the banks and washed away while America looked the other way or snickered or gloated -- or participated in what may have been the most shameful election meddling in the last 50 years.

The reviews, I'm certain, will fault it for bias, because it damns the Bush organization and the Florida political machine of Jeb Bush. They're certain to say that it's fiction, loosely based on the truth and that there are (hold your nose) always two sides to a story.

There aren't, of course. There's the truth and as many lies as there are liars to tell them and truth is not to be found by bracketing it with lies or finding the mean between the false extremes. It's not fiction that Katherine Harris, who represented both the State of Florida and George Bush's campaign, used $4 million dollars to commission a list of names similar to the names of convicted felons and without confirming the data or informing anyone on the list, used it to turn away tens of thousands of registered voters from the polls without letting them cast provisional ballots. It's not bias to assert that she used every trick she could employ to stall and obfuscate the recount she was required by law to make.

It's not fiction that 80 years of precedent was overturned and replaced by contrived new rules for counting ballots. It's not fiction that minority voters in Florida were warned by people identifying themselves as State Police to stay away from the polls. The infamous butterfly ballots that the nattering nitwits on Fox told us were without problems had major problems. I have 20:20 vision and had difficulty making them line up properly and difficulty making the worn and dull stylus punch cleanly and even in being sure the beat up machine was holding the ballot properly. If you want to believe I can't read or that I think Pat Buchanan is a Democrat or that I'm just plain stupid, go ahead -- but you know better. This is, however, the age of marketing magic and with a wave of the wand and a flap of the jawbone it all becomes the result of stupid, old (the same thing) grandmothers who can't follow instructions and unsavory far left liberal America hating effete Volvo driving welfare abusing Democrats.

It's not fiction that recounts weren't performed as requested, that gangs of Republican thugs, flown in from out of state by courtesy of Bush's best friends at Enron, physically halted the Miami-Dade recount or that the legally mandated recount was deliberately stalled by Republican operatives so as to run out the clock.

It's not fiction that The Republicans on the US Supreme Court recognized the unconstitutionality of this mess, but none the less permitted it "just this one time."

The 2 hour production did cover the invalidation and subsequent re-validation of absentee ballots that had no postmarks, no witnesses and no dates by Republican election commissioners anxious to obtain as many military votes as possible. It didn't mention my county where the Republican commissioner actually took the ballots home without supervision and decided on her own that they must have been valid. There were never any repercussions.

"Democrats go wah. They go wah wah wah" said Ann of the Thousand Lies. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a snicker.

2000 was the year I gave up on the United States of America and although I've since repented to a degree, I will never again have faith in the ability of our democratic Republic to operate as it was designed to do, free of the ability of entrenched power to bend it to their will and against the will and control of the electorate. Since that day, the ability of our government to control what we know, what we believe, and whether or not our votes get counted has grown further. Their power to know what we read and who we talk to has grown and their power to create false history is unmitigated and all but unchallenged.

Recount ends with a dolly shot of a vast warehouse full of boxes containing all the Florida ballots and perhaps it deliberately parallels the famous final shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark, slowly revealing, as the camera recedes, the vastness of the endless stacks of crates of artifacts relegated to the dust and official oblivion. It's a metaphor -- a powerful one.

It's not hard to look at history and see the pivotal moments when civilizations begin to fail, governments begin to fall and liberty begins an inexorable slide into the spider hole of authoritarianism and corruption. So far, the presidential election of 2000 seems likely to feature as such in some future volume of the Decline and Fall of the United States of America.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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